Have you heard of Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh)? While hygge doesn’t have a direct translation in English, it is a word used in the Danish language to acknowledge a cozy or special moment and the feeling that accompanies it. Hygge House describes it as “cosiness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.” With the weather still freezing outside, it seems like an appropriate time to focus on all these wonderful adjectives!
Day 1: Prepare a Hygge Arsenal
What items do you have in your home that make you happy or give you a feeling of contentment? Take stock of what you have on hand – a fluffy pair of socks or cozy slippers, a favorite candle or scent, a warm blanket, the ingredients for a delicious hot beverage – you get the idea. Keep these items in mind for the days to come, you will be needing them to complete the other day’s hygge challenges.
Day 2: Eat Dinner by Candlelight
Make tonight’s dinner a special occasion. Turn off all distractions like the TV and your cell phone, turn on some soft music, dim the lights, and light a candle or two. Slow down and fully savor every bite. Take some time to indulge in the flavors and smells. If you are sharing the meal with others, relish in the conversation. If dining alone, enjoy the solitude. Be fully present in the moment.
Day 3: Go Screen-Free for a Day
Disconnect from all things technical by going screen-free for an entire day. No cell phones, no television, no computers. Get back to basics and enjoy the freedom that being disconnected gives you. Spend time with your family, get outside, or do something just for you.
Day 4: Wake Up Early
Wake up before the rest of the house and make yourself a warm beverage. A cup of coffee with extra cream, tea and honey, or hot chocolate with a peppermint stick – don’t forget the whipped cream and marshmallows! While you enjoy your drink, sit quietly and reflect on the moment. Curl up in front of the fire with a warm blanket and watch the sun rise through your window.
Day 5: Bake Cookies
Spend some time today baking cookies or another favorite dessert. Then, actually eat it! If you like living life on the wild side, indulge in some raw cookie dough (because really, is there anything better?). Baking is such a sensory experience and if you have kids, it is a fun activity to do with them as well. Don’t forget the milk for dipping!
Day 6: Cook Comfort Food for Dinner
Forget about being healthy for tonight’s dinner. Make something that’s full of ooey, gooey cheesy goodness, like pizza, mac and cheese, or lasagna. Or, make a chicken pot pie, a favorite pasta dish, or any other meal that feels like home. Whatever it is, don’t worry about the calories or how large your portion is – just enjoy! After, indulge in a few more cookies from yesterday (if there are any left)!
Day 7: Read a Book
Find a cozy corner of your house where you won’t be disturbed and curl up with a good book. Take a few minutes before your kids get up, or before work while you drink your morning coffee. Read a few pages during nap time or while on your lunch break. Even sneaking just a few pages into your day is worth it. If you’re lucky and able to read even more, then all the better!
Day 8: Go for a Walk
Get out of the house, stretch your legs, and go for a walk. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the simplicity of being outside. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes outside reconnecting. This is a great activity to do with your kids, a spouse, a group of friends, your dog, or all of the above!
Day 9: Watch a Movie
Snuggle up with your kids, your spouse, or a pet and turn on a favorite movie. Pick one that you loved as a kid, one that always leaves you smiling, or one that makes you laugh. Get in your pjs, pop some popcorn, grab a cozy blanket, and hunker down for the evening. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, have some friends over and host a movie night with snacks and beverages. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a good time!
Day 10: Do Something You Loved as a Child
Remember the days of sleeping in, running around the neighborhood without a care in the world, and coming back to a home-cooked meal? Back before there were bills to pay, kids to care for, and chores to be done, we got to be kids with (hopefully) far less responsibility and stress. Spend the day (or even just a few hours) doing something you loved as a child. Build a fort, dance, color with sidewalk chalk, swing, play tag with your kids. Don’t worry about looking silly, just have fun!
Day 11: Light Some Candles
Don’t wait until it’s dark out – light some candles as soon as you wake up and keep them lit all day. The soft flickering of light adds
Day 12: Take a Nap
Find a half hour in your day to rest your eyes and take a cat nap. Even if it means sneaking out to your car on your lunch break, or sitting your kiddos in front of the TV for a bit, find a way to relax. If you’re not able to carve time out specifically for a nap, go to bed a half hour early and enjoy the extra sleep.
Day 13: Start a Mid-Day Tea Ritual
Pull out the fine china and make yourself a cup of afternoon tea (don’t forget the biscuits or cookies!). Hygge is all about making even the most basic moments special, and using a pretty teacup can completely transform the mundane into the magical. If you don’t have any china on hand, hit your local thrift store, antique store, or even ebay. You can often find a single cup and saucer for just a few dollars!
Day 14: Bring the Outdoors In
Get out and explore your yard for items you can bring inside. Natural elements not only serve as beautiful decor, but they bring a sense of calm as well. Plants and flowers infuse a room with life and beauty, plus many plants can improve the air quality in your home. Create a rock jar, gather a basket full of pine cones, pick a bouquet of flowers, or buy a few herbs to set in your windowsill.
Day 15: Host a Game Night
Host a game night with your friends. Have everyone bring a snack to share and provide drinks or go the BYOB route. Create a cozy space to play with floor pillows and blankets. Go the interactive route with games like Jenga and Heads Up (or Twister if you want to draw in aspects of Day 10). Or, go with my personal favorite, Cards Against Humanity. Other suggestions: Poker, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, What Do You Meme, That’s What She Said, and Never Have I Ever. Enjoy spending time laughing and
Day 16: Meet a Friend for Coffee
Connecting with friends provides such a needed energy boost. Meet a friend (or two) at a local coffee shop for a cup of coffee and
Day 17: Enjoy Breakfast in Bed
Make a special breakfast that you can enjoy in the comfort of your bed. Include a cup of coffee, a glass of orange juice, or a mimosa. Or, see if you can convince your spouse to treat you so you don’t have to get out of bed at all. Spend the time relaxing, reading, or chatting with your spouse. If you have kids, make it a family affair and chow down together (don’t forget the napkins!).
