My friend Lisa has been preaching the benefits of hygge (pronounced " hyoo·guh") for many years, so when a book on the topic caught my eye at the library I finally had to see what all the fuss was about. Translated from an Old Norse word meaning "to give courage, comfort, joy," the concept of hygge has spread beyond Norway and is representative of many elements of Scandinavian culture. In a nutshell, the principals of hygge include:
taking pleasure in the simple things; simplicity
being kind to ourselves and others
seeking solace in nature and holding a great respect for what it offers
These principals become even more important during the winter months when we have to seek joy despite shorter days and colder temperatures. This includes engaging in activities outdoors like going for a walk, skiing, playing with your children...really anything that puts you in the fresh air. After a rigorous jaunt outside, seek comfort in your home, which provides a cozy welcoming environment for entertaining guests, baking, enjoy a libation or two, or just curling up under the covers.
Hygge can be applied to your decor as well (I mean, have you taken a trip to IKEA recently??) Something as small as buying a bunch of flowers, bringing a bit of the outdoors in this time of year really lifts your spirits. So I set out to create a super simple flower meditation anyone can do.
First, gather a selection of vases from around the house. Don't limit yourself to traditional vases, try juice or cordial glasses, interesting glass food jars or bottles, or mix materials and add in your favorite ceramic, wood, or plastic pieces. Just keep it simple. An odd number of containers is usually the magic formula for balance (I had 7).
Since its January, I couldn't hygge my way over to a field and collect flowers, so I settled for my local Trader Joes instead. I found these purpley, almost grey roses first and then picked a few of my favorites to go along. When making this flower meditation, sticking to a monochromatic palette will keep you from having a panic attack next to the peonies. For my meditation, I chose some ruffly lavender scabiosa and some white stock flower (one of my favorite scents) for a very soothing winter theme.
At home I supplemented with some leftover eucalyptus I had around and some dark navy privet berries that grow around our yard.
For each container, choose just a stem of two to start, trying different combinations of the flowers you have. To keep things proportionate, start by cutting stems 1.5-2x the height of the container at most.
Each container is its own little work of art. If it doesn't look right to you, take it out and try something else! Even with 7 vases, I had many flowers leftover. When you're satisfied, take a deep breath (::ahhhh::). That wasn't so bad right? Space your vases on a single table or sprinkle them throughout your home to enjoy in every room.
For more information on hygge, check out author Signe Johansen's book, How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life.