In this episode:
The coziness and comfort of HYGGE is more than just fuzzy socks, a candle, and a mug. It isn't a vignette. It's a way of life. We can grow the essence of hygge in our relationships whether online or in person.
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This week, I want to talk about HYGGE. If you aren't familiar with the term, hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable familiarity associated with feelings of wellness and contentment. It's associated with the idea of charm, happiness, content, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness. Appropriately, it originated with the Scandinavians, who are familiar with long winters! I think of it is an atmosphere that feels like a warm hug.
I briefly mentioned it in my interview with Stephenie Hovland (episode 52).
I’m 100% Dutch, but my husband is of Scandinavian descent. We don’t hold to many of the traditions, but this word and the concept has resonated with me.
I must admit that I’m kind of weird and I like to peek in people’s windows when I’m driving around. Let me clarify. I’m not a voyeur. At sunset, I love it when the lights are all on in a house and the curtains are open, and I can see the warm, cozy home from the outside. I love to drive through a neighborhood of big old homes and see the grand staircase, the chandelier, the décor. I glance. I don’t stare!
I was out for a walk recently and pondering this weird behavior of mine and wondering what it was that makes me like it so much. In fact, I like it so much that I like it when I go out to the mailbox after dark and as I turn to head back to the house, I can see the glow of the lights inside, smell the evidence of supper simmering on the stove, and see the books on my shelves, and the lap quilt draped over the back of the chair near the window.
As I walked, it came to me that this observing of the cozy inside from somewhere outside gives me a warm sense of home – Hygge.
It’s why I take pictures on my phone of vignettes in my home. Zoomed in photos of my throw pillows on a chair, or the repurposed mason jar of flowers. The candle flickering or the lamp casting a beam on my vintage camera on the side table.
- a mood of coziness and comfortable familiarity
- feelings of wellness and contentment
When was the last time I got that feeling from a political discussion, a trip to the grocery store, a scroll through social media, or watching the evening news?
It made me realize that we all could use more hygge in our lives. Let’s talk about how to create that as we repurpose our time to bring that sense into life in a way that we can create this for others, too.
I want to give some practical ideas for ways we can cultivate a lifestyle that brings these concepts into the everyday. To experience moments of comfort and peace with others, and to enjoy God’s presence more. I specifically want to approach some ideas for how to do this virtually, since more of our connection with people has been virtual lately.
- a mood of coziness and comfortable familiarity – I think this comes with taking time to pause without being too perfect. Sitting down for a moment with a friend or with my Bible and a blended mocha do this for me. But rather than trying to be super perfect in how we present hospitality like a decorating magazine, the genuine warmth that flows from our hearts creates coziness more than any furniture arrangement. This can be done by inviting someone to chat on a video call, and visually showing that you’re sitting down to be intentional about talking. It’s different from having a chat while driving the car or on a phone while walking at the mall. You can visually see each other and connect.
- feelings of wellness and contentment – When I stop to thank God and notice his presence, I feel well and content. We can share that with others by sharing our moment of gratitude on social media or in a conversation with a friend. Why keep it to ourselves? One way to also grow these feelings is to find ways to unplug and relax. For example coloring with a friend while you listen to music and have a cup of coffee.
- happiness – What might life be like if every day we looked for an opportunity to make someone’s day with words of kindness, encouragement, noticing their contribution to the world? What if we spread happiness by being an example of finding joy in what matters for life after this life instead of being bogged down in heaviness over stuff that doesn’t matter.
- security – I think about security often, but one that comes to mind is in how we help others be secure in knowing we love unconditionally. We will love even if we disagree. I have a deep sense of security when I know that no matter what my opinion is on something, there are a few people in my life who won’t dissociate with me. This includes coming right out and saying that you’ll still be there even when someone wanders from their faith, or doubts.
- familiarity and comfort – This feels like my favorite leggings and a long sweatshirt. Bringing that into relationships with others means being the leggings and the sweatshirt for them in such a way that being around us feels that comfortable.
- reassurance – This goes along with security, but this one for me comes from knowing that God is there. I feel his presence and it reassures me that everything is going to be ok. We can help others discover that same reassurance when we listen, direct them toward words of truth, and walk beside them through challenges. Schedule a 15-minute chat with someone to check in and see how they’re doing.
- kinship – Have you ever met a stranger and realized you had something surprising in common with them? Kinship includes empathy, a connection, understanding, similarities, and a bond. When was the last time you reached out to someone on a social platform and introduced yourself? You might discover something amazing in common. I like to look them up on their website and learn more about what they are about too.
- simpleness – Nothing has to be complicated. The same type of minimalism that works for décor works for conversations, for a note of encouragement, for a handmade card, or a surprise gift. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time to make someone feel like you sent a big hug.
Hygge isn’t about pictures knitting needles, a book, or warm socks and tea by the fire. That might create the feeling for some of us, just like standing outside of my house in the dark and looking in the lamp-lit windows does for me. But the true sense comes from connections. As an introvert, I look for the cozy one-on-one, meaningful conversations that bring a warm connection. I long for a quiet unplugged afternoon, a kind note discovered in the mailbox, or an afternoon with a friend with our laptops while we work at a coffee shop.
The true comfort isn’t found in how we stage our homes or in spending time by the fire. I don’t have a fireplace! It’s truly in the connection we have with Jesus and loving and caring for others the way Jesus would. That warmth and comfort can transform lives and relationships and bring true satisfaction. It’s like a big hug – a warm hygge – from us to someone else.
These are some fun supplies that you might enjoy that will help you grow the sense of hygge in your life. I'm including coloring books and supplies to do with friends, plus some encouragement cards you could send out.
|Coloring with friends||Coloring with friends||Cards to color and send|
|Colored Pencils||Encouragement cards to send to a friend||And my favorite Woodwick candles|
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Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
All blog content copyright MichelleRayburn.com
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.