The concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) has been gaining popularity across the U.S. and Canada over the past couple of years ,and I’m here for it. It’s a Danish word roughly translated into English as “coziness.”
Practicing hygge help lower anxiety, depression and stress. Considering the pressures that many workers are dealing with right now, we could all use a little extra support balancing our mental health and overall well-being. With some employees working from home, here are five ways to infuse a bit of hygge into the workspace, wherever that might be for you right now.
1. Power in numbers
While it’s easy to just eat at your desk and watch a cat video or two, hygge is about community and bringing people together. Though many of us are suffering from “Zoom fatigue,” grabbing a virtual lunch with co-workers or FaceTiming with a loved one can go a long way in lifting spirits these days. You could even go old school and send a card or note in the mail to feel that sense of connection.
2. Practice mindfulness
Take a two-minute break here and there to focus only on breathing or do some light stretching at your desk. There are many mindfulness apps to help guide the process (or check out my colleague Sandy’s mindfulness session video!). About 26% of U.S. workplaces offer meditation/mindfulness training, according to the 2020 Employee Benefits Survey report.
3. Sip, sip, hooray!
For instant hygge, just add a warm, cozy beverage like hot chocolate, tea or coffee. Over half (64%) of U.S. workplaces offer a coffee service, so if you’re working from home, you probably miss that readily available brew and the quick chatter with colleagues that often accompanied grabbing a cup.
4. Give your workspace some love.
Make sure you have a few photos of people and things you love, artwork that makes you happy, favorite pens, a plant or two (mine are fake and they still make me happy), and even a small accent lamp if space allows. Did you know yesterday, January 10, was national clean off your desk day? Perfect timing. Some decluttering can help you enjoy a calm, cozy place to be productive wherever your workspace might be.
5. Be nice.
Companionship and friendliness are essential aspects of hygge. This is hard; I get it. You don’t have to go full Pollyanna—but think of ways you can make work happier for your colleagues, even if it’s virtually. Leading up to the holidays, the Foundation led a “Days of Cheer” campaign with challenges for employees like “reach out to a co-worker who shares your same birthday month” or “send a playlist to someone who shares the first letter of your first name.” Your heart will feel cozy in return.
How Do You Hygge?
Even if you live in a warm climate, the attitude of hygge can still be practiced. For our cold-weather friends, I hope these ideas will help make the rest of winter a little more bearable. Do you have any hygge tips you’re already implementing in your workplace? Please top off your coffee, wrap yourself in a scarf and share in the comments below.
Communications Associate at the International Foundation
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