(pronounced hoo-gah in simplistic terms)


  1. a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.

Having always embraced winter (not so much January and February) I have not struggled as much as many of my clients and friends have through the winter months. Let’s face it, as much as we love cold sparkly winters days where we can get out for a bracing walk, they’re not as regular as we would like. Often we are left with grey, drizzly and dark days to somehow get through at a time of year when there doesn’t feel like a lot to look forward to anyway.

One of the great things about hygge is by making some small changes (mainly to attitude) it’s relatively easy to add into our lives and costs very little.

Light a candle and snuggle up

Firstly, it’s about creating the right environment and everything I’ve ever read about hygge mentions candles. Not scented candles but candles to provide a soft flickering light, that feeling of cosiness. Add to that a soft and snuggly blanket so that you can tuck up in the warm and feel like you are being hugged.

Now is the time to really get the use out of those socks, leggings – even leg warmers -that we purchased during various lockdowns. It’s about comfort and cosiness and whatever that looks like for you goes!

Mindful eating

Hygge style of eating is also about comfort but more importantly is about mindfulness, it’s about sharing the experience with friends and family learning to be mindful about

  1. a) what we’re eating
  2. b) creating a relaxing environment in which to do it

If you read books on hygge the Danes talk a lot about coffee and cake, but they also talk about creating comforting soups, big bowls of stew sitting around a fire or tucked up in the warm – get the picture?

So, if we think about the next couple of months, where sometimes the dark mornings and evenings feel overwhelming, creating a way of being to make that time not just easier, but positively cosy, has to be a good thing.

Here are some of the other things you can do to embrace winter and create that feeling of hygge:

  1. Cook a simple but nourishing dinner. Eat it by candlelight and listen to some music or chat to family members.
  2. Buy yourself a bunch of flowers. They can be a bunch of daffodils that cost very little, but they will remind you spring is on the way.
  3. Have a screen-free evening. Play a board game, listen to music or curl up with a good book.
  4. Have a go at making something. Whether its baking, cooking or some sort of craft, it doesn’t matter how it turns out just enjoy the moment.
  5. Have a film night/afternoon. Get the popcorn in or whatever treat you fancy, snuggle up with the warm blanket and indulge yourself for a while.
  6. Head outside for a bracing walk. Whatever the weather go out and then come back in, have a hot bath and get cosy in your pyjamas, yes even if it’s only 4 o’clock in the afternoon!

I appreciate that this all sounds idyllic, but the reality is that when you are trying to manage a hectic life, it might seem that there just isn’t the time to add these things into your daily routine.  But, take it from someone who has added bits and pieces of this lifestyle to her life, it can really make a big difference to how you feel.

It’s OK to simplify things, to stop and look at how we take care of ourselves and to me personally, hygge is a fantastic way to practice self-care that feels achievable. We’re all learning how to be kinder to ourselves, so if even a little bit of hygge (or something similar) creeps into your life, it can only be a good thing.