Oh man, do I love the concept of Hygge. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Danish word which means coziness, enjoying simple pleasures, or creating intimacy with others or with yourself. It's a difficult word to define because hygge is a feeling, an emotion. It's the closest concept I've found to our simple pleasures posts, and probably why I love hygge so much. Hygge is part of the Danish culture, and a major protective factor against seasonal depression that can so easily happen in the dead of winter. Read more about how to apply hygge in the wintertime here.
Denmark, year after year, takes the honor as the world's happiest country, and part of that happiness is attributed to this cultural concept. Hygge is a feeling, it's an experience, it is not a thing, or related to possessions. It's about cultivating that feeling, and then being present to experience it. Hygge is enjoying a warm cup of coffee in the morning enveloped by a cozy robe or blanket. It's the smell of dinner cooking, or the candlelight that dances over a dinner shared with loved ones. Hygge is about slowing down, and savoring the moment. As my friend put it when she urged me to research the subject more "Ash, it's all the things you love!".
Every season brings with it it's own hygge. To develop regular hygge practices, think about the best parts of each season and then how you can savor them. For fall, think sweaters, and scarves, pumpkin baked goods, and the changing color of leaves. Winter hygge may include a warm fire, cozy blankets, lots of candlelight, and hot cocoa. Spring hygge could include fresh cut flowers in your home, the smell after it rains, making berry cobbler with farmers market berries and summer hygge may be the smell of sunscreen, backyard barbecues with friends, laying in the sun, or floating in a pool. The point is to think of simple pleasures associated with each season and then add them into your weekly life, taking the time to be truly present when you experience them.
If you are loving this concept as much as I am check out "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking. Also, keep a lookout for a series of Hygge posts!