Embrace the Hygge Lifestyle by doing these simple things to decompress & rejuvenate so you can live your best, coziest life ever.
Note: The links in this post may be affiliate links.
When was the last time you put your own needs and want first? If you’re like most moms, it’s probably been a while.
Yes, I get the theory that we’re supposed to “put our own oxygen masks on first.” The reality is that, for most of us, our kids will have their masks on a snack in hand for a potential ride down the inflatable airplane slide before we even consider addressing our own oxygen situation.
The truth is that we get caught up in the rush of a busy life and leave very little time to focus on ourselves.
Between work, family, and kids, it seems like there’s rarely a moment to breathe, let alone do anything to make ourselves feel good.
Eventually, though, when you make time for everyone and everything else and leave no time for yourself, you will burn out. It may not be the end of the world to go off the deep end burn out, but you’ll start to feel that depleted, empty feeling inside.
How Hygge Can Help
This is where Hygge and intentionally living a more cozy lifestyle can really help. The word Hygge (pronounced “hoo guh”) is often defined as a “quality of coziness that makes a person feel content and comfortable.” Technically, there is no direct word in English that fully mimics this Danish word, but “cozy” might be as close as we can get in the United States.
Essentially, anything that allows you to slow down and take a break from the busyness and brings you happiness can be considered Hygge. Even if you have a living space full of things that make you feel cozy, you still need time and space to do the things that make you feel like you. Remember, you deserve a happy life as much as your family does.
Here are some simple ways you can disconnect, decompress, and fill yourself up:
1. Practice Self-Reflection
Taking the time to figure out exactly who you are and what you want is a great place to start caring for yourself.
Getting in touch with what makes you happy is a great way to begin making time for yourself a priority. Self-reflections allows you to evaluate life in general – your thoughts, choices, attitudes, and behaviors that have brought you to where you are today.
If you’ve been putting taking care of yourself on the back-burner, start asking yourself questions like “What can I do today based upon my needs alone?” or “How can I be more intentional with my time this week?”. This doesn’t have to take up a ton of time, but once you start spending 5-10 minutes a day thinking about yourself and what’s important to you, it will be much easier to make yourself a priority from now on.
2. Say No
If you want more time to do the things you REALLY love, setting boundaries and saying “no” more often is probably one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself.
This allows you to get back in the driver’s seat of your own life and have more control over your time. Often, we say we don’t have time to do the things that would bring us enjoyment because we are too busy – but it’s usually because we’ve said “yes” to everyone else’s demands.
Instead of filling up your calendar with everyone else’s “to-do’,” start saying no to those things you really don’t want to do. Or are totally mundane and could remain undone. I guarantee you’ll begin to find time to see a movie, read a few chapters of a book, or even get a much-needed pedicure.
Remember, “no” is a complete sentence by itself, and you don’t have to explain or feel guilty for not taking on everyone else’s stuff.
3. Give Yourself a Timeout
One of the very best things you can do for yourself when you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed is to give yourself a break. Allow yourself a pause to collect your thoughts and work through any issues you’re dealing with reasonably.
Take 5 to 10 minutes to get away from things. You can go for a walk in the fresh air, lock yourself in the bathroom, listen to some music, or sit in an empty room in silence.
4. Be a Creative
Once we become grown-ups, we often forget about what we loved to do most when we were kids.
Think back to when you were little; what did you enjoy doing for fun? Was it:
Get back some of that childhood magic and make time for play. See that movie you’ve wanted to watch. Or pick up a “just for fun” book and read. Try out a yoga class. Or, buy yourself a canvas and some paint and create a masterpiece. Do whatever it takes to get your creative wheels spinning and allow yourself time to reconnect with the things you used to love.
5. Take a 15-Minute Walk
Taking a walk is a great way to reduce stress, let your mind wander, and it just makes you feel more refreshed in general. In addition, taking a walk in nature is a natural energy booster – who needs caffeine when you’ve got fresh air?! If you’re pressed for time, 15 minutes will suffice, but a nice long walk on the weekend is a great way to clear your head. During the winter months, bundling up and taking a shorter brisk walk may be just what you need to kickstart your day,
6. Spoil Yourself
How often do you put aside your own needs because you’re so busy taking care of everyone else? I’d bet it’s a lot.
