What’s healthier and more enjoyable than dieting? Hygge and mys of course. Here are 21 ways to add these Scandinavian concepts to your day.
What are Hygge and Mys?
Hygge is the Danish concept of cozyiness. In my home country of Sweden we have a similar term known as “mys.” Both came about because of the long, dark winter days in these northern latitudes. With fewer hours of sunlight you essentially have to make your own light and warmth.
A big component of both hygge and mys is mindfulness. It’s about taking the time to make things “special” and cozy. In addition, hygge and mys are also about savoring and enjoying, much in the same way that we should strive to be mindful when we eat.
Furthermore, I would also say that these concepts are about the contrasts. Dark vs. light. Cold vs. warm. Working vs resting. In order to appreciate one, we have to experience the other.
While hygge and mys have been around for ages in Scandinavia, and the hygge trend has been popular for a few years now in the US, I think they need to become a permanent part of our lifestyle. After all, embracing these concepts makes life more enjoyable and is so much healthier for you than dieting.
So why not ditch the diet and start your year off with more hygge and mys instead.
21 Ways to Add Hygge or Mys to Your Week
Yes, you may see a repeating theme here (blankets, candles, books, and more blankets). In addition to adopting some of these suggestions, I also recommend getting outside every day. Rain or shine, getting outdoors all year long is a big part of the Scandinavian culture and makes the cozy time all the more cozier. Again, it’s about those contrasts.
Blankets, Magazines & Lights
- Add enough throw blankets to your living room so that everyone has their own.
- Make Friday’s “family movie night” complete with mys. Think favorite snack board or take-out dinner, candles, blankets, and togetherness. In Sweden this is called “Fredgagsmys”.
- Tempt kids away from the screen by creating a cozy space to create art, build legos, or do puzzles. Have cozy lighting. Arrange the markers and colored pencils in pretty jars. Get good quality paper. Play music.
- Keep your outdoor holiday lights up until springtime signals longer days and more sun.
- Add mini twinkly lights inside your home.
- Dark outside when you wake up? Light a candle in your kitchen while you brew your coffee and feel how it changes the vibe. So much mys.
- Candles are also a great way to add mys to everyday dinners. They invite us to slow down, relax, and linger longer.
Books, Magazines & Newspapers
- Trade-in your online paper subscription for an old-fashioned paper newspaper, it’s more “mysigt” to hold and flip through a real paper.
- Keep magazines and books on or near the coffee table as a reminder to take some time to sit down, relax, and enjoy them.
- Find a cozy spot in your home and snuggle up with a cup of tea or coffee and a good book. Yes, a blanket is good too.
Eating and Sipping Mindfully
- Adopt a “fika” routine. Fika is the Swedish tradition of taking a break in the day to mindfully drink a cup of coffee or tea and eat a little snack or treat, often with family or friends. A fika treat can be sweet or savory–if you want to go classic, open-faced cheese sandwiches and cardamom buns are both super Swedish. (I also recommend avocado toast and cocoa-coconut bliss balls.)
- Skip the tea bags and brew loose leaf tea in a real teapot. Savor and enjoy at breakfast or fika time.
- Take a break and slowly sip and savor a glass of your favorite wine or beer with your significant other.
- Pick one day of the week to enjoy breakfast in bed.
Cozy Outdoor Time
- If the sun is out, take your fika break outdoors. Just bundle up or wrap yourself in, yep, you guessed it, a cozy blanket and enjoy.
- The backyard fire pit trend is very hygge. If the smoke bothers you, try a Solo stove, it’s virtually smoke-free and very easy to use.
- Make real hot cocoa with high-quality cocoa or dark chocolate. Savor and enjoy. If you are feeling adventurous, bundle up and enjoy your hot cocoa outside!
- Bring a thermos of hot cocoa and/or coffee on your next outdoor adventure and enjoy a break in the woods complete with a hot beverage. It’s the best.
- Make mulled wine or cider to enjoy with friends on a cold winter afternoon. You can keep it warm in a crockpot or thermos.
Music & Greenery
- Fill the house with music, whether using Spotify or your guitar.
- Add more greenery to your house. Plants bring nature and beauty to your home and will also help clean the air. (A simple way to add greens in the winter is to cut some branches from any bushes that you have growing outside.)
Read More About Hygge and Mys
Check out these recent New York Times articles: