EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT HYGGE BUT HOW CAN YOU HOO-GA AT WORK?
So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon, but there's a word that seems to be steadily making its way into mainstream consciousness lately and given its relationship to happiness and wellbeing, topics I love to discuss here on the blog, it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge it! Hygge is the latest Scandinavian concept to have found its way to our door, and being a huge fan of the autumn season and all things cosy and warm, I for one have been mightily happy to embrace the idea of hygge from the outset.
WHAT IS HOO-GA AND HOW CAN IT ENHANCE OUR WELLBEING? Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, derives from the Norwegian word for wellbeing, but is ultimately an idea that has been most embraced by the Danes in Denmark, a country that consistently takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world. It incorporates certain concepts and ideas all of which contribute toward helping you feel more hyggelig (hygee-like) in your daily life. These concepts include: atmosphere, presence, togetherness, comfort, gratitude and harmony and there are various ways in which the Danes in particular, make sure that they bring this into their everyday lives, be that through lighting, clothing, interiors or simply a steaming hot drink and a good old piece of delicious cake shared with friends and family.
SO WHAT IS THIS HYGGE AND WHY EXACTLY DOES IT MAKE PEOPLE SO HAPPY? "Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down." - Meik Wiking author of The Little Book Of Hygge, The Danish Way To Live Well.
SO HOW ON EARTH CAN I BRING HYGGE INTO MY WORKPLACE? Well, it can be done! It might take a little thought, plus it does depend on your working environment and possible limitations or restrictions, but here are a few simple ways that you can embrace this cosy concept when at your desk during the daily 9 to 5.
FIVE HYGGE FRIENDLY WORKPLACE TIPS
1. Keep Cosy With Hygge Friendly Wardrobe Extras: You can embrace that feeling of cosiness and comfort by making sure you have the right added extras at your desk ready for when it starts to feel a little chilly and therefore not very hygge. Have a cosy jumper, fleece or a warm scarf to wrap up in and sat ready and waiting on the back of your chair. Plus one great tip from the Hello Hygge website is to pop a spare pair of socks in your desk drawer. I'd never really considered this before but what a blessing if you've suffered a particularly soggy walk to work on colder, wintery days. Definitely a top tip to embrace asap!
2. Move Around Your Space: Does your entire working day really need to be bound to the confines of your desk? Take every opportunity to move around and mix it up a little. Perhaps you can hold a meeting in a slightly cosier and more relaxed area of the office? Or instead of pinging emails around all day from department to department, why not head upstairs or downstairs to said department and chat to that person face to face. Giving yourself a physical break and some healthy human interaction!
3. Make Sure You Enjoy Your Lunchbreak: I'm going to say it again, even though I say it all the time on here! Make sure you get away from your desk during your lunch break. Plus during that break, switch off from technology, enjoy your lunch and whatever you're eating and maybe use this time to embrace some more 'in real life' contact and connection with your colleagues. Wrap up warm and take a walk with someone from your office. Bond, connect, move, eat and enjoy. That's the hygge way!
4. Snack Well: Sometimes you just gotta snack in order to get you through a busy day. But choosing the right nibbles will help in a positive way, banishing those deskside blues and annoying afternoon slumps. If you want to snack smarter during your working day then try putting some of these treats together to take with you and keep in your office drawer: Snacking Smarter. Don't fall foul to that 3pm lull - here are some tips for how best to avoid a very non-hyggelig feeling on a cold and grey afternoon in the office: How To Beat That Annoying 3pm Slump.
5. Use Lighting To Create A Hygge Atmosphere: Lighting plays a key part in the hygge way of life. Now I'm not stupid, I know that changing the lighting at most workplaces is going to be a difficult task. However, you may be able to increase that feeling of warmth and stave off the drawing winter nights with an additional lamp on your desk. Pick lamps with a warm and slightly orange light to give that candlelit kind of feel and a soft and calming glow. You could also use light to help start the working day in a more positive way. There are many lamps on the market now, like these ones from Lumie, that help you wake gradually to a soft pool of light. Instead of being woken rudely by your iPhone to the cold, stark darkness of a British winter morning!
I hope this helps you find a little hygge in the workplace during the autumn and winter months. Let me know your tips for creating a warmer, friendlier working environment during the colder season. I'd love to hear your ideas as well.