How many of you have heard of the word hygge (HEW-guh)? Hygge is a concept from the people of Denmark. The Danish people have consistently been known to be the happiest people in the world over the last many years. One reason for that is hygge. This word that does not translate into English – to sum it up in 2 words – it’s cozy contentment. Basically a practice that centers on slow living, shared moments and fostered friendships. It nurtures beauty, contentment, and well-being. Something we all long for, right?
So maybe you're wondering ... why does it matter? Your outer life always affects your inner life. Science shows that our cortisol levels increase when we are faced with cluttered rooms and piles of excess. We can learn from our Creator. The Garden of Eden was the very first home. It was orderly and well-managed. It had purpose. But it was also extravagant, enjoyable and pretty.
There are seven components to hygge that I want to summarize for you as I believe there is so much value in them for our lives in general.
o Hospitality – inviting people into your home for the purpose of relationship. Small gatherings around a table with great conversation. Reports from the Danish people show that only 3% lonely describe themselves as lonely. Quite a difference from what Americans experience!
o Relationships – being intentional about connecting with other people. A safe place where everyone feels equally valued and that their voice matters and will be heard.
o Well-being – slowing down so there is time for hospitality and relationships. It allows you to take the time to get outside in nature and walk or bike ride.
o Atmosphere – having quiet spaces and owning less to appreciate what you do already have. Choosing what is beautiful but functional, and quality over quantity.
o Comfort – finding comfort in physical protection and emotional pleasure; in routines and traditions. The Danes recognize that life is hard, so they choose to be intentional about finding simple things that brings joy. Such as cozy clothing and fuzzy blankets, family games and activities, cooking and baking together.
o Contentment – choosing to put off negative thought patterns and put on positive ones. Value is placed on people instead of things.
o Rest – an intentional balance between work and rest; slowing down to focus your energies on your home and community.
Anything come came to mind as you hear these descriptions? Did you find any areas you may need to improve on? Are you seeing how these elements correlate with your home? I encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on these questions as they relate to your home.
Let's focus on atmosphere for a starting point. Why? A chaotic home puts people on edge and creates emotional disarray. My challenge to you today is to create a home that is meaningfulistic. When God asked Adam to “dress and keep” His home, the new homemakers were to mimic the lavish creativity displayed by their creator, nurturing a home atmosphere that would lead to life, a home that had both form and function, was purposeful yet pretty.
What is keeping you from having the atmosphere you desire? For most of us, it’s too much stuff and no cohesiveness for what we do have. The Danes intentionally quiet their spaces, avoiding the urge to fill a room with trends and momentary passions. Owning less helps them fully appreciate what they do own even more. They choose beautiful yet functional, quality over quantity.
My proposal is to learn the art of decluttering -- use it, get rid of it or repurpose it.
Homes have become the place where things like backpacks, lunch boxes, electronic devices, mail and bills, etc. are stored for the many activities that happen outside the walls of our homes. My hope is that you begin to recognize the value of cultivating a home that is the center of family life, relationships, productivity, ministry, and service. A home that provides an atmosphere where people can unleash their burdens, find refuge, and be fully fueled and supported to go back out into this world to do the work God designed for them.
So let's get started! Choose one area to work on this month and schedule it!
And if tackling it on your own proves overwhelming, that's what I'm here for! Reach out for a free 20 minute phone consultation to learn if there is a way for me to come alongside you in this journey.