What even is Hygge?
I often read posts by other bloggers with titles like ‘the importance of self care’ and ‘how to get more me-time’ in pretty much total bafflement. I wonder whether the problem is that I am profoundly lazy and antisocial (very possible) or that they are so frantically overwrought with their clean eating and mindfulness regimes that they have completely lost the ability to chill the f*ck out with some chips and dips (in 2016, also very possible).
So it’s not like I, with my prolific Netflix+hummus+pita sessions, need a lot of help carving out time for relaxation, but I’m intrigued by the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ nonetheless. It looks poised to be a bit of a trend this winter, with no less than 4 books set to be published on the subject in the run up to Christmas. But what is 'hygge' (pronounced 'hoo-guh') exactly?
In English it roughly translates as as ‘cosiness’, but a better interpretation would be something along the lines of ‘setting aside time to do lots of things which make you feel warm and comfy and happy and calm just for the sake of it’. It sounds good to me, and I think there really is something in the idea of not only chilling out in a passive way, but setting aside space to do simple things which you know will make you feel good, with no aim other than to have a nice time. Like a pamper session for the brain. I’ve been trying it out a few evenings a week, and I feel really pretty good, so here’s my starter kit and tips for beginners in ‘hygge’. You will need:
A scented candle
Obviously. Such a blogger cliche, but let’s be honest they are really bloody nice aren’t they? I bet even the most ironic bearded hipster could be won over by the scent of an artfully selected Jo Malone, despite its undeniable basic b*tch credentials.
Kind of a personal one. Yoga’s not for everyone, but all that stretching and deep breathing really helps uncrumple me after a day of caffeine-fuelled hunching, typing and tramping about in heels. I recommend Yoga With Adrienne on youtube because 1) it's free and 2) she steadfastly avoids wanging on about ‘energies’, ‘chi’ or any of the other more ridiculous stuff which can make yoga offputting for sensible people.
A face brush
Important reminder: hygge is not a beauty treatment. I kind of hate the idea of ‘pamper sessions’ in the traditional beauty-centric sense, because even as a beauty blogger I can think of many more satisfying and less gender-normative ways to relax than plucking, shaving, masking and moisturising every visible inch of my body. Cleansing my face is something I would normally do anyway though, and I use a face brush on hygge nights because I find it relaxing and love the feeling of a super clean, exfoliated visage before bed.
A slice of toast
Yes it’s a weird one. You can swap out my perhaps rather unambitious little snack for something more exotic if you want - an enormous bowl of chopped mango, a glass of wine, an entire chocolate fountain, whatever works for you. Personally, there is little in the world I like more than a very underdone piece of toast with real butter and marmite. Just try to forget about fad foods and have something you really genuinely enjoy. 'Tis the hygge way. *side-eyes a chia pudding*