Maybe it’s time to start saying “yes” to little indulgences once in a while, just so you can have a little bit of fun, too. It doesn’t need to be super expensive or take a ton of time; it just needs to be something for YOU.
Treat yourself to a new guilty pleasure book or a relaxing massage. Buy yourself your favorite snack, and don’t share it with anyone else. Just do something that makes you feel spoiled and focuses on your own needs.
7. Learn Something New
When was the last time you felt like you learned something new that didn’t involve your job or your kids’ homework? Exploring new things is not only fun, but it’s the best way t keep your brain active and maybe even discover a new passion.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn or know more about? Make a list of the things that interest you and search for online courses, books, videos, or local classes that will teach you more about your chosen topic(s).
Maybe you’ve always wanted to make designer cakes or bake the perfect gourmet meal? Or craft items for an Etsy shop? Or even just become a subject matter expert on a topic that’s always intrigued you? Whatever it is, I’m confident you can find a course or class out there.
8. Go on a Social Media Detox
Our phones have become our lifeline to the world, and we rarely spend a moment without them. And it’s a great lifeline to our family and work but, when we spend more time scrolling through the highlights of other people’s lives than we do meeting our own needs, it’s time for a break.
Try to take a break from social media for a day and be more present in your own life. Or, set boundaries and only allow yourself to check Instagram at certain times of the day. Turn off your notifications (this is seriously one of the best things you can do to give yourself more time in your day). Social media addiction can be a real thing, and not only can it affect your mental well-being, but it also sucks of precious time you could be pouring into yourself. Take a break and build up a feeling of contentment
for your own life.
9. Make Time For In-Person Connections
Spending quality time with people – live, in-person – takes effort. I think we’ve all let friendships slide not because of any great falling out but merely because our schedules have become so packed that you realize it’s been months or even years since you’ve seen someone who was once dear to you.
Human beings need connections with other human beings. If it’s been a while since you’ve connected with your people, plan a girls’ night out (or in) and catch up with old friends. Go on a date night with your significant other or grab dinner with some close friends. And, if it’s been forever since you’ve met new people, think about volunteering or taking a class. Any of these things will give you some much-needed time away from home and let you recharge your batteries.
10. Have Some Alone Time
As much as we need connection with other people, on the other side of the coin, spending time alone is also essential. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, anxious, or on edge, take a moment to reflect on what your mind and body may be trying to tell you.
Spending even just a tiny amount of time alone each day can help your mind relax. Being by yourself gives you a chance to be present with your own thoughts so you can tune into what you really need and want.
11. Start Journaling Your Thoughts
Purchase a pretty notebook, grab a pen, and start jotting down your thoughts.
Our minds are cluttered with the chaos of daily life, work stuff, and keeping everyone’s schedule straight, and this can cause us to lose touch with ourselves.
Start or end your day with a quick journal entry. Let your random thoughts spew out on the pages and let go of the idea that it has to be perfect or grammatically correct. Write down your victories, your concerns, the things you wish you’d done better, and everything in between. You can even do a daily “brain dump” and make a list of all your thoughts and ideas.
12. Decide What You’re Going to Eat
Doesn’t “decide what you’re going to eat” sound like so much more fun than “meal planning”? Yeah, I know that meal planning sounds like work but, if you’re like me and constantly thinking about what you’re going to eat next, it can actually be fun!
Grab a calendar and begin:
- Making plans for dining out at a restaurant you’ve wanted to try or an old favorite
- Scrolling through food box subscriptions at places like HelloFresh or Blue Apron. Add a few recipes you’d love to try to your box, and you’ve got 2-3 meals covered for the week with minimal effort and no additional shopping.
- Leaf through your food magazines or cookbooks while you’re enjoying your morning coffee. Pick out a few recipes, create a grocery list while you’ve got the recipe out, and place an online order the next time you’re at your computer.
- Plan around the seasons – think cozy comfort food during the dark days of winter and fresh farmer’s market finds during the time of year when it’s warm and fresh produce is abundant.
The simple act of making a plan in advance will save you the stress of trying to figure out dinner on the fly. Plus, when you plan in advance, you’re likely to eat healthier and choose options that will satisfy most (if not everyone) of your family members. Less stress and anxiety at dinner time, all around.
