Imagine the perfect winter’s night... candles flickering, log fire blazing and a glass of red warming in the hand. The darkness of Scandi-noir drama is on the telly while that home-cooked dinner bubbles away in the oven.
Or you could be sitting with a cup of coffee, favourite book in hand with your woolly jumper draped across your shoulders.
Get the picture? Well to the Danish these are moments of hygge; gentle soothing times which allow you to appreciate the little things in life.
Today we have no choice about hunkering down and staying at home thanks to the restrictions imposed following the second Covid-19 lockdown.
We have learnt a lot from last time but that was in spring and summer when we could get out in the sun. Gardens were tidied and enjoyed, barbecues sizzled away and neglected rooms decorated.
This second lockdown is quite different. Now we have nights getting longer and the days colder. So why not take a leaf from the Scandinavians’ book. Light that candle, check the Netflix schedule or read that long abandoned novel. It’s about taking time to slow down and enjoy your home comforts.
We are in worrying times. Fears about Covid spreading to ourselves and those we love combined with concern for our jobs as the economy comes under greater pressure, are having an impact on our mental health.
Those who live alone including the elderly and vulnerable are at particular risk as winter approaches. Then we have uncertainty over Christmas – will we be able to gather with families or will it be very much a watered-down version of the traditional festivities.
The Danes are said to be among the happiest people in the world. Moments are cherished for what they are. OK we can’t meet up with friends to share these moments, but we can enjoy them with those we live with.
Hygge – pronounced “heur-gha” with a sound a bit like clearing your throat – is apparently that fuzzy warm feeling of taking pleasure from the simplest of activities. It’s a lifestyle choice which has been embraced by the Scandinavians.
Come summer Hygge is that leisurely beer in the garden or an ice cream on the park bench while the kids play on the swings – just living life in the moment.
Let’s all enjoy the coming weeks as much as we can. Drag out that throw, get the fire on and think of better days to come.