Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I'm a huge fan of Hygge. I've just finished reading The Little Book of Hygge and fell in love with a world of cosyness and candles. Wanting to find out more (and allay my fears that my Hygge days would be over until next winter!) I reached out to Alex from Happily Hygge. Just reading through her blog makes you feel calm, so grab a cup of tea and check it out.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I work as a Strategy Consultant in the city, and before that, I studied for an MSc in Economics. I love being creative, reading, writing, coffee, good food, travel, giving back and keeping healthy. I'm from the UK, but I guess the most surprising thing about me is that I speak Chinese and French!
My family all live in the US, and I suppose because of my travelling background I've always been interested in learning about other cultures. This is what led me to set up my blog Happily Hygge.
In the past I've suffered from anxiety and depression and although my blog is not just about this, I hope to put a positive spin on my experience and to help others going through the same thing.
2. What does Hygge mean to you?
Hygge is about following a Scandinavian way of living, so it’s a very broad concept! I tend to work long hours, so Hygge to me means taking the opportunity to relax, live in the moment, have fun and be happy. In the past, I've often overworked myself to breaking point. Hygge is the anti-thesis of this - it's all about taking action to make you feel better.
My fundamental belief is that life is all about creating those perfect moments with the ones you love, and that is what Hygge is.
3. What are your top tips for incorporating Hygge into your daily life?
My top tips for incorporating Hygge into your daily life are to do what feels best for you. Exercise, have coffee and cake or laugh with friends. Even if you’re busy, make a conscious decision right now that you will take 5 minutes every day to do something that you love and that makes you happy. Everyone has a spare 5 minutes.
4. What are the health benefits of Hygge that you've seen?
I'm speaking from personal experience here, but it has made me happier! We know that getting outside, learning new skills and making time to spend time relaxing and with our friends can all help. I would in no way go as far to suggest that it has cleared me of depression and anxiety, but wellness activities do help with these two diseases as they contribute to boosting serotonin.
Regarding physical benefits, getting outside during the winter months is brilliant. I’m also a believer that your physical and mental health are strongly linked, and I’ve found my physical health improving since I started following the concept of everything in moderation and taking time out every day for doing what I enjoy.
5. Hygge seems like a very wintery concept, how can we hold onto the principles of Hygge as the weather warms up?
This is a great question as I’m currently writing this in Australia before returning to the UK next week.
For me, Hygge is about having fun and finding balance is our lives. We still need to be cosy and warm in hot weather. We can carry on lighting candles and have a great time with friends. We can continue to learn and to be part of our community. We can carry on carving a couple of minutes out of each day to have fun and relax.
Hygge is especially useful in cold weather as we often tend to get a bit more down when we don’t see the sun as much, but there is no reason at all as to why the principle behind Hygge shouldn’t be used all year round and indeed in Denmark Hygge is a year-round concept.
My story started as part of a drive to help me to be happier. I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety in July 2015. Since then I’ve really tried to re-evaluate my life and work out how to be happy. I want this blog to act as a place for everyone who’s looking to make their life a bit sunnier. When I found about Hygge it really appealed to me. It was a word that meant something that I was trying to describe. The concept of looking after yourself and simply enjoying life in the present moment. Find out more at Happily Hygge.