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It’s Time to Hygge and Create Balance

As cities around the world hunker down for the next round of quarantines, the thought of being forced to stay indoors may seem unbearable. Looking at it from a different point of view, staying in is almost an art when practicing a Danish tradition called Hygge.

The History of Contentment

According to the Norwegians who first coined the term, Hygge has been around for a long time. In their language, the term means “well-being”. The word first appeared in publication in the Danish language in the late 1800s.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “hygge” means:

a quality of cosiness that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, and spending time at home with family.

Although it’s different when you’re being forced, staying at home can take on a cozy quality with the right mindset.

Think of a bear hibernating in a dark cave. Or the Ayurvedic practice of balancing the Vata dosha’s icy and dry nature with warm, nourishing, thick foods to cultivate heat and comfort.

When considering how the Mayans could’ve embraced this coziness, one of the first things that come to mind is a warm raw cacao drink. The Maya used chocolate as a hot drink in rituals and god offerings, sometimes symbolizing blood. A cup of real, dark hot chocolate is nourishing and healing, especially when paired with the intention of doing something kind for yourself.

If you’re inspired to make yourself a Mayan spicy chocolate drink, here is a good recipe to try.

Harmony in Contrast

The traditional way of practicing Hygge entails a healthy balance of socializing and retreating back into your “cave”.

As with everything, balance is key.

For those who are locked down with family or other roommates, getting outside and on your own is crucial to maintaining the balance necessary in order for Hygge to work. After all, if your intention is to create a retreat for yourself and/or a loved one, there must be something from which you retreat!

For those who live alone, maintaining balance can be even more challenging when socializing in most places has been restricted. I’m not going to suggest Zoom as a satisfying replacement for in-person contact, but even just having it on with someone else while you each fold laundry or cook gives you contrast for the other hours of the day. Don’t forget the low-key lighting and mulled cider!

Put Yourself in Power

In The Little Book of Hygge, author Melk Wiking describes Hygge as:

a feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, soothe yourself by taking a break and consciously putting yourself in the right mindset for being comfortable. Orchestrating your feelings can seem counterintuitive, but managing how you react and behave is the first step to experiencing Hygge.

Like a hug for yourself, Hygge is all about creating an atmosphere that is safe, warm, and inviting. 


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