Day 18: Create Something
Tap into your creative side by creating something today. Paint a picture, create a collage of photos, complete a craft project, write a poem – whatever your heart desires! Set aside any distractions (your phone) and focus on the satisfaction you get from making something beautiful.
Day 19: Use a Favorite Scent
Smells are powerful, capable of triggering memories, hunger, and other physiological responses. They can promote calming, reduce stress, and perk you up. Find a scent you love and incorporate it into your daily routine. Essential oils are great for this. You can mix them with Epsom salts for use in the bath, add them to a carrier oil or lotion for use on your body, or diffuse them into the air. You can find a perfume in your favorite scent, or a candle to burn in your home. For help sleeping at night, try lavender (my personal favorite). For help waking up, try an invigorating scent like orange or lemon. There are so many options
Day 20: Make Your Bedroom a Retreat
Your bedroom should be the most hygge-inspired room in your home. It is your retreat at the end of a long day, so it should be full of cozy, sleep-inducing objects. Dim lighting, fairy lights, and candles all create a calming ambiance. Cable-knit throws, fluffy pillows, and comfortable bedding all encourage sleep. Use mirrors to reflect light and plants or flowers to add color. Keep books near the bed for nights you can’t sleep, or as a way to unwind at the end of the day. Use both scents and sound for relaxation. You spend a good portion of your day (and life) in your bedroom, so make it special!
Day 21: Take a Bubble Bath
Relax at the end of the day with a hot bubble bath. Light candles, play soft
Day 22: Create a Cozy Bedtime Routine
Doctors and child specialists recommend creating a consistent bedtime routine for children. Doing so signals to them and their bodies that it is time to sleep. This same principle applies to adults as well. By following the same bedtime routine every evening, you signal to your body that it is time to sleep, helping you do so faster. For example, every night Hubby and I use a sunset simulator light and listen to nature sounds on our Amazon Echo. We set the light to turn off after 15 to 30 minutes, and it slowly dims during that time. Both of us are generally asleep by the time it shuts off. Create a bedtime routine that you can follow every night. Not only could it improve the quality of your sleep, but it is also a hygge way to end the day.
Day 23: Build a Bonfire with Friends
Bonfires are a great summer-time activity, but they often get overlooked in the colder months. Change that by bundling up and building a roaring bonfire in your backyard. Invite some friends over and provide roasting sticks and makings for s’mores. Bring out some large, warm blankets that people can wrap themselves up in and heat up a large pot of coffee or cocoa. The heat from the fire combined with the crisp chill of the air is invigorating in the best hygge possible way!
Day 24: De-Clutter One Room
The eye is drawn to negative space in all mediums – advertising, the written word, graphic design. Your home is no different. Clutter takes away from the appearance of negative space, inducing stress and anxiety. Reduce both by organizing one room and removing the clutter. Create negative space by finding homes for objects out-of-sight. Clear off flat surfaces, pick items up off the floor, and remove furniture that doesn’t fit. You’ll be amazed at the difference doing so can make!
Day 25: Do Yoga by Candlelight
Or meditate by candlelight – your choice. Either way, do it by candlelight in a darkened room. Not only will the lighting (or lack thereof) help you focus, but it will also help you relax and unwind. Light is stimulating, so the absence of it promotes a greater sense of calm. To see the difference for yourself, do 10 minutes of yoga or meditation in full light and 10 minutes in darkness with just a few candles. Notice how the lighting changes the way you feel, both physically and mentally.
Day 26: Create a Hygge Nook in Your Home
Stake out a corner of your home and hygge it up. Throw a warm blanket over a comfy chair, hang some fairy lights, and place a few favorite books within reach. Place a scented candle nearby and maybe even hide a small stash of delicious chocolates where no one else will find them. The goal is to create a welcoming space that invites you to snuggle up, relax, and indulge your senses!
Day 27: Listen to Music
Music is like
Day 28: Write Down Your Thoughts
Take a few moments at the end of the day to capture your thoughts. Reflect on your day, write down ideas that you have, jot down a quick to-do list, or capture the things you are grateful for. Writing these things down can create awareness and help relieve stress, so if you see a benefit from completing this activity, try incorporating it into your daily routine.
Day 29: Wear Something Warm & Cozy
Throw on a pair of leggings, an over-sized sweater, and warm, fuzzy socks. Only wear fabrics and styles that are so comfy cozy that you could sleep in them. Today is all about comfort and surrounding yourself (literally) with the softest, snuggliest clothing you can find.
Day 30: Indulge with a Treat
And I do not mean a small piece of dark chocolate! Today is about indulgence – like from a large slice of sinfully rich and decadent chocolate cake. Life is too short not to enjoy a treat once in a while and the hygge way of life is all about relishing life’s simple pleasures. The only requirement for this challenge is that you slow down and savor it. No distractions, just you and the cake.
Day 31: Be Lazy for a Day
Give yourself the day off. If you have kids, I don’t mean neglecting them. But, why not join them? Take a day off from responsibility – have a “yes” day, instead of a “no” day. Wear pajamas and slippers. Eat ice cream for breakfast. Jump on the bed. Order pizza for dinner. As far as “adulting” goes, relax and be lazy. Yes, keep your kids safe. But let the responsibility end there. Everything else – make it easy on yourself. For one day, allow yourself to be unburdened. The world won’t collapse in a day. Being an adult can wait for tomorrow.
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