how to decrease holiday stress

What the Heck Does Hygge Mean, Anyway? + 13 Ways to Bring Hygge Into Your Life

Hygge may be a word you have been hearing more and more lately. It is so big that the website has a page specifically about the Danes and Hygge! But what the heck does it actually mean? And how do you pronounce it?


I first started hearing about ‘hygge’, which is a Danish word pronounced ‘hooga’ that essentially means ‘to be cozy’, or ‘coziness’, while watching a documentary called ‘Happy‘. The filmmakers visit places and people all over the world that are said to be incredibly happy, and they try to find out what makes these people, well, so happy.


As a side note, it’s a great documentary and one that I would highly recommend.


But I digress.


If you haven’t heard, the Danes are said to be some of the happiest in the world.  Yes, Denmark. A place of long and dark winters. Of course, Denmark is known for more than their long and dark winters, and there are many reasons for why the Danes are so happy, but one of them is because of ‘hygge’.



In order to understand what hygge means (besides coziness) or is, I want you to think of a few things you love about, say, the transition from summer to fall.

Have some ideas?

  • Cozy scarfs – hygge
  • Warm beverages (pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider) – that’s hygge
  • Walking amongst the colorful leaves – hygge too
  • Visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard – yes, hygge
  • Enjoying a good meal with family and friends – you guessed it, hygge



Hygge can be anything and everything that you find cozy, comforting, relaxing. I like to think of it as a way to bring happiness into your life. It’s about embracing the seasons as they come. It’s about enjoying what is around us during those seasons. Incorporating more of what is important to you into your life (for me, family/friends, spending time on hobbies, spending time in nature). Yes, even winter. Remember how I said Denmark has long and dark winters?




So, now that you know what hygge is and what it means, here are 13 ways to bring hygge into your life:


Embrace the seasons

Don’t fight ’em, join ’em! I’m going to go out on a limb and unscientifically say that fighting and complaining about the weather and seasons is one of the quickest ways to reduce happiness in your life. I see this a lot here in Minnesota. There are people who love winters and people who can’t stand them and complain about them all the time. I’m not criticizing, I used to be one of the latter. But wow, I missed out on a lot of fun things to do in winter, and now I have come to enjoy those activities.


Light a candle

Maybe I’m biased because I make candles, but candles = coziness in my eyes. Light a seasonally scented candle to really bring a relaxing mood into your home. Although I’ve never been, I hear that Denmark is known for their beautiful lighting with candles and low light lamps!





Make a comforting meal

In Minnesota, we call these hotdishes (essentially a casserole, but it’s not a casserole because it’s a hotdish), and they are yummy. Throughout the years I’ve tweaked the recipes I loved growing up to be a bit more healthy, but there is nothing like enjoying a delicious, comforting meal with my family.



Warm beverages

There is something about warm beverages that are just so relaxing. Whether your drink of choice is coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc, warm up a cup and sit down for a few minutes and relax. And yes, I even do this in the summer!



Get outside

If you’re familiar with my posts, this one won’t come as a surprise to you. I’m a HUGE fan of getting outside and think it is so important for so many reasons. Go for a walk, explore a new park, etc. The possibilities are endless!





Spend time with family and friends

This one is pretty self-explanatory but so important! Make time for these people!


Comfy pants

For some people, this means yoga pants. For others, sweatpants. Whatever types of pants you are most comfortable in, wear them! Yes, even comfy pants are hygge!



Decorate inside to reflect the seasons outside

Remember how I said embrace the seasons (pretty sure I said it more than once)? Hygge can mean decorating your home to reflect the outside. Maybe this means bringing in flowers from your garden or a farmer’s market, decorate with fall leaves, or a pretty bouquet of berries for the holidays. I have dried hydrangeas in a vase with river rocks I found, plants and succulents in my surroundings.






Woah, things just got a little more intense! I don’t necessarily know if the process of decluttering is ‘hygge’ but maybe if it brings you happiness it could be! Anyway, the point I’m trying to get at is to create a place where you feel relaxed and cozy. For some of us, excess stuff = stress/anxiety = not relaxing = not hygge.


