The first World Happiness Report was released in 2012. For three of the four rankings since, Denmark has earned the top spot. Several factors contribute to this repeat distinction, one of which is likely the concept of hygge. There is no direct English translation for this Danish word, and broader Scandinavian concept, but it can be summed up as a penchant for coziness and spending time with loved ones and family and friends. The word is pronounced hoo-guh, and if you’d like to make your apartment the comfiest it can be this winter, try some of these tips to make your home life a bit more hygge.
Wear more wool
There’s something inherently hygge about wool. Wool socks, wool-knit sweaters, and wool rugs provide an element of warmth that extends beyond the physical. Wear more wool, invest in more wool furnishings for your apartment, and see if you don’t feel just that much cozier.
This one is easy, but the simple gesture goes a long way. If you have candles you never burn, change that. Otherwise, buy candles that look and smell nice to you. Burn them while enjoying dinner or relaxing in your living room before bed. Gaze at the flicker of the flame. Breathe in the scent. Relax. Embrace your inner hygge.
Indulge in baked goods and comfort food
Winter is the season to indulge in comfort food, both sweet and savory. Balance is important, of course, but a little slice of something sweet won’t hurt. It’s better to indulge from time to time than to deprive yourself of what you love entirely.
Drink more hot beverages
Coffee and hot chocolate can wake the mind and warm the soul. Herbal tea is warming, invigorating, and health-reviving. Stock up on your favorite hot beverages so you can make them in your apartment regularly. If you enjoy hot beverages, try expanding your intake and palette to a few new flavors this winter.
Prioritize digital-free time
If you spend much of your free time refreshing social media feeds or falling down internet rabbit holes, put your smartphone down. Designate an hour or two each evening to be digital-free time. This should help you more efficiently catch up on work or take care of chores. It should make you more present when engaging with loved ones. If you like to read, it can help you escape more fully into the story and forget about your distraction-causing devices for a while.
Smell the roses, or nutmeg and cinnamon
Take the time to enjoy and appreciate things most people take for granted. If you notice snow falling outside, marvel at the phenomenon for a moment rather than grunting about having to don your snow boots. If someone holds a door for you, thank them and reflect on the good feelings that come from being courteous. Give in to your curiosity, tune into your surroundings, and explore places and things you typically ignore.
Appreciate what you have
On a related note, spend less time and energy pining after what you want and more appreciating the things you have. Make time for family and friends, and show them how much they mean to you. Revisit your favorite books. Relish in whatever you feel fortunate to have: a loving and loyal puppy, a job you love, a mindful attitude, etc.
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