What is hygge and how can it help you to manage stress?

Posted on Posted in Health

You’ve probably heard this buzzword recently and are wondering what is hygge?

 

What is hygge? Hygge is a Danish word that is roughly translated as ‘cozy. Click through to find out more and 3 ways that it can help you to relieve your stress.

 

Hygge, (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word that is roughly translated as ‘cozy or chillin’ out.

This feel-good philosophy has become the new mindfulness. It can be further translated as the feeling of doing all of those things that make you feel happy and comfortable.

Danish people are reportedly the happiest people on the planet so they are definitely on to something.

 

While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, there are some substitutes that come pretty close to  describe the concept of hygge such as happiness, comfort, security, simpleness and familiarity.

 

Out of all of these words I love the concept of ‘simple’ best. Even their signature design guidelines of stripping things back and keeping it simple is a testament to this concept. A great example of this is Ikea – design that that is simple and pared back.

 

When it comes to hygge, it’s about things that nurture your soul and spirit and simple things that make you feel, well…cozy and happy. Think things like soft wooly socks, candles; holding a mug of hot chocolate. By the way you’ll be happy to know that hot chocolate and red wine can be hygge.

 

Sounds nice right?

 

I love this definition from Hygge House.com:

 

Hygge  ‘is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Hygge (or to be “hyggelit”) doesn’t require learning “how to hygge”, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything. It simply requires being present and recognising a moment that feels so sweet, cosy, charming, special or nice that you just have to name the moment.’

 

If you’re like most you’re probably juggling the many demands of work, kids, soccer practices, dance recitals, tight deadlines at work, financial strain or even all of the above. Yikes!

 

We place so many demands on ourselves each and every day.

 

Stress affects all of us and yes a little is great to give us a nudge to get something done but a constant state of stress takes a toll on you mentally and physically.

 

So you’re probably wondering, what does this hygee stuff have to do with managing your stress?

 

Well  Brontë Aurell, who co-founded the Scandinavian Kitchen and author of the book Scandikitchen: the Essence of Hygge had this to say about how hygge can help ease your stress:

 

“Making time for the familiar and for the comforting, is the ideal way to channel your stress into something more hyggelig. We don’t tend to get release by sitting in front of a computer, so we need to find ways to diffuse this time bomb inside our bodies – or we potentially develop stress-related illness.”

 

“It isn’t as simple as just saying: ‘I’m not going to be stressed anymore’ and then following through. However, there are ways to slow things down a little and really make a difference – and allow yourself a bit of a break.”

 

“Hygge”, explains Aurell, “is the ideal coping mechanism, helping you to regain control over your life – and combat stress head on”.

 

Here are 3 ways to add more hygge into your life to help diffuse that stress bomb:

 

 

Go to bed earlier

What is hygge? Hygge is a Danish word that is roughly translated as ‘cozy. Click through to find out more and 3 ways that it can help you to relieve your stress.

 

First make your bedroom feel like a sleep sanctuary filled with things that make you feel cozy: a nice soft rug by the bed, cushions, scented candles or lavender linen spray. That way you’ll look forward to jumping into bed each night. Being surrounded by things that make you feel cozy will increase those feel good hormones helping you to drift off into a deep slumber.

 

Now that you’re in there, make sure you’re getting enough sleep! When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system gets compromised just as much as when you’re stressed.Try to establish a regular sleep pattern going to bed and waking at the same time every day. When you’re sleeping, your body is repairing the day’s damage.

 

Also figure out what amount of sleep works best for you to be alert the next day. I’m not such a fan of the hard 8 hours of sleep rule. Some people need 7 while others need 7 and a half. Vary your amounts of sleep and find out what works best for you.

 

 

Establish a wind down routine

What is hygge? Hygge is a Danish word that is roughly translated as ‘cozy. Click through to find out more and 3 ways that it can help you to relieve your stress.

 

A great tip is to start a wind down routine. Throughout the day our minds race with thoughts which makes it hard to shut down at night. 30 minutes before bed do something that clears your mind and the clutter from the day. Turn all the lights down low, shut off all electronic devices, light some candles, have a bath or curl into a bed with a book 30 minutes before you nod off. This will help to increase your body’s melatonin which will signal to your body that it’s time to rest.

 

If a racing mind is keeping you up at night, grab a pen and paper and write down what you’re feeling then throw it away. Research shows this trick will help clear your mind of negative thoughts. A clear mind = a more sleep-ready mind.

 

Eat nourishing foods to improve your mood + lower your stress levels

This butternut squash soup is so unbelievably smooth and creamy and bursting with flavour that’s it's hard to believe it’s healthy.

 

When you’re stressed, you probably self-soothe stress with foods. The foods that trigger that happy place in your brain (aka the reward centers) are salty, fatty and sweet.

 

Research from Ohio State University shows that regularly eating high-calorie and high-fat foods when we’re stressed also slows metabolism, which leads to weight gain. Fortunately, there are healthy satisfying foods and nutrients that soothe stress in the brain and body. A nourishing comforting soup (grab the recipe here for the one pictured above) with nutrients to ease your stress is a great place to start.

Want to learn how to stress proof your body in times of stress?

If you’re looking for more stress busting recipes check out this chocolate latte or these chocolate avocado cookies.

 

How will you start to de-stress using hygge?

 

 

 

 

Sources:
http://www.hyggehouse.com/hygge
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/best-foods-for-stress-management/slide/1
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/17/stress-and-sleep_n_5824506.html
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scandikitchen-Essence-Hygge-Bronte-Aurell/dp/1849758743/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1486553998&sr=8-4&keywords=bronte+aurell

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