Insight

Lifestyle

/ 11 months ago /

 Article by Brenda Wong

What is hygge? The art of living well and staying cosy at uni

There’s nothing like autumn. The leaves are turning colours, you’ve dusted off your cosiest knitwear, and it’s now the right temperature to be justifiably drinking hot chocolate. Hygge, the Danish concept of coziness, encompasses all of this and more.

What is hygge?

Before we launch into our full explanation, we have to nail the pronunciation. Jury’s out on the most accurate one, but for now we’ll stick to the most common ‘hoo-ga’.

No really, what is hygge?

Like many beautiful, foreign words, it’s difficult to pin down an English definition that’ll give hygge justice. Marie Tourell Søderberg, writer of ‘Hygge’, describes it as ‘the feeling of finding shelter after a long day of being outside in the freezing cold.’ Mmm.

We also love The Debrief’s attempt at explaining hygge.

Picture this; it’s blowing a gale outside, your best friends are in your clean and softly furnished living room, there’s plenty of red wine, the heating’s on, you’ve cooked a banger of a meal, no-one’s got work tomorrow, Midsommer Murders is on the telly, the lights are way down low so, as the song goes; let it snow let it snow, let it snow. That safe and snug feeling you can imagine you’d have in that situation? That’s hygge.

Sounds ideal to us. But in a cold uni flat, with hardly any budget for anything beyond Pot Noodles, how can students add a little bit of hygge to their life?

1. Cozy your digs up

A photo posted by Carrie (@onepleasantday) on


We’re talking as many poofy cushions as you can muster from the charity shop, plenty of throws, and some investment in a legitimately nice-smelling candle or two (or five, the minimum suggested by Refinery29).

Make it so that your little uni room becomes your hidey-hole for the winter. Essentially, make it hibernate-worthy.

2. Crack out the knitwear


You know that one really comfy jumper with the holes in them you can’t bear to toss away? That’s the physical manifestation of hygge. Something that gives you a sense of home, safety and warmth that’s unparalleled to anything else in your closet.

3. Don’t forget the food

A photo posted by foodgawker (@foodgawker) on


Things that absolutely scream hygge are slow-cooked simple stews, soups, and warm teas. Things you crave after spending a day in a windswept, rainy city.

Bonus points if you put marshmallows on your hot chocolate. Go on. You deserve it.

4. Gather your mates round

A photo posted by Brenda Wong (@brendaisarebel) on

Hygge is better when it’s shared. Invite a few friends over to share a bottle of wine. If a fireplace isn’t handy, cuddle up together under blankets and play some board games.

The Danish believe that hygge is anything that gives you emotional warmth. Talk about getting by with a little help from your friends.

5. Have an amazing bath/get down with some self care


If you’ve been feeling burnt out lately and want to be anti-social for a bit, do it. Embracing hygge means embracing the rituals and activities that make you feel good.

There’s nothing like a good bath. Chuck in some Epsom salts and essential oils, read a book, light a candle and 1-2-3, re-la-a-a-a-a-x.

6. Turn your screens off

A photo posted by @theaterproject on


We mean it. You don’t want to disturb your hygge flow with your Whatsapp group notifications blowing up your phone.

2016’s been the worst year ever for news as well, so perhaps it’s a good time to just tune out, and hide away from the world. Just for a little while.

Feature Image © Unsplash

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