Hygge for Work
What is Hygge?
It’s pronounced “hue-gah”.
Hygge is a Danish feeling, really. Hygge embodies the coziness and comfort that comes from the act of being fully present, spending time with family or friends in person, enjoying the simple glow of candles, or experiencing the joy and warmth of baking.
Hygge is not easily translated into a single English word. It can be described as coziness, contentedness, comfort, familiarity, happiness, presence, and simplicity. Originally, the idea was created to help people survive the ever long, bitterly cold, Danish winters. I can completely relate. I do not fare well in the post-holiday, winter months. I stumbled upon the Hygge practice in my own quest to find ways to generally not be miserable by the time March rolls around.
Hygge usually includes soft lighting, cozy furnishings, warm drinks, sweet treats, fresh air, hand knit blankets and scarves, chunky sweaters and socks, visits with friends and family, being present, and unplugging from all the ever-present electronics in our lives. You can find tons of ways to incorporate Hygge into your personal life. Type in it into Pinterest and be prepared to be sucked into a black hole of adorable pictures and quotes and tips. BUT…. How do we bring Hygge to our professional live… where we spend several, if not most, of our waking hours???
Top Three Tips for Entrepreneurs to Bring Hygge to Work
Get TOGETHER in Real Life
Hygge Your Home Office (or that closet you call an office)
Unplug, Go Analog, and Find White Space
Get TOGETHER In Real Life
As an entrepreneur, actually as a SOLO entrepreneur who is also a MOM, I know how easy it is to become lonely and physically isolated. I hit the trifecta of ways to become lonely and physically isolated: 1. Mom, 2. Work at Home Mom, 3. Team of ONE Entrepreneur. Yikes.
I am an introvert, so I do enjoy a bit of solitude. However, human beings, even the most introverted, need in person connection with other human beings the same way we need food, water, and shelter. It’s important to be intentional and deliberate in finding ways to get together with fellow entrepreneurs in real life.
Getting together will naturally create Hygge. When you’re with your colleagues be sure to be fully present, put your phone away, and truly listen. You may talk about work and reignite the spark and energy in your business, or maybe you’ll talk about nothing, be silly, and laugh until your stomach hurts. Whatever the topic, simply being together makes it Hygge.
Here’s some tactical ways to get together with colleagues and create a little Hygge in your routine:
1. Keep it simple – ask a local colleague to join you for coffee once a week.
3. Go big – find a conference, overnight business retreat, or camp for women in business (check the listings at Founders In Real Life for events like this all over the world!)
Hygge Your Home Office
My “office” is a tiny converted closet in the basement playroom. The previous owners of our home painted it this overwhelmingly distracting turquoise green. I never made a huge effort to do anything with the space, other than plop a computer on the desk, so I ended up not really using it much.
Last December, after learning about Hygge, I decided to make the space more inviting. I wanted the space to be cozy and also be a place I could go to focus, be productive, and grow my business (so long as the kids weren’t actually in the adjoined playroom). My project was a complete success and now the spot is my sanctuary!
It’s important to note that I spent exactly ZERO dollars on this redecorating project.
I used things that I had in other places of my home, I organized, I cleaned, and I threw away or donated things to reduce clutter. Hygge is NOT about spending gobs of money to make your home office Pinterest or Instagram-worthy. My little space is not a Pottery Barn ad, but it suits me perfectly and it helps me be productive on cold winter evenings.
Here’s the elements I made sure to incorporate into my home office:
1. Cozy furnishings: I added a throw blanket and pillow to my desk chair (which is currently a patio folding chair)
2. Soft lighting: I was nervous to bring candles into the office in case I forget about it. Instead, I used a small desk lamp and some string lights
3. Neutral colors: I repainted the walls a barely-there gray using paint leftover from a different home project. The neutral color evokes a calm, peaceful atmosphere.
4. Greenery: I brought the outdoors in by placing a low-maintenance, live plant in the corner of my desk and I reused some pages from a favorite garden calendar as the artwork.
5. Warm Drinks: I always bring a hot coffee or tea or lemon water with me in my favorite mug.
6. Family: While I prefer that my children not join me in my office, I did decorate with their fine works of art and photos of them and some love notes from my hubby! It’s a reminder of why I do what I do, and a reminder of all the love and support that surrounds me.
7. BONUS: I keep warm socks and a couple chocolate treats in my drawer in case I get a chill or want a little sugar boost! It’s not really practice to bake while working, but chocolate bars achieve the same result.
Unplug, Go Analog, and Find White Space
Your brain deserves a break. Technology is relatively new as compared to the evolution of humans and I can confidently say that our eyes and brains were not meant to be staring at screens and Instagram feeds nearly as much as they do. Our brains are constantly overloaded and bombarded with ads, emails, to-dos. It’s too much and it’s not Hygge.
Unplugging or “going analog” is the act of putting away your phone, your laptop, your TV, and allowing yourself to simply be present in whatever is unfolding. By giving yourself a break from the tech, you create the opportunity for your mind to rest. When your mind is able to rest, you’ll find more clarity, creativity, and inspiration.
Here’s a few ways to unplug:
1. Write (with pen and paper): Start journaling or sketching. I recently started a bullet journal and it suits me perfectly. Note that it’s a very simple bullet journal. I’m not an artist. I use a regular ball point pen and I write words. Don’t let the Pinterest artists discourage you from the true benefits of journaling, unless of course you enjoy the artwork. In which case, doodle and draw away.
2. Step outside and leave the phone behind: Whatever the weather, a breath of fresh air will do wonders. Hygge includes the act of bundling up until you’re basically a warm ball of yarn, and getting outside no matter how cold the air may be.
3. Read an actual printed book: With a printed book there’s no opportunity for a pop-up ad to distract you from what you’re doing.
I hope that these suggestions help to bring a bit of cozy, happy, and warm energy to your professional life and routine! Happy Hygge!