When I throw out the term “Hygge”, what image appears in your mind?

For me, I envision expensive fluffy blankets. Maybe imported woollen socks. If I think for a couple more seconds, I might just think of massive beeswax candles certain shops have the audacity to charge hundreds of dollars for.

Since Hygge is a Danish cultural practice, you might even relate it to a high standard of living. That Hygge is merely a luxury lifestyle with a cozy aesthetic.

However, this is not the genuine meaning of Hygge.

What is Hygge?

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The Danish term “Hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah)is a practice that focuses on feelings of contentment from simple indoor pleasures and intimacy with loved ones.

The term Hygge exploded in recent years, as non-Danes found themselves inspired by the warmth and simplicity that Hygge encourages.

As such, many have sought to incorporate Hygge into their lifestyles.

The Hygge lifestyle was first popularised by Meik Wiking, the author of “The Little Book of Hygge”. He is also the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute.

The Misappropriation of Hygge

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Nowadays, the term Hygge has been widely misused, and even corrupted. “Hygge” is now a term that is carelessly thrown about in order to sell expensive lifestyle and home products.

Rather than being a practice, Hygge has now become an aesthetic. Rather than it being about being content and happy with loved ones, it is about the products you buy. Products of high quality for maximum comfort - such items are unnecessary!

Thanks to some very effective marketing, the original meaning of Hygge is now lost.

Here’s How to Actually Practice Hygge

1. Get cozy

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Forget about those 800-threadcount bedsheets, or pricey loungewear. The point of Hygge is to get comfortable and cozy. You shouldn’t have to buy much things, if any at all. Put on a set of fresh bedsheets for your bed, change out into something comfortable and — stop caring about how you look....

2. Stop Caring About How You Look

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It’s not about the aesthetic! Unabashedly slip into your favourite Hyggebukser (which translates to Hygge pants)and get comfy. Wear clothes that aren’t necessarily pretty, but very comfortable to be in. A set of worn pajamas? A soft and oversized sweater? A baggy shirt and sweatpants?

If they make you feel comfortable, wear it and shake off any self-consciousness you might have. You have no obligation to yourself to look perfect all the time.

Ladies, it’s time to remove your makeup and undo your hair.

It’s time for you to curl up in your bed or favourite couch and chill (any cozy kind of nook will do, the terms for this is Hyggekrog), but make sure to — get away from your screen....

3. Get away from your screen

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The point is to be present in the moment and relax. Put away your phone and take a break from the constant bombardment of information and content.Focus on being present in the moment, and go back to doing other things. For instance, reading a book, crafting, drinking some tea, playing board games. In doing so, you are — allowing yourself small indulgences...

4. Allowing yourself small indulgences

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Hygge isn’t about materialism or any form of hedonism. However, it’s also not about asceticism or skimping out on occasional indulgences. If you really like that blend of slightly pricier tea, go for it every now and then. If you’re craving a dense and rich chocolate brownie, allow yourself a cheat day (or two)

Instead of focusing on the acquisition of material products, focus on the pleasure derived and your appreciation for it. However, don’t forget that Hygge is also about — spending time with your loved ones...

5. Spending time with your loved ones

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If there’s one thing to learn from the Danish culture, it is their belief in the importance of intimacy. As nice it might be to cozy up by yourself, think about how happy you could be in the company of your family, friends and significant other!

So light some candles, enjoy a hearty meal with your intimate circle and enjoy being in their presence.

And here are some ways to practice Hygge the way it was originally intended, in its raw, un-capitalistic form.

Don’t break the bank.

Get cozy and maybe build a blanket fort, and most importantly, have fun!