Hygge > Hibernate: How to Thrive in the Winter Season

Whether you love the winter weather or white-knuckle through it, there’s no denying the impact shorter, darker days have on our lifestyles and mental health. Our primal instincts are what likely draw us to earlier bedtimes, warm and nourishing foods, and even a diminished desire to be social. But, rather than disappear into total hibernation, maybe it’s time to lean into hygge hype.

What is Hygge?

A few years ago, the Danish word hygge went seemingly viral, almost as if it was priming us for the pandemic alongside a period of isolation and comfort-seeking we could never have anticipated. The New Yorker explains hygge as “…a Danish term defined as a ‘quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.'” Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the word is said to have no direct translation in English, though “cozy” comes close.

How to Hygge

Hygge is a lifestyle designed to counteract the winter blues by creating comfort and opportunities for connection. It nurtures a slower, more mindful pace of life – savoring the self-care, rest, and recovery season. So, what do you need to hygge? We’ve rounded up a few essentials.

  • Candles: and lots of them. Living by candlelight instantly transports us to how our ancestors spent their winter afternoons before electricity. Fear of flames? Try these authentic-looking battery-powered candles or hang strings of fairy lights to warm up a space.
  • Shearling + Chunky Knits: fill your wardrobe and every room of your house with these warming fabrics. Not sure where to start? HyggeLife.com has everything you need (and more!)
  • Warm Up Your Cup: coffee, lattes, teas, and spiked variations are welcome. Set up a seasonal beverage station in your home; a cornerstone to hygge is creating warm, welcoming environments for friends and family to connect. Wrapping your hands around a steaming mug is a great way to do just that. The essentials: electric tea kettle, espresso machine, milk warmer, and of course, cozy mugs.
  • Cook for Comfort: consider warming foods like stews with grounding ingredients like potatoes, oats, and root vegetables.
  • Connect in the Cold: take walks in nature or sip your morning coffee with your feet (boots!) in the snow and host your favorite friends around a fire pit.
  • Books and Board games that Brew Connection: start a book club with your hygge crew, and build community with regular gatherings around shared conversation. An excellent place to start would be with this guide.

There is no need to hibernate and hide away all winter, instead, consider leaning into a hygge lifestyle and feel the slow burn of winter in the best way.

About the Author

Brooks Betts
Brooks Betts is a Connecticut-based lifestyle writer and mom to three children. Brooks spent 10 plus years creating content at leading magazine brands, including Real Simple, Food & Wine, and Travel and Leisure, as well as for women’s lifestyle brands Jane Iredale, PAIGE Denim, and Moroccanoil. Brooks writes for companies and personalities across various topics, including wellness, spirituality, beauty, and skincare. Brooks is also a certified Reiki practitioner, breathwork and meditation guide, and energy work enthusiast. When she’s not working, you can likely find Brooks enjoying the beach, meditating, playing tennis, or daydreaming at her favorite coffee shop.

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