What is Hygee?

Recently, we were asked to make a games table with a lid on it so that it could turn into a dining table but still leave the unfinished board game underneath to be continued at a later time. I loved the idea as I had been reading about the lifestyle trend of Hygee for a couple of years and such a table fits perfectly with this concept.


Hygee (pronounced Hoo-gah) is a Danish word and lifestyle concept that has taken the world by storm in the last 2-3 years. It is influencing current décor and fashion trends and book best-seller lists. How did this happen? Really, it all began because international surveys frequently named Denmark to be  the happiest country on the planet  and people HAD to know why. Researchers believe   that Danish social customs collectively  called Hygee  are the reason for their overall contentment and happiness.

Graphic Source: The Little Book Of Hygee by Meik Wiking (2016) by Penguin Life


1. Better Coping Skills. This lifestyle is really a  form of dedicated self care. With an emphasis on rest, relaxation, walking, bowls of hot soup, cups of coffee, stronger social connections, and general well being, people are able  develop an inner strength and resilience with which to face life’s challenges.

2.  A Happier Soul. The Danish people are less focused on outward goals, and more on what makes the soul feel good.  Think open fires, hot chocolates, warm blankets, snugly socks, blankets, cushions, coffee and cake with your family and friends, twinkle-lights, long walks,  and time for creativity.  It is all those things that make you feel happier, create atmosphere  and build deeper connections with the people near you.

3.  Less Stress. Hygee is about living  in the moment, and far less about having   stress-filled jobs that lead employees to dream about collapsing on a beach in foreign country at the end of the year to recover from it all and then to get back and return to same treadmill. The Danish culture is more about being happy everyday, and creating a life that you perhaps do not even need a holiday from. A slower lifestyle also allows great sensitivity to our consciences and to inner nudges or prompting and discernment of what is really a good idea or a bad idea. This leads to better decision making which in turn eliminates the consequences of poor decisions in our lives. When we are too busy, we can find wisdom harder to find.

4.  Stronger Relationships. Hygee is the  deliberate intention of creating special moments with your loved ones. Sharing hot drinks board game nights, movie nights, going biking or walking together, camping or just hanging out are all considered Hygee activities  and are quite achievable because they are inexpensive.

5. More Contentment and Gratitude. Always striving for goals can lead to unhappiness for two reasons: disappointment arises if targets aren’t reached and happiness is postponed  as you overlook the here and now. While  having a direction and goals are arguably important for success, Hygee argues  that this needs to  in balance with  with living and being.

6. A Less Selfish Attitude. Hygee is “we over me.” It is the group over the individual.  A leading cause of unhappiness can  be focusing on  self-interest too much and failing to contribute to those around us. Thinking about and serving others makes us happier.  It has been said that the most selfish thing you can do is give to others simply because it feels so good.

7. Better Health. The Danish love affair with  being in nature,  a slower pace of life,  walking, biking  and quality  relationships are all   well documented as being beneficial for physical and mental health.

8. More Joy.
A slower pace of life allows us to discern the natural rhythms that create balance in our bodies and and to find the happy place of having not too little and not too much. Furthermore, we can discern what makes our heart beat faster which is what we love to do. It may be gardening, cooking, crafting, journaling, drawing, or painting or something completely different. Having time to think and create is one of the loveliest gifts of simple living.

9. A Deeper Sense of Connection. One important aim of Hygee is to cultivate opportunities where great conversation, laughter and connection can occur. It might over a cup of tea, at the dinner table, around a board game, at a picnic, or around a bonfire on the beach. Chatting on social media does not qualify.

10. More Money. Adopting  a simpler lifestyle  means that purchases you  deemed as necessary in the past may now begin to seem unnecessary and perhaps even wasteful or worse still, greedy. Outwardly,  a slower  lifestyle  has sometimes been mistaken for deprivation, but the Danes argue it is in fact the opposite.   It’s  about filling your life with what  is most important in life. Over-scheduling and over-consumption actually prevents our souls, minds and bodies from getting what they need. And what is wonderful about all this, is that what we actually need for happiness, fulfilment and contentment  doesn’t cost the earth.