Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.
We’ve been living away from home and family for nearly three years, and my struggle with depression was raging on. When I wasn’t acclimating to my surroundings after more than 6 months, I decided to take matters into my own hands and fix it by any means necessary. After self-help books and medication (and no success), I decided to look for alternative sources of comfort.
Hygge (pronounced Hoo-Ga) is a Danish life style that involves creating an atmosphere of warmth, security, coziness, peace, comfort, togetherness and intimacy in order to make life more tolerable – pleasurable, even. It does involve some material things, but it mostly focuses on using what you have to create the “warm and fuzzies”. Hygge has gone global because of its success: Denmark is home to some of the happiest people on the planet according to the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen! And I am a dedicated practicer.
Read on if you are interested in learning some of the basics of Hygge and how to use what you already have to live with a little more peace in the chaos of motherhood.
Hot beverages are a must in a Hygge world. My personal favorite is hot coffee in the morning and hot tea in the evening, but I know that isn’t everyone’s literal “cup of tea.” Ha!
As long as it’s hot and it brings you a sense of contentment, coziness and security, you’re doing it right – Hygge style. My personal favorite is Yogi brand Honey Lavender Stress Relief or Thrive Market Chamomile with just a bit of honey. According to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, 86% of Danes name hot drinks as one of the main things they associate with being Hygge.
I’m warm and cozy just thinking about it.
An absolute must have! I always have an abundance of candles lit and plenty on deck ready to go. Soft lighting is one of the most comforting elements of any Hygge atmosphere. In The Little Book of Hygge, author Meik Wiking says that 85% of Danes associate candles with the Hygge lifestyle. I like to find ones with calming and sensual scents like lavender, patchouli, tonka and oud. I always try to find soy candles or candles with the least amount of carcinogenic effects in them. My personal favorites are Hobby Lobby’s Coconut Milk and Patchouli or DW Candles brand Patchouli and Oud when they can keep it in stock!
Comfort is one of the cornerstones of Hygge living. To me, there is nothing more comforting than huge and fluffy pillows and blankets – the warmer, the better. Even here in California, I am finding myself the happiest when I’m snuggled up on the couch or my bed with several throw pillows and woven blankets. There’s something almost childlike and endearing about this practice of burrowing under all the cozy fabrics and textures; I’m sure the kids would love this one too!
I’ve found that TJMaxx is really good for finding super cute and tactile throw blankets and pillows. These would also be really good things to look for locally. I LOVE supporting local small businesses. Check Etsy or even reach out on your military bases to see if you can support a fellow military mama!
Part of what makes Hygge living so great is that it embraces the concept of pausing and taking a break from the monotony and the chaos of the everyday grind. It delightfully forces us to stop, breathe, and understand that life should be a happy thing and not a task. What better way to pause and take a break from the real world than with a book? Actually, with LOTS of books!
I definitely married the right man; he collects books and has all kinds of genres to choose from. Classic literature from authors like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy and many others are the most Hygge appropriate. But I’ve decorated (as well as read) my home with everything from Moby Dick to Eat, Pray, Love to The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray and everything in between. I like to keep it humorous. Our bathroom even boasts a few good reads like I Just Want to Pee Alone and National Geographic’s The Handbook for Practical Spying – for when you’re going to be in there a while.
My favorite place to buy (and even sell) our books is the Half Off Books. They have locations all over the country, and I’ve even bought from their store online.
Life is short, eat your dessert first.
Baking and consuming delicious dessert-like treats, while not necessarily good every single day, is a part of a Hygge lifestyle. In the traditional sense, it’s a lot of baked breads and other carb-filled goodness. My interpretation of it is basically anything that can be considered a comfort food.
Meik Wiking wrote, ‘Something sinful is an integral component to the Hygge ritual.’
It is about simply being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to have a treat every once in a while. Again, a break from the normal routine is part of what makes it comforting, secure, and peaceful.
I’m from Detroit, Michigan and I’m in LOVE with a local bakery called Sister Pie. They have pies like Sour Cherry Bourbon, Salted Maple and their famous Banana Pete pie. They also have vegan brownies (which I would never have guessed to be vegan) and Golden Oatie cookies. The owner, Lisa Ludwinski, put out a cookbook a few years ago, and I was one of the first to purchase it because my husband loves their Peanut Butter and Paprika cookies. There are sweet and savory comfort foods in it. In terms of Hygge – their baked goods totally meet the standard.