While hygge is more associated with keeping cosy and happy in the dark winter months, there’s nothing to say that you can’t find hygge in the summer — you just have to go about it slightly differently. In this blog post, I’m sharing five ways to embrace hygge in summer.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard of hygge (pronounced HOO-gah). In case you have just emerged from under your rock (and I’m not saying that in a judge-y way, since I’m frequently running behind the rest of the world… ) let me explain this Danish concept.
Hygge doesn’t translate neatly into one English word, since it’s more of a way of life or general concept. It’s basically about feeling happy, secure and content. It doesn’t have to involve anything complicated or expensive, unless that’s how you feel happiest. Life’s simple pleasures are generally what hygge is all about.
If you’re in a situation that prompts a little happy sigh, I’d say you’re experiencing hygge. That seems to be, for me at least, the easiest way of understanding hygge. The thing is that hygge is often associated with the cold and dark months of winter. This kind of makes sense, because many activities that are associated with hygge involve snuggling up and getting cosy.
But summer exists in Denmark as well as the rest of the world, and I’m fairly sure they don’t forget about hygge until the autumn comes around again! (Not that I’ve been to Denmark yet, although it’s on my list of places to visit.) This got me thinking about how we can continue to embrace the feeling of hygge in the summer months. Read on for my five ideas!
How To: Hygge In Summer
Make the most of time spent outdoors
This might be an obvious one, but spending time outdoors during the summer is a great way to embrace hygge. Take a walk somewhere beautiful, relax by the pool with a good book, spend time journaling in the garden, go for a picnic in the grounds of a country house or some woodlands.
This is also a great way to find inspiration for creative projects for the winter time. Take lots of photos that you can turn into scrapbook pages and other projects, and collect things you can use in crafting. Above all, take it slow and breathe deeply. Listen to the sounds, really look around you, and take in the scents. Let yourself be inspired by the outdoors and find hygge in it too.
Throw a garden party or barbecue
Good food, good weather, good company. All are things that are conducive to giving a little happy sigh. Get creative with the food you serve and offer dishes that people can help themselves to. Make pitchers of drinks so people can top up their own glasses.
Invite people that make you happy, whether they are friends or family. If you prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings, keep the numbers low. You don’t have to invite twenty people if that would be less enjoyable or more stressful. And if it would make you happy to do so, you could also decorate the garden. Above all, keep the atmosphere relaxed so you have a chance to enjoy yourself too!
Spend time doing what you love
Be selfish for a little while! Spend some time doing the things you love to do, whether that’s crafting, exercising, reading, pampering yourself, walking the dog, hiking… Whatever you love to do. It doesn’t have to cost a lot (or anything at all, actually!), and you can spend the time by yourself or involve other people. Since it’s summer, and the weather is (hopefully) nice, you could try and do your activity outside. So why not take your painting outside into the garden for a change?
The only “rule” here is that it must be something you love to do, and done purely for the fun of doing it, not for any ulterior motive. If that’s as simple as sitting down for half an hour with a cuppa and your favourite magazine — great! Just make sure you do it.
Revisit places with happy memories
This, to me, is one of the things that hygge is all about. Revisiting happy memories. If you can, use the good weather to take trips to places that bring back happy memories. Whether they’re day trips or longer, close to home or further afield, take a walk down memory lane and do some reminiscing.
This is an equally nice thing to do by yourself, with the people you were with on the first trip, or with people who weren’t present on the first trip. You could take a partner somewhere you went as a child with your family and tell him or her all about your memories. You could take your own family somewhere you went as a child and make new memories to add to your old ones. Or you could just go alone and spend some time thinking or journaling about your memories.
We’re always thinking ahead to things we have to do in the future, whether that’s the next hour, tomorrow, next week, next month. So why not slow down and spend a little time looking back?
Nurture your garden
Spending time outdoors in nature is both enjoyable and inspiring, as we’ve already seen. So spending time outside growing beautiful plants and flowers and things you can eat is even more satisfying. Gardening is a creative and relaxing pursuit that can actually give you a surprisingly good workout!
If you don’t have a garden, there’s a lot you can do with a window box, or some plant pots on a windowsill. And if you have a garden but it’s all paved, fill the space with planters and pots. Tomatoes, courgettes, blueberries, lettuce, fine beans, and small carrots can all be grown in containers on the patio. (I know this as I’ve grown them all!) You can even grow potatoes in specially designed bags. And although fresh herbs may not seem like much, they really add a finishing touch to a meal. Picking and eating the things I’ve grown gives me a real feeling of hygge.