Top Tips to Improve Your Hygge

Here at Inspired to Change we’ve been conducting an experiment in happiness to lift our spirits during the cold, dark winter months and bring you our Top Tips to Improve Your Hygge.

We’ve been taking our lead from the Danish who have the record for being one of the happiest countries on the planet.

It all comes down to the rather unpronounceable concept of Hygge which roughly translates into a feeling of warmth, cosiness and contentment.

But how can we integrate Hygge into our lives to increase our happiness, particularly to stave off those winter blues? Our Inspired to Change Associates have been testing out some of the key concepts of Hygge for you to see just how easy it is and what impact it has.

Tip 1: Get Cosy

Hygge is all about cosiness – fluffy slippers and blankets, evenings snuggled up watching your favourite film. There are lots of great ways to make your home cosy from fleece throws and sofa blankets to cushions, rugs and candles. Try placing mirrors behind the candles to reflect their flickering glow further and fit dimmer switches to turn down the harsh glow of normal light bulbs or install lamps and turn the main light off altogether!

And don’t forget to Hygge your workplace too! Add a family photo to your work station and a splash of decadent colour with a houseplant or two. Small desk lamps give a more cosy glow than harsh office lighting and have a jumper or cardigan ready on the back of your chair to snuggle up in as the days get colder. I have installed a salt lamp next to my office desk which gives off a lovely orange glow and a Christmas Cactus plant to add a splash of colour.

Tip 2: Get Lit Up

In Kent our newest Associate Claire Noyelle decided to see if she could add a little hygge to her house, by closing the curtains and lighting some candles. “I decided to cosy up with the candles and read my book. Before long, my children came in to see why I was sitting down and commented on the smell of the candle I had lit. They asked if they could also have a candle while they watched tv so I found another (different smell!) and they lit theirs. They decided to turn the lights down so that the light from the candle was more obvious, and said it felt cosy, so they dug out their fleecy blankets to snuggle under.

Over the last week we have fallen into the habit of lighting candles each night, in each room we were sitting in, as well as the hallway and soon ran out of the basic ones, unearthing the ones I’d been given as presents, but ‘was saving’. Saving for what I’m not really sure, but these gifted ones smelled more strongly, and added a distinct signature fragrance to each room as we walked in and out of them. We also liked the look of the flickering flames in their smarter jars and pots, and invested in a few more when we went shopping, so that we ended up with a couple of candles burning in each room. I unearthed the tea light holders I’d also been given as presents and it became a real feature, a collection of large and small flames flickering away on the side tables.

It could be my imagination, but it certainly seems that the house is quieter, and the children (and pets!) calmer with the candles burning, it definitely feels more cosy and homely, and smells amazing!

“Hygge in our house is candle-shaped, with warm blankets, low lighting and luxurious fragrances, and has become an addiction!”

Tip 3: Connect with nature

Hygge isn’t just about battening down the hatches and snuggling up. Hygge can also be found outside in nature – wrapping up in your warmest clothes and taking a walk in your favourite place in nature. You see Hygge is as also about being present in the moment.

My therapy room is based just by the river Nene near Thrapston so it seemed like the perfect Hygge experiment for me to take a daily walk.

“I love nature and I am lucky enough to have plenty of it right on my doorstep. But life has been busy recently and somehow I’d got out of the habit of taking a daily walk. So our Hygge experiment was the perfect excuse to get back out there! The weather has been pretty mild so far this autumn so I havn’t needed to snuggle up in a big winter coat yet, but a favourite scarf certainly gave me a feeling of comfort as I headed off down to the river for my first walk. A quick reminder that this was all about being present was important to quiet my busy mind – this isn’t just about striding out and getting back as quickly as possible, this is about the joy you get from really connecting with where you are. So I put all other thoughts to the back of my mind and really focused on what I was seeing around me. I was amazed at how many times I stopped to enjoy something I have walked passed hundreds of times on my normal daily route; the Autumn leaves changing, the river gushing out of the weir, the birds flitting from tree to tree. I stopped to spend some time with a small flock of long tailed tits and marvelled at how perfect these little birds are. Further along my walk my attention was drawn again to the sky but this time to the majestic red kites circling above, calling to each other with their high pitched whistle. I loved my walk, I loved that I really experienced it rather than just put one foot in front of the other in an effort to get to my destination or take in a bit of fresh air. I got home feeling buoyed up, full of the joy of Hygge, refreshed both in mind and body. I was far more productive that afternoon and I came up with some great ideas for a project I’m working on.

I can’t fit in a walk everyday but I’m making the effort to fit one in as often as I can now. And I’m looking forward to the weather getting crisper so I can snuggle up even more on my walks!”

Tip 4: Connect with each other

Hyyge is all about connecting with each other – so once you’ve made your home all cosy and comfortable the truly Hyyge to enjoy it is to invite others to enjoy the experience with you! So why not host a brunch or invite your friends around for supper? Don’t spend the day tidying the house from top to bottom, cooking 20 different food options, numerous trips back and forth to the shop trying to make it perfect – that is not the Hyyge way. Hyyge get togethers are informal, relaxed, comfortable, cosy experiences both for the host and the guests!

Why not try a games night like Ali did in her Hyyge experiment? You could host a regular TV night with friends – rather than chatting on the phone or messaging each other about your favourite TV shows why not watch them together? Or why not meet up outside – a group walk or trip to the local bonfire night. You can’t get more Hyyge than standing round a big fire, cosied up in your winter coat and scarf, with a cup of hot chocolate and your favourite friends!

Tip 5: Eat and drink yourself Hyyge

Hygge is also about the contented feeling we get when we cook and eat and drink good quality comforting nutrition. Use seasonal produce to create beautiful soups and stews. As part of my Hygge experiment I also invested in a small slow cooker which I love using. Not only does it deliver delicious, comforting food with very little effort it also floods the house with lovely cooking smells all day as it sits and bubbles away quietly in the background.

The Danes also love a good warm comforting drink. Good quality coffee is a big part of the Hygge experience but there are lots of other cosy drinks you can experiment with too like hot chocolate and hot and spicy fruit punches. I have started grating a bit of fresh ginger into hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon for a real warming kick.

Caroline is writing from her cosy, hyggelit therapy room near Thrapston in Northamptonshire.

If you find yourself struggling with the Winter Blues you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Check out our blog on the subject to find out if you could be suffering. If our Top Tips to improve your Hygge aren’t enough to lift that blue feeling then you may need a few sessions with your local hypnotherapist to help lift your spirits, boost your motivation and increase your productivity.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you lift depression click here to find your nearest therapist and book your free initial consultation.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information