By Mallie Wardrup
Fall is just around the corner, and with it comes the coziness of a changing season. The mornings turn crisp, the evenings come earlier, and the leaves shift their shade before falling to the ground — taking a much-needed hiatus from their long summer days. In this season, we learn the value of slowing down, taking the extra time to grab our favorite seasonal latte, or light that yummy pumpkin spice candle as we walk through the door. But what if we carried the lessons we learn in these months throughout our entire year, or even further, into the way we live our lives? Slow living is a lifestyle that is so rarely embraced yet so craved. Our bodies long for rest the way the ground longs for rain in the spring, but most of us don’t take the time to listen to them (sorry to call you out like that, fellow enneagram 3’s). It is time we take a note from the Danes and learn to simplify with the practice of hygge.
While hygge is currently making its grand debut here in the States, the people of Denmark have practiced this lifestyle since the late 18th Century. So it is likely no coincidence that even with all the past year has entailed, Denmark still managed to come out as the second overall happiest country in the world. The hygge lifestyle is all about slowing down, simplifying, and taking the time to be. It is the art of incorporating coziness and wellness into all that one does. Be it in the home or out in the world; hygge encompasses aspects of minimalism — taking what we need and leaving the rest behind — while encouraging that no one deprives themselves of their heart’s desires.
One of the beautiful things about hygge is how easy it is to incorporate into a daily routine, and it is likely you already have many of the recommended supplies. Another perk is that you can include as much or as little as you like and adjust the items to reflect what brings you happiness…that is the whole point, after all. Of course, hygge is about more than just the things you have, but we have compiled a list of things that are sure to help get you in the hygge headspace.
The sense of smell is the strongest of the five and the most connected to emotion, meaning when your nose is happy, you are happy. The best way to create a pleasant environment is to fill the home with one of your favorite scents. This practice can be year-long, varying in scent as the seasons ebb and flow.
For fall and winter, go for a warm or woodsy aroma that pairs well with a side of cold weather, contrasting the spring and summer months with something clean and fresh. If you’re seeking a seasonally indifferent favorite, look within The Maker and Merchant boutiques at the Auburn Mall. A collection of candles from area makers is guaranteed to lift spirits no matter what kind of weather is outside your window.
We all know and love the feeling: crawling out of those work clothes at the end of the day. Hygge allows you to lean into the joy of that moment even more by changing into some- thing that makes you feel comfortable and safe, free and able to unwind from all the day may have held. Bundle up in one of Therapy Boutique’s chill-worthy — and insta-worthy— lounge sets, because let’s be honest, there is no happiness quite like feeling simultaneously cute and comfy. For the months where staying warm is not the top priority (I’m looking at you, September in Alabama), opt for one of Magnolia James’ short-sleeved pajama sets by PJ Harlow to stay cute and comfy while keeping it cool. Of course, no outfit is com- plete without a good pair of shoes, and these living room couture styles are no exception! Check out Fab’rik for fluffy footwear that ties your look together, even if you’re the only one who will see it.
The way one’s body feels is attributed mainly to what is being put into it. The practice of hygge encourages delicious, grounding foods that are both easy to prepare and satisfying. Hygge fosters the opposite of restriction and self-denial, encouraging indulgences and kindness to self. While these foods may not appear to be “healthy” in the sense of being low carb or calorie, they are good for the soul. Visiting your local farmer’s market is not only a sweet experience in and of itself, but it is a great place to gather some fresh finds for your next meal. If you’re short on time and would rather have that same experience delivered straight to your doorstep, Hornsby Farm’s delivery service offers all the good with half the hassle, giving you more time to snuggle up and enjoy your meal fireside. Of course,no hygge meal is complete without a side of fresh, warm bread, like the decadent loaves from Sour South. Top all this deliciousness off with some chocolate or fresh pastries, and your hygge meal is complete. What could be better than carbs and chocolate for dinner?
The perfect blanket is every cozy-crazed person’s most prized possession, and it just so happens to be a staple in the hygge way of life. No amount of comfort beats the feeling of being wrapped up in “that” blanket, and while every person’s favorite is different, I’m sure we can all agree that ours is the best. The safety, security, and ability to simply exist are multiplied in that place, a place where the hygge practice encourages you to stay a little longer — guilt-free. So if you’re still on the hunt for the blanket of your dreams, worry not, Wrapsody’s selection of Barefoot Dreams throws will have you wishing you had embraced the Copenhagen lifestyle years ago.
As relaxing as chugging your morning iced coffee while rolling 80 miles per hour to make it to work on time sounds, this is not a very hygge friendly practice. That half-hour of sleep lost in a morning can seem a bit daunting, but those minutes can genuinely make all the difference. Taking the time to taste and savor your coffee in the mornings is the best way to ensure your slower start transfers over to a significantly less rushed day, and that’s the hygge way! For the coffee connoisseurs who prefer their cup of Joe to come from out- side their home, it just so happens that you live in the right place. The coffee shop limits are endless in the best way possible, and with so many cozy spots, you’re free to grab a chair and enjoy your coffee (or coffee date) hygge style. Of course, this step is encouraged to be repeated after hours as well by enjoying a warm cup of tea for a boost in the afternoon and bonus points for the glorious smell of Earl Grey that will linger long after you’ve emptied your favorite mug. A personal favorite is Well Red, an independent coffee/wine shop, book- store, and eatery that features freshly baked sweet treats and savory snacks.
While many of the methods are based there, hygge doesn’t just happen in the home. The practice is designed to be taken out into the world, allowing us the freedom and perspective to slow down even as we are out and about. A great way to rediscover that balance and reset your mind on what truly brings you happiness is yoga, and The Yoga Room is just the place. With the variety of options in level, type, and time, you are bound to find a class that works for you on the journey to finding your zen. If you want to spend your day doing some physical exploring along with the mental, there is no place like the great outdoors! A scenic hike is just what a hygge doctor ordered, and Chewacla State Park is a great choice. From waterfalls to some of the cutest creatures, it’s nearly impossible to feel stressed on these trails.
The last step to any good workout is the relief of a long shower afterward, and in hygge, there is no judgment in taking a little extra time to enjoy an extra-bubbly bath. So for the ultimate tub experience, grab a Bloom Gift Set from Home + Vine to enjoy all your new favorites in one. Those post-sweat endorphins combined with this box’s bar soap, bath bomb, and sugar scrub are the perfect recipe to live your best hygge life.
As you set out to finesse your hygge, remember to drop your shoulders, take a deep breath and keep your feet to the fire or under a blanket. The importance of self-care and wellness ensures better health and peace. Hygge is a hug you give yourself.