The dreary gray has settled in on our fair city and if you’re like me, this is when I start to ache for the newness of spring. But I’ve found the answer to leaning in and finding joy in this bleak season. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this new-to-us lifestyle trend, hygge (pronouced HOO-ga) is Danish in origin and the loose definition is “comfiness”. The concept has been made popular as of late by Meik Wiking’s book, “The Little Book of Hygge”.
It’s more of a mental state than a physical one. Think the first sip of coffee in the morning, hands wrapped gently around the mug. Or when you settle into an oversized chair with a chunky knit blanket and a book. Long, meandering meals brimming with comfort food and dear friends. It’s self care, togetherness and the warm fuzzies all wrapped into one. Are you sold yet? You can hygge anywhere, anytime and it is not location specific. So grab your wool socks and an oversized sweater and check out these local tips to get you started.
Set the Mood. Candlelight is an essential aspect of hygge, so go invest in some new candles. The soft flickering and warming scents will get you feeling calm and relaxed in no time. Might I suggest hitting up The Candle Lab (in OTR or Anderson) where you can even make your own. Bring a friend and make it a two-fer; candlelight and community.
Draw a Bath. Have we lost the art of soaking in the tub? With busy schedules and little ones running around, there’s not much time for ourselves, but steal away if you can. Let that warm water run and add a couple drops of lavender essential oil. Want to up the ante? Add a glass of wine. Find a new favorite bottle at Dilly Bistro Bar and Bottle Shop in Mariemont.
Treat Yo Self. Indulgence is the name of the game for hygge, but not extravagance. So indulge in local aromatic coffee, rich chocolates and homemade goodness. Opt for local and handmade even if it’s a bit more expensive. Let yourself give in to the deliciousness. The BonBonerie in Obryonville is one of my favorite spots to grab a few scrumptious sweets.
Enjoy the Process. We may be the busiest, most rushed people in the world. Seriously un-hygge. Don that apron to tackle a new recipe and embrace the steps. Make it an afternoon with your kids, letting them cover the biscuit dough in sugar and cinnamon for monkey bread. Not a baker? Check out the cooking and baking classes at Sur La Table in Rookwood and learn to appreciate the journey.
Winter Walk. Immerse yourself in nature with a stroll in the snow. Head to the South 80 trail in Mariemont or up to Mt. Airy park with some friends and let the frosty air awaken you to the calm of the wintry outdoors. Don’t do it for the exercise, though that’s a great added benefit. Make it about the experience. Am I sounding a little sappy and starry-eyed? I just may be. Blame it on the hygge.
Come Together. Celebrate for no reason at all. Simple is better than overly made-up. Throw together a stew and break bread with friends. Let the wine flow and set the stage with warm, soft lighting and get your hygge on. If the idea of cooking for people sounds stressful, order in pizzas from Taglio’s or Indian food from Baba India. The point is to be relaxed, soaking up the moment and fostering open-heartedness. I’ve got the warm-fuzzies just thinking about it. Hygge on, friends.