Improving your wellbeing and lifestyle the hygge way
24 November 2020

Improving your wellbeing and lifestyle the hygge way

This Danish lifestyle concept encourages us to do what makes us happy, but how can you implement it into your daily life?


Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir worked as a content marketing writer at Ciphr from 2019 to 2021.


Employee engagement Health and wellbeing Performance


This Danish lifestyle concept encourages us to do what makes us happy, but how can you implement it into your daily life?

When was the last time you felt comfortable and cozy when working from home or on your day off? For many of us, remote working has combined our work and personal life into one, making it harder for us to switch off and enjoy our downtime. However, if you truly want to feel content and improve your wellbeing, the hygge lifestyle could be the one to follow.

“Hygge is a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” – Oxford Living Dictionary

Hygge – a Danish lifestyle concept which rose to popularity in 2016 (pronounced “hoo-ga”) – involves blocking the negative from your life and embracing the good. It encourages us to relax, spend time with loved ones, and to do what makes us happy without feeling guilty about it.

It promotes an atmosphere of safety and comfort and is essentially all about making us feel more relaxed, which during these challenging times is important to many. Supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing is the main challenge for nearly 70% of employers, however, promoting a hygge lifestyle could also help employers look after the health of their workforce.

How can you live a hygge lifestyle?

1. Spend time with loved ones

Spending time with people you like is part of the hygge lifestyle. The pandemic has meant we aren’t able to visit family and friends during lockdown, however, interacting with family and friends over the phone, or via a video call can help put you in a good mood. If you find video calls exhausting, you can instead arrange to meet family and friends for a walk in the park.

2. Enjoy nature

Long walks in nature (by yourself or with others) during your lunch break or in the morning can give you a change of scenery and can provide you with the vitamin D that you need during wintertime.

Walking can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

3. Finish work at a reasonable time

The work/life balance has been mixed up for many of us during periods of remote working, impacting our mental health and wellbeing as a result – 43% of workers with a mental health condition and 29% of those with anxiety said the pandemic has contributed to or worsened their condition. However, a hygge lifestyle involves us switching off from work at a reasonable time and not overworking.

If you were working a 9-5 shift when you were in the office, try to stick by the same time even when working remotely. Turn off your work laptop and avoid opening emails after your working hours and take the time to do something you enjoy after work (baking, reading a book, or just watching Netflix).

4. Eat well

The hygge lifestyle is about enjoying yourself while living healthily. This means you should eat what you want to eat and not feel guilty about it afterwards.

While some people may think that this encourages people to eat unhealthy foods, it actually has a positive result – in Sweden (where many live the hygge lifestyle) only 14% of adults are obese, compared to Britain’s 27%.

5. Change lighting

Practical changes include adjusting your lighting. The use of a warm, soft white light in your room or office space can help you feel comfortable and at peace.

You can also buy candles or lamps to help you create a relaxed environment – 85% of Danes associate candles with hygge.

Benefits of hygge?

We’ve mentioned that the hygge lifestyle can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable at home, but it also has greater benefits.

Hygge can reduce stress – a survey of people from Sweden, Denmark and Finland (where hygge is a lifestyle) found that they were the least stressed of the 36 countries surveyed. At a time when more people are feeling stressed due to the pandemic, hygge could help improve mental health and wellbeing.

According to PsychCentral, examples of possible physical benefits include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Weight regulation
  • Fewer stress hormone spikes
  • Improved practice of self-care
  • Reduced need for unhealthy coping behaviours like alcohol or drugs

Examples of possible emotional benefits may include:

  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Increased feelings of self-worth
  • Increased optimism
  • Greater sense of mindfulness
  • Improved self-compassion
  • Increased practice of gratitude

The impact of hygge on your organisation

By promoting a hygge lifestyle, HR teams can build a happier and more productive workforce.

Employees are more likely to feel relaxed and comfortable when working from home, and for HR teams, this means employees’ mental and physical health could improve, giving organisations motivated employees who want to achieve the best.

However, HR teams and employers need to remember that this lifestyle is a choice – it’s up to employees to choose how they want to improve their own wellbeing.