Like every book that changes my mindset, The Little Book of Hygge came to me (almost) out of the blue.
At least two times per month, I spend a full afternoon with my Mum. Always the same ritual: drinking a good coffee, talking and spending hours in a library or in a bookshop.
Last December, I ended up my bookshop endeavour with that cute little book in hand without really knowing what it was about. I had just one clue: HYGGE was about cosiness, comfort and cuteness.
To be honest, it’s pretty tricky to wrap up this book. I read it from cover to cover in less than 3 hours (and I reread it regularly) but it’s like talking about a film and watching the movie by yourself.
For the first time, something resonates in me. I’ve finally found a place where I can be myself without guilt or shame.
My own quirks were just “hyggelig” (the adjective of Hygge). I was not alone. I was a part of a broader community that, not only accepts me as I am, but also make me feel comfortable.
The Little Book of Hygge: A DREAM COMES TRUE FOR INTROVERTS
I’ve read a lot of articles talking about Hygge. Most of them were written by extroverts bloggers who need to communicate a lot, enjoy groups and massive social interactions. With all due respect, these traits of personality are NOT shared by 100% of the Humankind.
Very logically, most of these blog posts ended up with “Ok, Hygge is like a torture. I can’t stand being unplugged. I had to stay home, it was too hard for me…. So get rid of Hygge!”
For me, Hygge is a place of haven.
A way for me to recharge, to refuel and to make time for what matters to me. It’s a healthy way to spend more time outside, to create bonds with my closest 2/3 friends without the need to “meet” 150 news people every week. No need to learn meditation, no need to dance under the moon (well, you can do it though).Hygge creates memories first.
You can’t spend a day without reading a blog post, listening to a podcast, watching a vlog about Hygge. Most of the content outside comes from this book (on the left). If you don’t have a copy of it, grab your copy in the sidebar (with an affiliate link to Amazon).
There are so many reasons to join the Hygge Side of the Force but, for this review, let’s assume that we don’t have 5 hours to talk and you want to get the most out of the book (but not too much because you’d like to read it and still discover those little pieces of pearls of wisdom by yourself).
At The Beginning There Is An Author: Meik Wiking
The little Book of Hygge is written by a scientist (forget the woo-woo neo-fancy-neo-weirdo author locked in his tiny house). Meik WIKING is nothing less than the CEO of the Happiness Institute based in Copenhagen (Denmark).
After studying political sciences and trading, he has directed a famous Think Tank called Monday Morning. He is driven by the search for happiness and how it has a toll on our daily life.
Don’t get me wrong, this book is structured and easy to read but it’s not an endless series of nonsense or common weird ideas that need a dictionary to be understood.
SO WHAT IS HYGGE ABOUT?
1-Hygge is a worldwide concept.
Even if you don’t know it, there’s a good chance that if you live in Northern Europe, you are aware of it. Different names, different considerations but always the same basics principles (look page 42 in the book). In addition, you can enjoy Hygge all year long.
You don’t have to choose, you can mix and match…
2- Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it,
Hygge is a feeling/ a sensation more than a strict method that will give you the code to crack the Happiness vault. Basically, it should be something like [ HOU-GA] but Hygge is so much more than a word.
It’s a sense of belonging, a feeling of safety, a warm sensation of cosiness… the idea that no matter how hard the storm is outside, you are protected, surrounded by what is essential to a simple life.
3- It’s more than a trend, it’s a way of living
NO, you don’t have to rush to do more, be more, have more, spend more to be happy. You can hit the pause button, unplug, stop worrying and start enjoying how beautiful the Nature is.
You don’t need rare fabrics, very expensive new items to enjoy a flower, a cloud, a cat playing… a fireplace… a good book or a hard rock concert.
Hygge is compatible with our real life without flipping everything upside down.
4- Everything begins with light
No matter how you try to sum up Hygge, you have to include the light. Candles, the sun, thunder, a fireplace you name it… In my opinion, that need for light comes from a basic premise: Danes are lacking light for way too long during the winter time.
They need light to maintain their mood, process vitamin D, create endorphins, maintain their circadian cycle (the one that helps you to sleep or to wake up).
Ok, this was the geek-related minute. If you don’t get it, no worry. Let’s say that light helps your brain to stay healthy.
“Hygge is more than a word. It’s a sensation, a moment of peace & cosiness”
The Little Book of Hygge: EMBRACING HYGGE IS NOT LIKE WEARING ROSE SUNGLASSES ALL YEAR LONG
No, the Danes do NOT live in Unicornland. They don’t brunch with Care Bear every morning. They don’t hang out with fairies. Danes have learnt that life could be smarter, funnier and cosier if you add some elements every day.
Those elements (when gathered) are called Hygge. Hygge is the living process to understand what Happiness could be —-> Think about Hygge as a tool and Happiness as a piece of furniture you can build during your life.
There’s also no relation between Hygge and any sort of compulsive disorder. It’s not because you enjoy flowers, books, pens and whatever brings you a joy that you are weak and not properly integrated into your adulthood.
Some bloggers believe that Hygge is not compatible with minimalism or any kind of decluttering approach. Let me tell you, I lOVE the Japanese approach of living, this unclutter way of decorating our home is really appealing to me…It doesn’t mean that I HAVE to get rid of Hygge.
You can blend it, mix it, make your own definition and have fun with it. Think outside of the box and embrace Hygge no matter what you put in it.
In addition, I should mention that Hygge could be experienced everywhere in your life:
– your home
– your workplace
– with your kids/teens or your friends and family
IT’S TIME TO WRAP UP!
I could talk, write, draw, sing about Hygge all day long… let’s say I’m pretty passionate about it (not only because it’s a healthy way of living but also because it helps me to embrace my own quirks with NO guilt). So YES, I highly recommend The Little Book of Hygge to anyone who wants to embrace a new way to live with simple pleasure.
I read that book cover to cover at least once a month just because it’s so comforting and so delightful to feel at ease, accepted and understood. If you read so far, you truly deserve a little more about The Hygge Book: my favourite parts of the bookTo help you further, here is a list of my favourite parts of the book:
– the dictionary p.42 —> Master the basics of speaking Hygge with no effort
– the Hygge manifesto p. 46 —> What are the Hygge Essentials to live Hygge everyday
– create a hyggelig home p.118 —> You’ll be surprised that your home is properly already Hygge
– Hygge at no cost p. 142 —> Hygge is not about spending, it’s about living
Sharing is a core value in Hygge. If you believe this article could support or help your friends, please, help to spread the word: share it on your favourite social media.
Until our next “coffee break” together, I’m back to designing The Hygge Planner Autumn Edition (and it’s such a treat).
Love Slow Life, Live Hygge!
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