Denmark is no stranger to the cold, dark evenings spent inside many of us are currently struggling with. Hygge is all about a feeling – that cozy, warm pleasure you get from a hot chocolate or stepping into a perfectly dressed bed.  Instead of seeing it as a wellbeing buzzword, it could be the key to helping us all find a little joy during this challenging time.

See: 5 ways to happy-proof your home – from color therapy to display tricks

The word hygge was introduced to the world by best-selling author Meik Wiking, the happiness researcher who wrote the New York Times bestseller The little book of Hygge (opens in new tab). According to Meik, the concept of hygge is central to why the Danes are among the happiest people in the world.  As part of a new campaign with LEGO, encouraging families to enjoy this time inside together, Meik has shared his eight tips to help create a sense of hygge at home.

1. Write down or take turns sharing things you are grateful for

‘Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday,’ explains Meik. ‘Whether you’re appreciating the bright sky outside, your morning coffee, or simply being cosy on the sofa – take time to enjoy these moments.'

2. Plan for quality time with your loved ones this weekend

‘First and foremost, hygge is about an atmosphere – about creating a shared moment of connection and togetherness,’ says Meik. ‘Hygge is about spending quality time with friends and families. About letting our guard down and connecting with our loved ones.’ If you are at home with your family, carve out a set couple of hours to spend with each other with a screen. Or plan a video call with friends or family if you’re living alone.

3. Create the perfect night in with your own Hygge kit

‘Hygge is often seen as the perfect night in. As we’re spending a lot of time indoors at the moment – it is time to be getting hygge with it!’ says Meik. ‘Let the stew simmer for hours and bring out the books, some LEGO bricks and enjoy some family building time. 98% of children say that playing as a family makes them very happy.’

4. Be present

‘Hygge is about being present – and not making other people feel that you are really somewhere else. Try to put your digital devices to one side so you can immerse yourself fully into hygge!’ adds Meik.

5. Take your time cooking dinner

‘When it comes to cooking, the rule of thumb is: the longer a dish takes to cook, the more hyggelig it is. Think slow roast or stews and sourdoughs,’ explains Meik. Many of us have already embraced the pleasures of making sourdough from scratch. Pair your new skill with a slow-cooked roast to share with the family.

6. Face to face time is key

‘Sitting side by side facing the television has its limits – we need actual face-time to connect,’ he points out. ‘Make sure you have family activities where you face each other. ‘If living alone or if you are socially isolating digital tools like FaceTime or Skype are a good substitute.’

7. Make time to play – whatever your age

‘Remember, you don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing,’ says Meik. Whether that is crafting away, or joining your kids with their LEGO or colouring make time to do something fun. Or even a little silly. See: Color psychology – how color affects mood– an interior design masterclass

8. Slow down & enjoy yourself

‘Hygge is about relaxing and taking things slow. For instance, søndagshygge – Sunday Hygge - is about having a slow Sunday with tea, books, music, blankets and perhaps the occasional walk if things go crazy,’ concludes Meik. ‘Embrace the slowness of these times. Happiness is easier found at home than on distant shores.’ See: Friluftsliv is the new lifestyle trend for 2021 we’re (also) embracing