I Went Full-on Hygge for a Week: Here’s What Happened

Splashing in the Waves - Hygge Lifestyle

Life can get chore-like, what with work, school, commuting, family obligations, all those passwords to remember. Even if you’re not a Type-A writer in an office full of chillaxed Hygge-heads (ahem), you can still lose track of a little thing called “pleasure.” “Fun,” um, is that an app? So, here’s my try at getting head and body correct in 7. I knew becoming free and easy would be costly and difficult, perhaps even impossible. But I did get the Hygge concept that there’s no time like the present to enjoy life, so I grabbed an aromatherapy candle, said a prayer, and here’s what went down:

Day 1: I have never been a candle person. Yet, people give me candles. They enjoy giving me candles. Maybe they realized I NEEDED candles. To my credit, I’ve diligently kept these now wicks of shame in a shopping bag in my closet. I remove them. At dinner, I light all 5 of the candles (YOLO).  It’s still light out, so I really don’t see the point. But as the sun downs, the candles start to do their candle thing, and yes, I concede, a mood is created.

Hygge 3; Curmudgeon 1

Day 2: Spurred by my waxy success, I decide to take a bath late at night using  the candles. It’s summer, so it’s a rather cool bath and not as relaxing as I hoped. The bathtub's hard. Plus, when I add the calming, dead sea salt honey bubble bath, the cold water doesn’t make for many bubbles.  Oh, and one of the candles falls in. I vow to buy one of those bath pillows and try again when the weather is more warm-bath conducive. 

Hygge 1; Curmudgeon: 3

Day 3: I meet a great, old friend for dinner and decide not to tell them about Hyge Week. I request to eat outside. Said friend remarks that I never want to do that. I respond, don’t put me in a box. Friend rolls eyes. Speaking of boxes, I am seated in front of a planter featuring lovely yellow, red, purple and white flowers. I remark at their beauty and fully turn in my chair to take them in, including a long, deep inhale of their scent. At this point, my friend is ready to check my ID. We order wine and I tell him that this moment, despite his eye-rolling, is a perfect, ripe piece of pure joy for me and smile widely. This time, no snark, he just raises his glass for a toast.

Hygge 5; Curmudgeon: 0

Day 4: I’m in a panic. I’ve been going, going all day with no Hygge. Nothing. I am uninspired and it’s only mid-week. I’ve been using the candles and taking a moment to appreciate every good moment when I can, but can’t think of anything new. The subway is a mess. I get home and feel like doing nothing. Can nothing be Hygge? I decide it can. I pour myself a tall, cold glass of club soda, add a spritz of lime and notice the frisson of the citrus spray and think, wow, if we could all be so exuberant. I settle down on my new fluffy comforter (my rabbit ate holes in last one), don some heavenly-soft, cute slipper socks  (thanks, work) and think: Ah, life is good. I have a library book staring me down and open up to page one. It’s a mystery. How appropriate. I wonder where this experiment will end?

Hygge: 3 Curmudgeon: 1

Day 5: About the rabbit. The rabbit is not mine. It belongs to other members of my household. But now, because of Hygge, I take out the rabbit. I pet said rabbit. I cuddle it. It’s white with a single black freckle, and OK, it’s very cute and very, very fluffy. It looks at me approvingly (I am its feeder) and I think: I appreciate you rabbit. You are a pain to maintain, but yeah, I love you.

Hygge: 5 Curmudgeon: 1

Day 6: It’s beach day. Friends are going and invite along. I spend a bit too much time applying sun block.  I have also brought a large sun umbrella my friends mock me mildly for. They do not mock my Beachtech towel though.  I whip it out of a small purse (folds tiny) and proceed to show off the pocket that holds my phone, money and keys, so I won’t be losing stuff, unlike them. Did I take it over the edge of Hygge when I challenge them to a towel-drying contest and win easily? Hey, every time I take a dip, I return to a nice, dry, comforting towel. That’s very Hygge, no? I actually end up having a great, stress-free day full of fun and sun.

Hygge: 4; Curmudgeon 1

Day 7: I have an “event” to attend later tonight. It happens to be with a lot of stressed-out people who are very un-Hygge. I decide I’ll go full-on H and hope to convert them. I spend the daytime finishing my book. ( I'm better able to focus on small pleasures these days.) I light a candle, take a longer shower than normal, use some divine (I say divine now), peppermint body wash. Next, I get my post-sun, dried-out face in order, putting my exfoliating cloth, another work item, to good use.  I actually take out the rabbit and let it hop around freely on my bed (sort of). I ask its advice on what to wear. But, for once, I'm not really worried about it. I get to the “mixer,” mention my project and make a lame Hygge joke, something about “mulling over” and “mulled wine.” Despite this, a few people ask about Hygge. I say, you really just have to try it. They ask if it’s time-consuming. I say not at all. Try adding one thing a day that makes you feel good, that makes you happy. It’s not that hard. Small steps. There’s a huge, wraparound terrace, but nobody’s out there. I head outside anyway. It’s breathtaking: Spread out, seemingly going on forever, the city lit up at night, sparkling with millions of lights. To me, they look like candles.

Final Verdict: Hygge Wins

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