By now, you've probably heard about the Danish concept of hygge. Pronounced "hoo-guh," it is defined as "a quality of coziness that brings a feeling of contentment or well-being." It's no coincidence that Scandinavians are rated as some of the happiest people in the world; people have been hygge-ing in Scandinavia for years and now, it's trending up a storm in the United States and the United Kingdom. Listed as one of the top wellness trends, it cannot be denied any longer: Staying in is the new going out.
And it's no wonder hygge has been so well-received: Our world is on overdrive. The fast-paced hustle of our modern lives is filled with endless streams of information and technology. We are more "connected" than ever on social media, attached to our smartphones, but have never been more disconnected and detached from meaningful human relationships. We're addicted to having more, doing more, and being more. And in our voracious search to keep up, we sometimes fail to see just how exhausted and miserable we've become. Modern problems like adrenal fatigue are the physical consequences of this type of lifestyle.
Much-needed relief from our modern lifestyles
The global awareness of the concept of hygge was, I believe, born out of the growing awareness that our way of life is unsustainable. Something's going to break if we don't slow down. In truth, our bodies, emotions, marriages, and bank accounts are already starting to break down under this immense pressure.
We needed another way. Something different. And in walks hygge: cozy, comfy, "slow-the-hell down" hygge. Even the word is different to us. The rise of minimalism, digital detoxes, and hygge are society's cry for a freaking time-out. Hygge embodies all the things that our souls are craving, any excuse to cozy up with a giant fuzzy blanket, slouchy clothes, and just chill out.
But since sitting is the new smoking, let's put aside those Netflix marathons for another day. Here I'll take this trend to the next level, with my top tips to make yourself a healthy hygge.
1. Create a stress-free space.
In order to really start being able to reap the benefits of enjoying hygge it is important to reduce as much stress as possible. With so much of our lives being tied up in a smartphone, creating set boundaries is uber important.
Doing my smartphone detox showed me just how refreshing and calming being unplugged can be. With stress being a factor in so many different health problems, start by setting up a smartphone drop-off/charging station as soon as you walk in the door and putting your phone on silent so as to not be tempted or lured back to the screen.
2. Throw next-level parties.
Engaging in healthy relationships and being involved in a community of people has been shown to help us live longer, healthy lives. A great way to cultivate relationships with your tribe is by coming together for gatherings focused on wellness that evolve with the seasons. Staying in is not just for when the days are dreary.
Green Juice Socials: Swap out your typical wine- or beer-tasting party with a delicious green juice social. Have everyone bring a recipe to share and corresponding ingredients to make a giant batch of juice for everyone to sample. Have additional recipe cards on hand for people to write down their favorites and some bonus snacks to munch on.Yoga Soiree: Soak in that vitamin D by participating in outdoor yoga. Gather a group together for an afternoon of sun salutations on the lawn or patio. Spend time listening to the silence and little noises of nature as your mind and body take advantage of the wellness benefits of yoga. This party can work well during the cold months as well! Just move everyone inside! Each person can even pick their favorite yoga videos they have wanted to try and play them for the whole group to try.
Meal Prep Bash: One of the last things people want to do after work is worry about dinner and have to cook. So make a list of some delicious freezer crockpot meals filled with whole ingredients and have everyone bring a different component to help complete the recipes. Break out the relaxing music and get chopping!
Terrarium Building Event: Having plants around the house is one of the most natural ways to purify the air you breathe. Not to mention bringing the outdoors in can help your mentality during the winter months when being a part of the great outdoors isn't always an option. Go to your local home and garden store and pick up (or order off a website) some beautiful plants and have friends over for a terrarium building event. Pick ones that speak to you; it doesn't have to be a traditional pot!
3. Trade-in comfort food for super food.
Elevate your traditional comfort food for updated versions of your favorite dishes.
- Substitute chicken zoodle bone broth soup for chicken noodle soup.
- Try adaptogenic tonics instead of hot chocolate, alcohol, and soda.
- Add bone broth to traditional recipes for a gut-healing boost.
- Have low-sugar, grain-free granola instead of your breakfast cereal or snack.
4. Mindfulness: hygge-style
Isn't that really the spirit of what hygge is all about anyway? Taking time to relax in the present moment with no need to worry or bother with the excess of things or long list of must-sees and do's. A thriving life is a simple life. And being hygge is being mindful. Really taste the foods you're eating; truly listen and hear what another person is saying for meaningful conversation. Eat consciously and love your body enough to nourish it with good food medicine. Bring about awareness to the present moment to reduce your stress and create inner and outer coziness. Hygge your way to health.