NYC Winter

How to Hygge

Winter can be tough. Tough on your body and tough on your mind. The cold, the wind, the snow and those dreaded winter blues. Most of us want to keep our head down and get through it, all the while dreaming of sunnier climes. But what if we don’t have to just get through it? What if we could even learn to (shock horror!) enjoy it? It seems our friends the Danes have found the key to embracing the beauty of the changing seasons. Their secret weapon? Hygge.

Hygge (pronounced HYU-gah) is a Danish cultural concept that is being adopted far and wide. There is no direct translation into English but this Scandi wisdom involves creating warmth, well-being and contentment. It is carving out time to appreciate the simple things, savouring your daily rituals and building connections and intimacy with your loved ones. This can be the pure enjoyment of your morning coffee or sharing amazing food and laughter with friends. I think this concept resonates with so many people because it artfully sums up what we all really want from life.

Interestingly, according to the UN, Denmark regularly ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world despite their deep dark winters. It seems pretty obvious to us that the age old concept of hygge is a huge contributing factor. So what can you do to get a slice of this cozy, comforting pie? Here are our favourite suggestions to inject some hygge into your life right now, NYC style!

Light every candle you own

Lighting candles is hygge 101. When it’s dark and cold outside, few things can be more cozy than filling your home with the warm glow of candlelight, not to mention that peachy glow makes your skin look awesome and is the best disguise for dark circles.

Make your ultimate playlist

Once the candles are lit, it’s time to play the music that moves you, whether it is uplifting, calming or one-person-dance-party inducing! Decide on your vibe and start building. Here are a few songs that are currently making us feel all the right kind of feels.

Ukiyo – Hermitude

Home By Now – Bombay Bicycle Club

Hymn For The Weekend – Coldplay

1999 – Active Child

Sharpness – Jamie Woon

Keep On Lying – Jesse Ware

Fantasy – Alina Baraz

Don’t Wait – Mapei

Love For That – Mura Masa, Shura

1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins

Green & Gold – Lianna La Havas

Count your blessings – literally

Studies show strong connections between gratitude and wellbeing. Showing gratitude floods your brain with reward chemicals, lessens depression and anxiety symptoms, makes you more resilient to stress, and helps you to display more positive qualities overall such as being more empathetic, forgiving, and helpful. Grateful people literally train their brain to retain positive information and reject negativity. Since hygge is as much about attitude than anything else, we have been making an effort to remember all the little things that make us happy.

Book a babysitter, grab your loved one and go for Manhattans by an open fire

Who needs TV when you can watch the flames of an open fire dancing and sip wintry cocktails in the company of your favourite person. Some favourite spots of ours include Soho House, Tiny’s and Kat & Theo.

Have a snowball fight with your kids

Embrace your inner child, bundle up and get outside for a full on family snowball fight. Get ready for hearty laughs and irreplaceable memories. Top it off by bundling on the couch together with a homemade hot chocolate.

Family Snowball Fight

Book a water therapy session

Aire Ancient Baths aims to bring the centuries old healing powers of water therapy to NYC. This luxury bath house contains hot, tepid and cold pools along with steam rooms and hot stone rooms. In many countries water therapy, saunas and massage are viewed as essential to your wellbeing. Sold!

Meet your girlfriends for brunch

… and put the phones away! Real conversation is the order of the day.

Visit someone you know is lonely

Your housebound grandma, your neighbour who broke an ankle, your friend who is going through a breakup. You could be the person to make someone’s day and nothing gets the warm fuzzy feelings flowing quite like helping somebody unselfishly.

Perfect your signature chic yet warm look

Ok we know hygge is not about buying stuff, but nobody was ever cold and happy. Keep toasty and stylish by treating yourself to a cute fedora, a coat in an unexpected colour, or a gorgeously soft wool sweater. Be excited to wake up and get ready on those dark winter mornings!

Get into a good book

We all have a book we’ve been meaning to read that is currently collecting dust on the shelf. Getting lost in a book is an effective way of unwinding from daily stress and gives us something interesting to share with others. So start reading, preferably under a blanket with a large glass of red.

Too often we punish ourselves unless we are constantly running at maximum capacity, but it seems a few simple pleasures could be all we need to refuel and ready ourselves for the wintry days and weeks ahead. With a bit of hygge we too can do as the Danes do, celebrate reality and transform the ordinary.

Do you think hygge has any benefits? What have you been doing to beat the winter blues? Leave us a comment below! xx