In 2015, I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and began what is still an on-going process of deciding which items in my life spark joy. Moving from a tiny apartment and into The Lil House of the Nerdy, it gave me a blueprint to make the move easier, allowing me to begin cultivating a healthy living environment akin to the one I had in Japan. Building upon the concepts in Kondo’s book, my mom surprised me with a copy of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. If I can’t travel to Denmark, I can at least get a glimpse of how they live as some of the happiest people on the planet!
A wonderfully simple & worthwhile read.
Several of my friends recommended Hygge (hoo-ga), and each of them thoroughly enjoyed their miniature happiness voyages to Copenhagen. I took myself on a journey across the Atlantic, to one of the countries still on my bucket list. After brewing up a strong cup of coffee and curling up in a cozy throw from Ikea, I read the delicately illustrated book cover to cover quickly.
Hygge in a Hurry
Ten simple elements are outlined in The Little Book of Hygge and the majority of them focus on honing interpersonal skills as key elements in curating one’s own sense of hygge. The history and data presented by Wiking and the Happiness Research Institute are quite fascinating, and more than ever, I want to go to Denmark to learn more about these concepts actively work on a daily basis.
- Hygge Manifesto (pgs 30-31) – Ten essential pillars of creating hygge in one’s lifestyle
- Hygge Recipes (pgs 66-79) – Five recipes and a bonus tip on bringing some hygge to dining
- Hygge Wishlist (pgs 94-95) – Ten things that will make your home more hyggellig
- Hygge Emergency Kit (pgs 106-109) – 14 essentials for a boost of hygge when you’ve got the blues
- Hygge All Year Round (pgs 122-133) – Twelve seasonally specific hygge activities in addition to a chapter entirely focused on Christmas (11; pgs 160-181)
- Hygge on the Cheap (pgs 136-151) – Ten simple and sensible ways to have low-budget fun
- Dimensions of Hygge (pgs 194- 202) – How to experience hygge via the five senses, building to a development of a sixth sense
How to Hygge in Hot Weather
Th climate in northern Europe is vastly different than that of central Florida, so I devoured “Summer Hygge” (chapter 12). It touches on how the Danes take their happiness building outside, but with Florida’s overall warmer climate, it will challenge me to become consciously cozy while beating the summer heat.
To Do List
- Farm Fun – Central Florida is known for various pick-your-own farms, but I’ve haven’t been to one the entire time I lived in here. I used to go to Farmer’s markets, so I need to make time to make the trek across town and get some fantastically fresh fruits and veggies for my kitchen escapades.
- Barbecuing – When I purchased my house, it came with a rather commendable barbecue grill. However, I have only fired it up once since I moved in due to a lack of barbe-confidence.
- Gardening – I’ve attempted gardening, but I have yet to tap into my inner Poison Ivy, so I’ll be hitting up the farmers market until I can manage to sustain my tiny courtyard garden
- Picnics by the Beach – My parents live ten minutes away from one of my favorite beaches in the entire state. I just need to plan, even if it’s just a picnic in my backyard.
- Bicycle Repair – I have a beat up, second-hand mountain bike hanging from the ceiling in my garage. It’s been in storage since 2011 and is desperate for a complete overhaul. With a small town center nearby, I could save on gas and work on some corss-training with an update hyggecycle.
Personal Challenges of Finding Hygge
What I love about reading books about lifestyles in other country, it gives me the opportunity to visit a country without actually stepping away from the comfort of my own home. Conversely, it is also easier for me to dive headlong into all the exciting new concepts presented without actually considering the applicability of them to my own situation. For my journey into hygge to be a successful one, I have to give considerable thought to my circumstances and possible barriers keeping me from achieving this goal.
- Keeping cool, yet cozy – I will definitely need to do another closet audit, ideally working toward a capsule-style wardrobe. Most of the year is warm-to-hot, but my office thermostat hovers around 72F. Professional layers which can also be transitioned into my everday lineup would be idea.
- Lounge Wear – If it means pulling out my sewing machine and hunting for the perfect pattern or saving up for a rainy day, I want to have a selection of bespoke loungewear to make my time at home equally important.
- Hygge in the Office – While I wish I could bring Zelda to the office, bring candles or found an office garden, my best bet would be making my office feel more homey. I have my tea & coffee supplies and some art, but maybe I can do a little more.
- Easy to Overindulge – Orlando has fantastic cafes, bakeries, bars and restaurants, so the concept of cakes, sweets, or rich, satisfying means will require a focused attention to budgetary constraints as well as fitness balance.
- Dining Solo – Finding recipes which maximize my shopping budget and I can cook with success are two very different things. I also need to revisit the art of dining alone both at home and while I am out and about.
- Making Time – I tend to auto pilot my way through the work week, so on my weeknights, I have a routine, but not one that helps me properly relax and unwind. Conversely, on the weekends, operating without a routine lends to burning through my time off minimal productivity. I need to devise a balanced schedule to make my hygge time feel like a properly scheduled pampering.
Naturally, with the proper attitude, planning, and dedication, the above challenges will be beat. Having an action plan will be my guide to success as will reminding myself that I don’t have to do everything at the same time. Phasing hygge practices into a lifestyle should be a gradual process so the good habits stick with you.
Have you read The Little Book of Hygge? If so, what concepts of the book were easily implemented into your daily living? Which ones did you feel required additional planning and patience before you discovered the sweet spot of including it into your life? Where there any concepts you disagreed with or weren’t practical/applicable?
If you are new to the book or unfamiliar with it, does it interest you at all? Have you read any books about living abroad or daily living in other countries?