13. Get Organized
Like meal planning, I know that this one can feel like work if you don’t reframe your mindset. The thing is, though, that organizing your surrounding gives you peace of mind, decreases your stress levels, and allows you to spend less time looking for things and worrying about needing to get more organized.
Clean out that junk drawer. Purge your closets. Toss out any broken items and donate the things you never use. Take a few moments to unsubscribe from email lists that you delete without opening them. By getting organized now, you’ll make more time for yourself and spend and less time distracted by random clutter.
14. Create a Few Music Playlists
Music can have a giant impact on our emotional, mental and physical health. Have you ever heard a song come on the radio after a rough day that instantly made you feel a little bit better? Lyrics, sounds, and tempos all affect you on a deep level and can help melt the stress away, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Create a playlist of the type of music that inspires you. You may even want to create a few – one you can listen to mindlessly on your way home from work, one that pumps you up in the morning while you’re working out, and another one that helps you decompress and get ready to fall asleep at night.
15. Create a Vision Board
Creating a vision board is a fantastic way to get in touch with the things that are important to you. Taking the time to envision all the things you want out of life – and then putting it on paper where you can reflect on it every single day – gets your creative wheels spinning and helps you envision your future in a more positive light. Bringing your hopes and dreams to the top of your mind and intentionally putting them out there can encourage you to believe in yourself enough to achieve them.
16. Take a Road Trip or Spend a Night Alone in a Local Hotel
When was the last time you allowed yourself a short break from EVERYTHING? There are some days when getting in your car when hitting the open road with just your favorite playlist or an audiobook to keep you company is precisely what you need to rejuvenate.
A short road trip or even a night alone in a local hotel can be just the thing you need to relax, unwind, and get away from the daily stress of life.
Back a good book, a bottle of wine, and maybe even a little charcuterie board for you to enjoy alone in your hotel room. In the morning, enjoy a cup of coffee or other warm drink and revel in the peace and quiet. (Tip – bring your favorite coffee or tea so you can really enjoy this moment and not get stuck with less than stellar hotel stock.)
This time away will give you the chance to be alone with your thoughts, tune the rest of the world out, and just enjoy “being” while having no responsibilities for a night. (Yes, technically, you could do this in your own living room, but the chances are you’ll remember something that needs to be done or notice a mess that needs to be cleaned up, and you’ll tackle it. This way, you’ll be forced to focus only on yourself for the evening and leave your daily tasks behind.)
17. Let Go of Perfection
An essential part of experiencing Hygge is ignoring the fake perfection that is everywhere you turn. It’s hard to get away from – or measure up to the unattainable images on social media, in magazines, or at the movies.
That’s why it’s essential to let go of the idea that you need to be perfect. When you allow yourself to get caught up in the game of keeping up with the images of everyone else’s “best life,” your mental, physical and emotional health will suffer.
Take care of yourself, do the right things for yourself, and be intentional about the life choices you make. Life is a unique journey for each of us – stop trying to measure up to things that aren’t even a part of your story.
18. Take a Day off of Work and Have a GYST Day
GYST means Get Your Stuff (or whatever other word you might choose to insert) Together.
It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when you have a list of to-dos piling up. A GYST day allows you to take care of all those things at one time so you can be more focused and organized for the coming week.
Pick a day that works with your schedule, put in a PTO request, and take care of all the things that will make you feel better about life. Maybe you need to pamper yourself more, so you take time for a long shower or soak in the tub. Perhaps you need a day to clean and organize your home or take care of bills or paperwork for your kids’ school or sports. Setting aside a dedicated day to get your life together (or at least feel like you did!) will give you the boost you need to get through the rest of the week.
19. Get Enough Sleep
Making sleep a priority is essential for your overall health and wellness. Numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation has an impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. It has also been linked to depression, anxiety, weight gain, and many more negative side effects.
It’s much more challenging to cope with the daily stress of life when you’re walking around feeling groggy.
Try starting a bedtime routine for yourself:
- make an effort to go to bed at the same time every night
- turn off all electronic devices an hour before, so your brain has some downtime
- pour yourself a cup of tea (decaf, of course!) to help you wind down
- make sure you have a soft blanket and comfortable pillow on your bed to sleep with.
Sleep is essential and a great place to begin taking care of yourself.
20. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Being able to count on your friends is a large part of the hygge lifestyle. So, when you need help, ask for it.
Way too often, we don’t want to burden anyone with our problems, so we try to do everything on our own. This is a difficult way of life to maintain and will usually lead to feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. You’ll waste a ton of time and energy trying to find solutions on your own when you could easily reach out to someone else for a bit of assistance. As humans, we need connection.
As humans, we’re wired to want to contribute and make a difference in someone else’s life. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to your best friend, neighbor, or your own family when you need some backup.
21. Eliminate Toxic People
If you really want to focus on creating a cozy life, it’s crucial that you begin eliminating anyone who brings you down. Take a look at the different people in your life – family, friends, co-workers?
Do they support you and encourage you to be your very best? Or do they drain you with their negativity and discourage you? It may be time to let go of the people in your life who spend more time putting you down than building you up. Set boundaries, cut ties, and add some distance to any relationship that makes you feel drained or unworthy. You don’t need people in your life who get in the way of your path to happy living.
22. Watch Your Words
Begin paying attention to the words you use when you speak to yourself. Are they positive and encouraging? Or negative and spiteful?
We all suffer from negative self-talk at times. But, if your inner voice criticizes your every perceived flaw, it’s time to address that problem. Negative self-talk is damaging to your overall wellbeing. The first step is to flip the switch and put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Begin challenging negative thoughts anytime you notice one popping up. Find ways to turn them around to a more positive point of view or banish them from your mind completely.
“Choose your thoughts carefully. Keep what brings you peace, release what brings you suffering, and know that happiness is just a thought away.” – Nishan Panwar
23. Feed Your Mind with Positivity
One of the best things you can do for your mental well-being is to feed your mind inspiration on a daily basis. Discover a new podcast or listen to an uplisting Ted Talk. You could also watch an uplifting YouTube video or find an inspiring documentary on Netflix.
Feasting on something positive can help open your mind to all of the possibilities life has to offer. It may even inspire you to do something new!
24. Start Practicing Gratitude
Something compelling happens when you begin to appreciate what you already have. When you choose to love your life and all the things in it actively, the result is a life-altering shift in perspective about what is truly important.
Practicing gratitude is such an easy thing to add to your day. All you need to get started is a journal, a pen, and a few minutes to ponder.
Take a few minutes each morning to jot down the things you’re grateful for. If you’re not too tired, do it at night before you go to bed, too. The more you do it, the more focusing on the things you are grateful for becomes second nature. As practicing gratitude becomes a habit, you’ll start to notice more of the beauty and joy that surrounds you.
25. Let Go of the Guilt
Putting yourself first is 100% necessary sometimes if you want to show up as the best possible version of YOU. It’s not selfish (even if you or someone else has made you believe that), so do not feel guilty.
If you do feel a twinge of guilt, the first step to letting that go is to understand what it means (and doesn’t mean) to put yourself first sometimes. First of all, it does NOT mean that you disregard others and only care about yourself. Nor does it mean that you need to stop helping your kids and loved ones get their needs met. It simply means that you recognize that your needs are as important as everyone else’s. You can’t truly serve others when you are feeling empty yourself. Everyone around you will benefit when you kick the guilt to the curb and begin making yourself a priority.
In Conclusion – Hygge Living Will Make Your Life Cozier
There are so many easy ways to bring the Danish concept of Hygge into your life, and it’s one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of coziness in your life.
Make a commitment to doing little things for yourself, trying to take things at a slower pace, and showing yourself more love at the end of a long day.
Be patient with yourself through the process of learning to embrace this Danish way of life Taking small, simple steps each day to take care of yourself is the best way to live the idea of Hygge. Doing this can transform you into the absolute best version of yourself and even begin to change your life.
Find More Information on All Things Hygge
- Simple Self-Care Activity Ideas You Need in Your Life Now
- 50+ Ways to Enjoy the Simple Pleasures in Life
- Simple Living: Your Ultimate Guide to Hygge
- How to Give Your Home Environment a Hygge Vibe
- Create a Feeling of Cozy Contentment in Your Living Room
- How to Make a Cozy Bed
- Easy Tips to Make Your Own Home Your Favorite Destination
- Tips and Tricks for a Hygge Kitchen