Guest Blog By Christy Roushey
Photos by Julia Merrell
For the first time last year, I was exposed to the lifestyle practice of hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word referring to coziness and the lifestyle choices you make to embody a cozy existence. Though I’m certainly not a hygge expert, I have learned to incorporate hygge elements into my lifestyle which has helped me to slow down. I am one to constantly be on the go or thinking of the next task in the spirit of “productivity” without taking time to rest. Hygge helps me remember to rest. It takes on different forms depending on the season, but the effect is the same.
In the summer, I lay out on our hammock in the backyard and read. Sometimes my daughter joins me with a blanket other times my son will lay with me while listening to music. This winter, my daily practice involves creating space once the kids get on the bus in the morning. I start by lighting a candle, cozying up under my favorite blanket while finishing my morning coffee, then meditating and journaling. It is restorative (and it isn't always perfect) but I appreciate the mindset and the lessons I'm learning from it.
To delve into the spirit of hygge, I talked with Jenna Callan, a local product manager, who inspired me to offer hygge prints. Together, we flesh out how hygge has enriched our lives—and put together some DIY inspiration for you to start incorporating hygge into your life.
CR: What does hygge mean to you?
JC: Hygge means relishing in the cozy and content moments shared with loved ones in our everyday lives. It's the little moments that seem innocuous, but are really the very thing that make us love one another and ourselves. It's the environment you create based on the individuals you choose to invest your time and love in.
CR: Tell me a little about your background and how you heard about hygge?
JC: I have loved being cozy and surrounded by loved ones for as long as I can remember. My fondest memories are with family- specifically Christmas Eve when the house is warm and full of everyone I love. A few years back on a girl's weekend on Lake Chautauqua my friend Sara explained the concept of hygge to us. Five of us were eating cheese and drinking wine next to a fire, and it clicked with me in that moment that all of the moments that I loved and craved were in essence, hygge.
CR: Can you share some examples of how you try to include hygge into your lifestyle?
JC: I have learned to take a step back and relish in the moments of light and laughter and love. It is okay to give yourself a break and cut yourself some slack. I try to get to barre at 5:30, before work, to center myself and set my intentions for the day and then I will turn my phone off at Village Bakery and just read for an hour before I head to the office. It lets me have a few quiet moments to just be present and content. On the flip side—I will also have moments where I realize the to-do list can wait, and that I should go curl up and giggle with girlfriends or go out and dance like fools. Hygge exists in my life as a series of tiny moments and swells of happiness strung together.
CR: For someone who is completely new to the concept of hygge, what is one simple way they can start incorporating it into their life?
JC: Shift your mindset! Be present in each moment and be intentional about how you spend your time. When you realize how good a night spent with loved ones and without phones can be for the soul, your hygge life begins. Focus on the love and light around you and let yourself fall into the coziness.
Now that you know what hygge is, the next adventure is to incorporate it into your life. I like to think about nurturing each of my senses to create a space to unwind and relax. Start by beginning to cater to your five senses.
Surround yourself with items that encourage you, make you smile—or as Marie Kondo reminds us “sparks joy” in our spaces. The hygge print is one of my personal favorites to remind me of the importance of setting intentional time in my day.
There is something so comforting about a room lit by candles. The light and the scent seem to transform the space. If candles aren’t feasible, try a room spray or body lotion.
Whether you are a tea drinker or enjoy a strong cup of coffee, spending a few moments with your favorite mug and warm beverage can be just the break you need from the day.
Warm blankets & comfy sweatshirts are my go-to hygge items. Once you have that cozy spot, take a moment to enjoy a game, conversation or create something. You can use this opportunity to try a new skill, like breaking out a new calligraphy kit or knitting something special. These moments help us to slow down and savor the present moment.
The Hygge atmosphere is not complete without some mood music. Check out some Brain Music to find a Spotify playlist that invites hygge into your space.
Hygge is about a simple, intentional lifestyle. Check out our retail shop to pick-up items from local makers that can be incorporated into your hygge practice.