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Slow Down and Enjoy Life with Hygge

slow down and enjoy life with hygge

Do you ever wish you could slow down?  Enjoy the simple things in life more? I know I do.  I was just speaking with some other moms yesterday who feel they are always hurrying their kiddos (and themselves!) along.  Hearing this, I was reminded of a chat I had with a friend last year around the concept of hygge.  Since that conversation, I’ve learned to recognize hygge and make space for it in my life by slowing down and enjoying the moment more often.  So, I’m excited to share the highlights from our conversation and how you can slow down and enjoy life more with hygge.

When I wanted to learn more about hygge last year, I went straight to the source and spoke to a friend of mine who was born and raised in Denmark. Malte Pendergast-Fischer, in addition to being Danish, is the CEO and owner of the Green Ridge Group specializing in Human Resources, Business and Professional Coaching, and Business Expansion, amongst other things. He really helped me understand the concept of hygge.

Hygge just happens.

The first big ah-ha I experienced during our conversation came when I asked him to define hygge.  Malte explained that it is “something that naturally occurs by being together: finding opportunities to sit down, drink coffee or tea, and just chat.  Sitting on a couch, reading alongside each other. You don’t have to be in an intense conversation about life…it’s about gearing down. Hygge is finding motivation and opportunities to get together and be together.  You can hygge with yourself. It’s about slowing down and enjoying life.”

In the US, we are trained to seek and to achieve.  We want to see the bullet-points and guidelines for how to do something…then we set a goal around it and work hard to achieve it.  This work ethic helps us be successful at our goals, but there’s a downside to this. We miss some of life’s most amazing moments because we’re always looking to the next thing.

So, when I asked how to “practice hygge,” I realized it’s more about slowing down and making the time and space for hygge to happen naturally.  It’s not something to “seek” or to “achieve” at all. It happens if we allow it. However, this can be hard to do until you are better able to recognize when hygge is happening – and once you do – you’ll want to incorporate more and more of it.

Learn to recognize hygge.

With this said, here are some examples Malte shared so I could recognize when it’s happening:

  • Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the ultimate example of hygge.  Everybody slows down, gathers around a meal, and there is no pressure around presents.  It’s about being around family together. 
  • Inside during winter or rainy nights with a candle lit or a fire in fireplace.  (Malte also shared the Netflix fireplace feature with me…genius!)
  • Playing games, cards, or puzzles as a family.  There’s no real “end goal” or pressure… just chit-chatting about the day and enjoying each other’s company.
  • Turning off technology and reading alongside each other on the couch.
  • Taking a lunch break with work colleagues, leaving the office, and learning more about each other.
  • Having tea with neighbors or friends after a day at work.

Work to live.

Another important distinction we discussed that allows hygge to happen more regularly in Denmark is their point of reference for work.  There, they “work to live.”  In the US, we can be characterized as “living to work.”  In Denmark, you would never work longer just because your boss is still there.  There, you leave work by a certain time because you have things to do…yoga, being together, soccer, hygge.  

So, as we move into the busy season of the holidays and year-end deadlines, I encourage you to make time and space to slow down and enjoy life more…to hygge.  By learning to recognize it in my life over the past year, I’ve embraced a slower way of doing things but have enjoyed special moments with family and friends so much more.

Here’s a free resource for you.

If you are looking for some additional inspiration to slow down and enjoy the moment throughout the holidays, I invite you to take advantage of a free gift I’ve created to do just that.  It’s a Wholesome Holidays 2019 calendar that includes daily tips to choose joy and prevent stress all season long. Visit bit.ly/WholesomeHolidays for your copy.