Here are some further decluttering resources if you’re interested in getting started:




I feel like ‘unplug’ has become kind of a bad word these days for some because many of us don’t necessarily want to. But the truth is, it’s very important to fully relax and for your mental health (I would recommend setting certain times of the day to unplug so you can fully relax). And, if spending time with family and friends, it’s important to be giving them your full attention. For more tips on how to unplug and detox from electronics/social media, check out this post here.


Cuddle under blankets 

Grab a cuddle buddy (spouse, partner, kid, pets), grab a good book or put on a movie and just veg together! Extra pillows and blankets are a plus!



Set some time aside for doing what you love to do. Spend time on yourself, or invite some friends over to have a craft/hobby/project night!





Although hygge may seem like a complicated word, it really isn’t. The definition (to be cozy) is actually very intentional and mindful. Embrace what is around you. It is that simple.


Looking for more ways to incoporate hygge? Check out this post ‘Holiday Hygge: The Joys Of A Simple Holiday’ from The Sorta Crunchy Mama. 


What are your favorite ‘hygge’ activities? What do you love most about ‘hygge’?



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Sarah Althouse
5 years ago

I’ve been living Hygge my while life (if that is even used correctly – ha!) I just love everything cozy and warm and comfy 🙂

5 years ago

I love everything about this even though I have never heard the word hygge before in my life! I love all things cozy and that is why I feel so much happier in the fall. Summer is actually the season that I seem to resist and was just telling myself this morning that I need to embrace that a little more next year!

5 years ago

I’ve been fall cleaning my living room and it’s hands down my Hygge space. I love the whole vibe my living room gives off and I love to just sit down and read a good book on my big comfy couch.

Kristen Raney
5 years ago

I am all about hygge in the winter. I live in Saskatchewan, so our winters are very similar to yours, if not sometimes worse. I love lighting my candle, drinking tea, reading a book, and getting cozy under a blanket in the winter.

Juanita Deloris
5 years ago

I have never heard the word hygge before :). But since you have enlightened me, I realize I have been a fan of hygge all my life! My most favorite time of year is Fall and winter. Why? It’s just a warm, fuzzy, cozy time of the year. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this!

Tricia Murdock
5 years ago

I had no idea what it meant (and had never heard of it!) but now I have, and it may be my new favorite word.

5 years ago

I think candles are my favorite way to bring hygge into my home.

Carrie Myers
5 years ago

I did wonder what Hygge means and apparently, how to pronounce it correctly. Now I get it. I live in Michigan and it is hard to embrace the season of winter for me. I do love cozy places to sit and relax, love the smell of candles and being with family.

5 years ago

Curling up with a hot cup of chai tea in my yoga pants reading great blog posts. Pretty hygge for me!!

5 years ago

Ok….first of all I was going to say “Embrace the seasons” YES. I just read this tip somewhere else and it is something that has taken me YEARS to achieve….(ready for it) as a MINNESOTAN! You had me at hot dish! lol. Love this post and while I dream of Denmark peace, I suppose it IS something I am capable of creating here…in the American tundra.


[…] Another option would be to ask around and borrow some from friends/family. Or, you could bring some ‘hygge’ into your home and decorate with some natural elements from outside. Maybe a grapevine […]

Zahra Biabani
5 years ago

I feel the comfy pants on a whole other level lol and definitely also feel like I have been Hygge forever 🙂


[…] What the Heck Does Hygge Mean Anyway + 13 Ideas to Bring it into Your Life […]

5 years ago

I checked out a book from the Library on just this topic – you reminded me to go back and look at it! I think anything that encourages warmth, comfort and connection like Hygee does is worth while for families. Maybe that is why they are ranked the happiest country in the world?


[…] Feelings attached: calm, cozy (hygge) […]


[…] Another option would be to ask around and borrow some from friends/family. Or, you could bring some ‘hygge’ into your home and decorate with some natural elements from outside. Maybe a grapevine wreath, […]


[…] I said in my first post about hygge (and how to bring it into your life), hygge is a Danish that is pronounced ‘hooga’ […]


[…] night: Get all ‘hygee‘, and have a family game night by the Christmas […]


[…] Finally, why not create the ultimate relaxing and self-care surroundings? Check out the term ‘hygge’ – a Danish term meaning ‘cozy’. Read more to find out What the Heck Does Hygge Mean Anyway? + 13 Ways to Bring it into your Life […]