What is all this “hygge” business about?
You may already be familiar with the popular term, which gained recognition due to the publication of the book The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (and many other books on the topic by others since). “Hygge” is a Danish concept (from a Norwegian word) that refers to a particular type of cultivated coziness and comfort. Things like slow living, hand-made and baked goods, candlelight, quality time in nature, comfortable simplicity, and companionship during such activities.
As you might gather, herbalism and hygge go well together! Creating traditional recipes with natural herbal ingredients and taking slow, quiet moments to enjoy them are all about as hygge as it gets. Sharing one’s love of this with others? Even more so. And gardening, herbal baking, gifting handmade items, using herbal bath products, learning about the botanical world…it all conjures those hygge vibes.
The hygge concept has other points of appeal for me, personally, too. For starters, I learned a few years ago through a DNA test that much of my cultural heritage stems from the very region hygge comes from. Suddenly, my intense, innate need to seek out and cultivate coziness makes more sense! Bring on the pastries, hikes, and scented candles.
My life situation, even before the pandemic, involves being very much rooted (aka stuck) at home. I am a stay-at-home-mom to three kids currently six and under, one of which is being temporarily homeschooled due to the pandemic. Even after they begin attending school in the fall (the twins are four and will be doing half-day pre-k in the fall and big sister will be in first grade), I will still be spending almost all my time at home. My life is fairly solitary and a bit lonely. Focusing on cultivating hygge coziness helps me feel more present, grounded, content, and fulfilled. And it helps take the edge off when loneliness or anxiety get overwhelming.
Connecting with hygge makes me feel connected to something traditional, visceral, and both elementary yet kind of complicated at the same time. In today’s world it is difficult to give yourself permission to slow down and drink in every moment. But this cultivates peace of mind and connection with the small and slow things, the natural world around you, and the quiet contentment you can find within yourself if you pause and listen.