My three winters in Copenhagen taught me the true value of hygge for coping with the long winter nights. A pop culture buzzword a few years ago, the Danish concept of hygge is hard to translate—despite many books valiantly making the attempt. The literal rendering of the word is being cosy, but the Danes embrace hygge as much more than woolly sweaters and an Instagramable wood fire. It’s about creating a sense of happiness and belonging, feeling content and safe and comfortable.
Yes, watching Netflix in your pyjamas can certainly be cosy, but solo binging the newest season of The Crown (how great is Olivia Colman?) misses out on the communal aspect of the Danish concept. Hygge is not just lighting candles for a gloom-busting glow, it’s sharing that glow with friends, family, and sometimes even strangers. It’s huddling around a Weihnachtsmarkt stall with a mug of something warm. Sharing a table at a quaint café or luxuriating in the warmth of a sauna. It might even be joining an event at Literatur Haus or relaxing with a slow-moving yoga class (perhaps with me at Younion Yoga in Kreis 6?). And yes, it’s sometimes drinking far too much and dealing with the jackhammers in your head the next morning—or at least that’s how the Danes do it!
With almost a month until the days start to get longer again and rain in the forecast (at least in Zürich) let hygge be your secret weapon to escape the darkness—without needing to get on a plane. Create a warm, welcoming atmosphere where ever you are, let yourself get snuggy, and make the most of the people and events around you to bring out those feelings of happiness and belonging.
No matter how you embrace the dark season, stay warm, stay dry—and enjoy the hygge!
Adapted from my original post at Impromptue.ch.