Ever heard the term 'Hygge?'
If not, you're missing out. Hygge (pronounced like hue-gah) is, in essence, the Danish code of living. It's used to describe that cozy, happy feeling you get when you slow down and really live the moment.
Summers are short and brisk, winters are long and frigid, and so those hardy Danes have put a lot of time and thought into the concepts of hygge. It's somewhat of a national pastime, and might be the only thing that stops them from walking off into a blizzard, never to be seen again.
But it seems to work pretty well - the Danes are consistently rated among the happiest on Earth, and have very low divorce rates. So what can we learn from Hygge, and how can it be applied to our daily lives and relationships? With Valentine's Day coming up, it's the prefect time to shake things up a bit and begin some new traditions with your partner.
Thankfully, the core concepts of Hygge are pretty simple and easy to put into action. We've broken it into 8 steps; the first three can easily be started on Valentine's itself, while the latter are some that have to be practiced together to show their full potential. Let's get cracking.
Set the Mood
In Denmark, people trend towards warm tones of light. In the summer, this means sunlight, and in the winter, candles. Lots of candles.
In general, the lights that we come across in our everyday life are considered pretty 'cold' - meaning that their color temperature is around 5000K. Candles and warm sunlight are closer to 1850K, which means a much warmer, more intimate light. This is very condusive to those feelings of hygge - so much so that many Danes consider candles to be one of the things that contribute most to an atmosphere of hygge.
For Valentine's consider using candles or warm colored lamps to create pools of light where you and your partner can be. The atmosphere will blow them away, and for the cost of a few candles, its pretty awesome price-wise as well.
This one is pretty easy to do in theory - but does require some will-power to accomplish. The first step is to PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. This is probably the single biggest distraction that we face in our daily lives - a constant stream of information that beams to our brains from 8 inches away. Take the time to be present with your partner and you'll both benefit immediately and long-term.
If you guys are having trouble breaking the habit of distractions, try not doing anything at all, sitting close to one another in silence can be a powerful tool to get used to the idea of creating time to just be with one another, and nothing else.
Treat Yourself (and them)
This one is probably my favourite - take the time to celebrate the small wins in life, especially with your partner. A bottle of champagne is never a bad idea and can help to add spontaneity to otherwise lackluster days. Valentine's is a great opportunity to splurge a bit more than you otherwise would.
This is a big one as well, and one that does take some time to turn into a way of being. Sharing things with that special someone is a great way to connect and create deep, meaningful relationships. Whether it be an amazing meal, an awesome experience, or the last cookie, sharing creates a sense of reciprocity, which can have amazing results in your relationship...in more ways than you know.
This one goes with sharing, and is just as important. Showing that you're grateful for things that your partner does, whether it be the meal that they just bought, or the fact that they emptied the dishwasher, can really help build that reciprocal relationship quicker.
Also, study after study shows that showing gratitude for the things that other people do for us can also help to boost our general sense of happiness and well-being, so it pays off directly for you as well.
The saying goes that if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all. Don't bring the office drama home with you. Your space should be sacred and the energy you bring home will inevitably impact your atmosphere. While Becky with the good hair might be a total bag your partner probably doesn't want to spend all their time talking about it.
Create a Safe, Welcoming Space
This is probably the longest-term of the set, but is well worth the effort. By putting effort into creating a space where you both can feel comfortable and at ease will mean that intimate and candid moments will come that much easier. It lets you shed off the stress of the day and focus on each other, instead of letting those moments get away day after day
So. Not too hard right? Taking some of the lessons that Hygge teaches us and applying them to our day-to-day can turn small changes into big results in with out relationships - so what've you got to lose?
Thanks for reading