I tend to elicit odd looks from strangers at this time of year. Mainly it’s because you can find me shouting “oh that’s so cwtchy!” or “yesss that’s just so hygge” at almost everything. If you yourself are furrowing your brow like “what is she saying?”, let me give you a brief run down. ‘Cwtchy is a Welsh-ism’; a cwtch is a long, warm hug, so if something is ‘cwtchy’, it’s the physical manifestation of that. And ‘hygge’? Well, it’s like cwtchy, but it’s turned into a worldwide phenomenon.
Originally a Danish concept, hygge centers around those feelings of warmth and cosy contentment. There’s not really a direct translation; hygge is a feeling, an experience. I’ve always been drawn to hygge, before I ever knew it was a defined thing. Cuddling up in a blanket, rain pouring outside, sitting in front of a real wood fire; that sounds like the perfect moment to me. And that’s hygge!
I started to gain a proper understanding of the concept after reading Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (and I would thoroughly recommend this book to any of you who love a cosy read). But it’s only been over the past few months that I’ve realised how important having moments of hygge is to me. Like almost every other person on this planet, I’ve found 2020 to be dire. It’s been scary, draining, confusing, and tiring to say the very least. I feel like the world itself is falling away beneath my feet, thanks to COVID and politics and the climate and everything. So, finding little moments in my day that ground me and bring me joy have been essential. Lo and behold, I’ve been finding that through hygge.
So, let me share with you the little hygge-centric moments I’ve experienced over the last few months; the ones that have made me feel safe, content, and warm. Small moments that contrast so heavily to the outside world, but important moments nonetheless. Hopefully they’ll help you think of these moments in your own life, and see how important they really are.
- Walking through my beautiful city in the morning air, admiring the huge trees, going from green to orange to red. Stepping off the path to walk purposefully on the crunchy leaves, giggling at the childlike wonder.
- Stepping through the door after a long day of work. Immediately taking off my office clothes, peeling off my bra, and settling in to loose pajama bottoms, and the cosiest, baggiest, warmest jumper you ever did see.
- Cooking a great, big, four-day lasting stew in the kitchen. The smell of the vegetables and seasoning wafting through the house. Watching the windows steam up as the cold air tries to creep in.
- Lying down in a searingly hot bath, relaxing into the essential oils. Curling up in my oversized dressing gown, hair in a towel, letting my wobbly body be free as I light a candle and paint my nails.
- Hearing the rain hit the windows in the middle of the day. Opening the door to feel the chilly air, and sighing at the beautiful smell of petrichor.
- Retreating into a den of blankets and pillows on my decades old sofa. A cup of spiced tea steams beside me, and I reach for a battered copy of my favourite book.
- Walking home in the dark with my favourite people, tipsy on cider and a full belly. Our bodies are bundled up in coats and scarves against the chill, laughter piercing the night, and the streetlights lead us home.
These are such small moments in the grand scheme of things. Moments that might just pass you by. But in these tough times, I’ve found them to be the joy in my day that keeps me going. I find myself actively looking forward to that post-work cup of tea, lunchtime walk in the leaves, early morning breath of air. Little moments of hygge that just make my day.
Why don’t you try looking for the moments of hygge in your day? Let me know what they are in the comments, I’d love to know!