What it do, my dudes! Hope everyone had a *fabulous* weekend and got all they wanted to get done, done. This was our first full weekend at home and I couldn’t have loved it any more. We’re also firmly into week two of our January Whole30 challenge and it’s going swimmingly well! While our dinners haven’t changed that much, breakfast and lunch take a lot of prep work and forethought that I hadn’t put into meal planning prior to this. Also, reading the labels of EVERYTHING we buy gets a little tedious but it feels worth it and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m a huge planner, it helps with my anxiety and general stress and I literally plan everything. I’m the person that will plan on planning to begin to plan on a plan to do something. So we’ve started our plans for this years travel and we’ve got so many great trips coming up and I know 2019 wont just be a happier and healthier year but it will be full of travel and new, fun adventures and I can’t wait!
Anywho, I wanted to do a recipe and a read today however, the Danish dishes discussed in today’s review are all incredibly heavy and can not be substituted in a Whole30 diet – so I’m only doing a review today! So today I’m bringing you my first non-fiction read of 2019 – as I mentioned this year will be happier and healthier for my family so I’ve been really focusing on books I think will help me better myself and create happiness and contentment in my life. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the year than with The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking.
So, what even is hygge (pronounced hoo-ga)? Well, it’s not something that can be completely translated into the English language but the most laymen definition of it is coziness. However, that doesn’t really capture the essence of what hygge means to the Danish culture. It’s a integral part of the way they live and one of the many reasons why the Danish top the charts on the UN’s happiest countries list. Hygge is also deeply personal, and anything that brings you quiet contentment can likely fall into the realm of hygge.
Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.
Now look, if that quote alone doesn’t get you going and feeling all the feels about life and joy, then I’m not sure this book is going to be the one for you. However, if connection, ambiance and the simple joys of being with people you love, who love you in return is something that makes you happy – I can’t suggest this book enough. Many of the principles laid out here are things that once you read will likely make you say ‘duh’ or ‘oh, there’s a word for what I’ve been trying to do this whole time’ and I found this incredibly refreshing.
I, myself, am obsessed with cozy atmosphere’s – I just never realized there’s a word for the feeling I was trying to emulate. To have a hyygelig (hygge-like) time you don’t have to have everything the Danes believe help create this environment but there are a few key elements. Number one on this list is: proper lighting. Did you know the Danes burn more candles than any other nation? They have them in their homes and their offices, they take them with them on trips and bring them to gatherings. If candle lighting, fireplaces and reading in a nook (hyggekrog) with a cup of tea doesn’t illicit all the warm fuzzies for you, I don’t think I can help you. Because for me, that sounds like *perfection*.
Time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, comfortable, snug and welcoming. In many ways, it is like a good hug, but without the physical contact, It is in this situation that you can be completely relaxed and yourself. The art of hygge is therefore also the art of expanding your comfort zone to include other people.
So while things like candles, fireplaces, lighting in general, warm socks, comfy clothes, items made of wood, and incorporating nature into your space are all outlined as important aspects of hygge, the most important is togetherness. Being with those that truly see you for who you are and care for you. Hygge, is that comfortable silence with those you love.
There’s an anecdote in the book about the first hour after you come back from skiing – all your friends are exhausted, everyone is still in their ski gear, your feet are aching and you’re sitting on your patio looking out at the sheer beauty of the mountains. Your friends or family trickle outside, you can hear the sound of Grand Marnier pouring in the background while coffee is brewing. As you all sit, quietly observing the exhaustion in your limbs, the beautiful day and the time you spent together – this is the epitome of hygge.
We are social creatures, and the importance of this is clearly seen when one compares the satisfaction people feel in relationships with their overall satisfaction with life. The most important social relationships are close relationships in which you experience things together with others, and experience being understood; where you share thoughts and feelings, and both give and receive support. In one word: hygge.
In the end, I’ll be putting this on my list of books to give as a gift moving forward. I think everyone can learn lessons from this and I just felt absolutely tickled the whole time I read this. For someone who is pretty social, I still have a pretty hard time forming new relationships with people and this continues to show how important it is to work on that aspect of my life. Putting our efforts into health, fitness, mental well-being are all important, but something that falls to the wayside as we age is helping our current social relationships and new relationships flourish. I really can’t suggest this book enough, it was a funny, light-hearted and general joy to read and I am already implementing things I’ve learned into my day to day life!
Long story short:
Suggested for: EVERYONE!
Music Mood: Slow Like Honey by Fiona Apple
Do you know about hygge or have you read The Little Book of Hygge – if so, what do you think? What are things that make you feel extra *cozy*? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!