Hygge me up


So yesterday was a weird day, which in reflection has further revealed my interest in the Danish culture/ this year’s buzz word Hygge. There’s something about the Nordic way of life that enthralls me, bringing me back to fond memories of a church trip to Finland and a week in Naantali/Turku. The simplicity and slow pace of life are so appealing when you live in such a bustling city like London.

But how do we define Hygge?

A quick Google search lead me to the definition on Skagen, which says, “Though there are many ways to describe hygge, we see it simply as the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.” Similarly, a common word that comes up in any attempts to translate Hygge would be coziness.

I think the closest relatable attribute of that from an English mindset would be to live with fewer electronics and be quite rural, but that is based on my city upbringing. Of course, I dream of living more calmly, but I too am guilty of thinking I have to live in the middle of nowhere to achieve that. I think that we can also relate this to the idea of living in the present, something which I’m gradually working on.

In the 21st Century, we’re very much into blocking out the present moment. Spend five minutes on public transport and you’re guaranteed to witness people that are plugged. Plugged into their Kindles. Plugged into their mp3 players. Or plugged into their phones. In plugging into an alternative world we’re taking ourselves away from reality, which in its own way is quite terrifying!

Is it that we are scared of the present, and more importantly scared of reality?

I only really started to understand the importance of Hygge yesterday at work, when I was informed that the children I’d be caring for were simply not allowed to watch TV. Now this concept was foreign to me; I’d grown up watching EastEnders from as young as five after all (and it didn’t affect me academically)! I think the real thing that this meant to me was to be present with silence, which is something I’m not used to, as I take pride in my love of background noise for focusing on a task.

Silence is scary when you’ve avoided it for most of the last decade…

The lack of background noise made sure that there was silence to fill, be it with music or conversation. There’s something interesting about having the opportunity to just talk, free of distractions and free of bother. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d spend a day playing board games, helping with piano practice, discussing books, playing imaginary characters and baking as work, but it was one of the most fun days I’ve had all year! I can honestly say that I can only hope to raise my own future offspring to live so freely and not reliant on TV for entertainment, especially when there is just so much out there to do!

I’ve already made a further list with these kids of things to do, as this inspired me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more and more consumed by the media around me, which is saddening now that I think about it. I can sit around watching tedious shows when I should be working, yet I’ll think I’m too busy to perform half of the things I’m interested in? What that says to me is I’m consuming my time unproductively and need to work on that.

If Hygge means that I can spend more time doing and less time dossing, then I’m all here for it!

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