With the right mindset and inspiration, you can make winter hibernation awesome. We took a few of the concepts from the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hue-guh), which roughly translates to an overall feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. This cozy compulsion is cited as one of the reasons Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world’s happiest countries—despite their infamous long, cold, and dark winters.
Hygge is more than one single activity. It’s a feeling, an environment—the ultimate non-experience experience. You can practice hygge solo or as a family, or just incorporate some of the concepts to ante up your wintertime cozy. Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well is a highly recommended introduction to all things hygge. If you’re interested in adopting some of the concepts of hygge this winter, or just to life in general, this book is considered the go-to guide.
Here are a few hygge-inspired ideas to crush coziness this winter:
Candles. According to Hygge Life, lighting and candles are key components of hygge. Danes burn a whopping 13 pounds of candle wax a year per capita according to Wiking—more than any other country in the world.
Throw blankets. Anywhere you might want to flop down and relax = throw blanket. Any style you choose, the most important factors are comfort and convenience.
Comfy clothes. Oversized sweaters, sweatpants, cozy socks, leg warmers – anything goes if it leads to maximum comfort. So those 15-year-old sweatpants you’d never be caught dead in outside of your home? 100% hygge approved.
Homemade sweets, comfort food, and hot drinks. We won’t tell you to throw your diet out the window, but we will say that the focus for hygge-approved food is enjoyment. You want to feel “hugged” by your eating experience. You might want to pour yourself a warm drink, dig up your grandma’s chicken pot pie recipe, or spend an afternoon baking your favourite chocolate cake.
Read, watch or play. Catch up on the best books, TV series, or movies of the year. Rustle up some cards or board games and play on. So light some candles and hunker down with a cup of tea and that book you’ve been meaning to read for months. Or if you’re feeling more social, cook up a pot of comfort food and invite a few friends over to play board games.
If you’re looking for ideas outside of hygge, here are a few other suggestions for passing winter hours indoors:
Get organized. If you’re spending a snowy day inside, what better time to go through closets and organize your belongings? Home organization over the winter is a perfect way to start a new decade.
Something new to beat winter blues. If cabin fever is getting the best of you, try your hand at a new hobby, like knitting or crocheting. You’ll not only have a great way to spend your time on a cold day, but you can also make cozy knit accessories for you and your friends.
Head to the Library. Tired of staring at the same four walls? Head to the library and explore new genres and get lost in a good book and forget about the cold. If you happen to find a new favourite book or two while you’re there, gather your friends at your home or the local coffee shop and spend a few hours discussing a book each month.
Try a new activity or revisit an old one. When was the last time you visited the library or bowling alley? Taken an art or cooking class? If the answer is “never” or “a long time,” winter is a perfect time to take time to engage in experiential indoor activities you are less inclined to do in the summer.
There are tons of indoor activities you can do during the wintertime, although sometimes there’s truly nothing better than relaxing in your pajamas. We hope you’ve found some inspiration to either get to work relaxing or to explore something new! Live better!