“Happiness consists more in the small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.”
That a child needs a happy mother is a fact, how difficult it can be – both you and I know very well. And what can be done about it is written in a rather boring though well-designed book about hygge) But I never left you in trouble, so I will briefly explain what and why, and you can decide for yourself whether you can change your life for better or not.
Denmark: the happiest country in the world
So, world statistics claim that Denmark is the happiest country in the world, and the Danish happiness researcher Meik Wiking decided to write a book about it. The word that best fits the Danish ‘hygge’ is coziness, but hygge is much more than coziness, it is rather an atmosphere, with all its cozy objects, tastes, sounds, lighting and other senses and nuances. The easiest way to describe hygge is to imagine a blizzard outside the window, and yourself in a warm, comfortable bed with your favorite cup of tea and a book or a movie. But in general, the hygge is far from solitary, it equally loves socialization. Let’s say hygge is socialization for introverts. In a narrow circle, from which you do not return without energy, but on the contrary, you gain happiness and strength.
It is very easy for me to understand hygge, because I know someone from Denmark. A calmer, airier and more positive person is hard to find. She is extremely prudent and non-conflict, her movements are calm, and there is a buzz in her every action. Once I stayed at her place for the night, and I froze at the door, seeing what kind of nest she had made for me and the baby. There was a minimum of things in the room and a lot of hygge: muted light from an old lamp, a warm blanket with a pleasant pattern on the bed, a small armchair with several cute pillows, some old figurine. It seemed that no one had deliberately prepared anything for our arrival, but the touch of the fairy was in the air, and I felt that it was made for us.
In the morning, she slowly and contentedly, like a cat on the windowsill, made coffee, laid out cherry tomatoes, cheese, ham, dried toast, lovingly fried an egg on both sides, and put it all on a plate. I smell it when I write this) Well, everything is clear, a typical Danish, – I thought, but no, her boyfriend taught her to cook such a breakfast, not a Danish, but a Syrian, – the Danish (zen) in this was rather a process of execution. Under other circumstances, I would have laid an egg a long time ago and would have died of hunger, I am always being carried somewhere and in a hurry, but here – I just watched in fascination, quietly envied and etched that breakfast in my memory forever.
Happiness is in the details
One day I decided to be happy. I went and bought myself a juicer, and then I squeezed oranges for half a day and distributed the juice to everyone around. I felt really happy, and in a few months I got pregnant, which I didn’t plan and didn’t know I needed to be happy.
And I also remember how I came to visit a friend and accidentally entered the wrong room. Wow, – I said, – wow, what does it smell like in here? My mother lives here, – the man spread his hands. Btw that was the time when we gathered to make some crepes together with friends – so hygge.
And recently, I needed to have a video call at home in comfortable conditions. I looked around and saw that there were no decent conditions around. Then I found a place that seemed to be the most hygenic and hastily curled up there: threw a soft blanket, covered myself with pillows. When my husband returned and saw that place, he said, “Wow” and asked to leave it there like that. Then my sister came for a visit and automatically chose that place for meetings.
And once we watched the Pink Floyd ‘wall‘ on the wall under the bridge and that was hygge too, especially when a passerby joined us and destroyed our beer.
One of my three favorite foods that I found in Dubai are small Danish pancakes. I discovered it when I was pregnant and very-very sick after a glucose test, starving and at the same time not imagining what I could possibly eat right now. And here they were! Tiny fluffy pieces covered with Nutella with some berries on top. Whether they were hygge or not hygge at the time is a matter of detail, and now I am comforted by them every time when everything is far from being hygge.
To be here and now
Being here and now is very much about hygge. Enjoying cooking and eating a time-consuming meal, music from vinyls, a lot of candles or sweets (which spoil the environment and the figure) or Monopoly with coffee in the circle of friends is hygge. It may not be easy to enjoy yourself when you have a baby hanging on your leg, but it is worth looking around and thinking about what you can change. It is possible to arrange a hygge corner for a while while the little one sleeps, or open the door and go socialize: have you noticed that the little one is calmer when you socialize? I’m not talking about noisy birthday parties, but rather gatherings in the circle of two or three calm friends.
How to create hygge
I have compiled a list of examples of hygge-things for further inspiration:
- minimize the items, leaving only those items that you really like
- dim the lights
- soft comfortable blankets and pillows
- hygge is wood and ceramics rather than metal and glass, and plastic will probably be superfluous
- ornate, or even simple tea (the main ceremonial attitude even if it is one simple pot), or mulled wine
- the hearth – is it candles, or a fireplace or a bonfire?
- gatherings in a cozy cafe (Danish are able to drink even bad coffee, if the establishment has a decent level of hygge)
- picnic, fishing, cargo bike ride
- do something with your hands, like Christmas vytynanka (Christmas is the most appropriate time)
- joint games, board or sports
- joint observation of the meteor shower
- organizing a library in your house or yard (in Lviv there are yards that people independently turned into museums)
- joint cooking, culinary club
- camping with food on fire
- aroma massage by candlelight
- elements of nature in the interior
- a large knitted sweater, a scarf, socks
- homemade jam, bread
- photo albums
- chocolate, hot chocolate
- cakes at work, at home and as a gift on the way to “guests”
- hugs without touching
- heart-to-heart conversation in the kitchen
I think you understand, the list can be continued, and I encourage you to continue it, either in the comments or simply in practice.
For me, a baby sleeping on me with a breast in his mouth is very hygge. It is the very essence of hygge: relaxed, calm, comfortable, tasty, fragrant, pleasant to the touch.
Home hearth is hygge. Having a house everywhere is also hygge.
Don’t be alone – read about small concepts of happiness from other countries here.