There are times in life when you are searching for something so desperately that will fit that little niche you’ve imagined for so long. Whether it’s that perfect book, the special outing, the perfect scent of bath soap, or even the gloriously simple bouquet for the dinner table. It’s the little things you are searching for that make you feel warm and cozy and satisfied.
I know there are times when all I’ve wanted is a little quiet time with a good book, comfy chair, a warm blanket, and the perfect beverage (hot or cold – we’re in the deep south, so warm doesn’t always work for us). I’ve searched for the perfect bath soap that isn’t full of harmful chemicals, but doesn’t smell like lard. I’ve searched for those little things that carve out some time to savor a moment. I’ve tried to set things out that bring out happy reminders (like the digital photo frame – it doesn’t clutter, but it does bring back so many happy memories). I’ve searched for my favorite hot tea during the winter and perhaps a flavored iced tea during the summer, maybe a lemonade.
I’ve worked so desperately to declutter my dwelling and keep things organized. In the end, it has proven that I just need to eliminate so many things that don’t make me happy at all; they serve only to bring added stress to my life. They aren’t beautiful. They aren’t useful. They do not bring pleasant memories. They’re useless.
In the most recent chapter of my life, I work for a company that has me on-site at a client’s business, due to the nature of the work there. It’s fun having my own office (though, it’s tiny) that I can decorate to make my work space my own. Turns out, this company is headquartered in Denmark. You see where this is going, don’t you…
I’ve vaguely heard of a European concept of this specific, tiny country. It seems to pervade many nations in Europe, but it seems that the Danes have the patent on this idea: hygge (hoo-guh). Turns out, this is what I’ve been searching for! You can see a short video of it here. I’ve looked up a ton of articles about it, read a book, ordered another, and I think I’m starting to get an idea of why it’s so enticing.
For starters, in America we work so hard and put in so many hours, which is fantastic, but we tend to fill our “down time” with so many activities that we forget to connect with others and ourselves. We don’t really take the time to “recharge”.
Hygge seems to be more of a state of mind, rather than physical, but there are elements of the physical that seem to be very effective towards reaching hygge. The points I’ve seen repeated over and over are:
- warm, cozy blanket
- tasty, warming drinks
- spontaneous home dinner with friends
- a good book or magazine
- a small bouquet to bring the outside in
- clear spaces in the home
- white walls (or some shade of neutral)
- a roaring fire
- comfortable clothing
- electronics turned off/ignored (challenge)
I see plenty of good things to strive for in this list. As our worlds get more and more fast-paced and we wonder where the time goes, I think this concept of slowing down, reconnecting, and relaxing would do us some good. So, cheers to all of those out there who were brought up in this culture or who have embraced it in their lives. For those of us who this is a foreign concept, let’s work to relax, find those things that fit the “cozy” definition, and see if we can’t end up slowing time down just a bit.
Peace and love, everyone!