Why You Should Add a Little Hygge (the Danish Trick to Happiness) into your Recovery
How can living a hygge lifestyle in recovery support my long-term sobriety?
The Danish word Hygge — pronounced “HUE-guh” — loosely translates to the word cozy and describes a lifestyle where one lives in the moment and prioritizes the little things that make life meaningful.
Observing the value of slowing down as a way of finding peace is not unique to hygge. If you’ve been in treatment for a substance use disorder this might sound familiar, because hygge is similar in many ways to the concept of mindfulness.
Mindfulness, the practice of living in the present, is commonly taught in treatment. Through a mindfulness practice, individuals learn to be grounded in the moment and avoid worrying about the future or living in the past.
Another big part of a hygge lifestyle is self-care. Hygge says that not only is it ok — it’s healthy— to treat yourself to “me” time, making hygge particularly applicable to a sober lifestyle.
How to live a hygge lifestyle in recovery
Let’s take a look at how hygge can help us build a comfortable and soothing lifestyle and home environment as an aid to long-term sobriety.
Ever heard someone talk about removing toxic people from their life? That’s hygge. Hygge tells us to prioritize togetherness. Spend time with friends, family, or really anyone that leaves us feeling full of light and feeling positive.
Avoid multitasking and minimize stressors
In our busy, fast-paced modern world it’s easy to get sucked into a whirlpool of multitasking. Beeping devices pull us back into the maelstrom again and again. Hygge says turn those devices off and devote your attention to the conversation at hand, the book that you’re reading, or simply the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.
Leave your work at work
To lead a truly hygge lifestyle, it’s important to build strong boundaries between work time and “me” time. Leave work at a reasonable time, and avoid checking work-related emails, voicemails, or text messages when you’re not at work. Trust us, they’ll all be there in the morning.
Eat well but get plenty of exercise
To add more hygge to your life, find your definition of comfort food and lean into it — with moderation, of course. For inspiration building a hygge menu, consider any one of these hygge cookbooks.
Exercise is also closely linked with a hygge lifestyle. Bike riding is an especially meditative way to get outdoors and back in touch with yourself. In addition, hygge tells us to wear comfortable clothing — and there’s no better time for comfy sweaters than winter.
To hygge your home, keep candles close at hand. Avoid fluorescent light in flavor of low-wattage lamps, and surround yourself with plants and soft, comfortable décor.
The Danes absorb the concept of hygge into everything they do, including the interior design of their own homes. Some say this contributes to Denmark consistently ranking among the world’s happiest countries.
As you might have picked up by now, hygge really is a noun, verb, and adjective all at once, meaning different things to different people. But what’s for certain is that adding a little hygge to your life is an effective way to support long-term sobriety.