Embrace the Hygge lifestyle, become fitter and happier

Eat meals with the extended family
They say it’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy. The Danish have incorporated this very message in their daily routine; no wonder they are ranked as amongst the happiest people in the world! In fact, they even have a term to describe this mood or philosophy. Called Hygge, this Nordic art of living is all about finding a deeper meaning and establishing a mindful connection with the world. You don’t need to live luxuriously or look for grand gestures; you just have to enjoy the smaller joys with your favourite people. This feel-good trend is not just great for your mental well-being, but physical fitness too. We share a few tips to get Hygge happy…

Get clarity
Many studies suggest that taking some me-time all by yourself, in a park, forest or natural environment, lowers stress levels, increases energy, boosts self-esteem and makes you less angry. This stems from a popular pastime in Scandinavia — hunting — which requires people to wait an entire day in the forest for their game, and they use this time to sit alone and concentrate. Though difficult to achieve, this leads to the feeling of being content.

Sing a song
Whether it’s birthdays, anniversaries or festivals, the Danes like to sing together in a group. Research has found that singing in unison, not only makes people happier, but it has similar benefits to yoga. According to a study, the heartbeats and breathing synchronise, which help lung and heart health. Singing together also releases the ‘happy’ hormone oxytocin, which lowers stress and increases feelings of trust
and bonding.

Skip the gym every once in a while
On your journey to achieve Hygge, sometimes, it’s okay to go easy on your unforgiving fitness regime. Nordic people love nature and believe that exercising outdoors is preferable to the gym. Those who work out in the open are more likely to keep up a consistent routine. For instance, instead of hitting the treadmill, go for a jog or walk in the park. Mumbai has many open gyms on it’s sea-facing promenades, which are a great alternative to closed gyms.

Take a coffee break
Fika, which is a Swedish tradition, is simply taking a break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink and a sweet pastry or bun. Whether you’re a chai lover or a coffee drinker, make sure to incorporate this simple activity in your busy work schedule because this is one small indulgence that will make your day.

Eat meals with the extended family
Next time you plan to meet up with your grandparents or cousins, instead of going to a restaurant, plan a sit-down dinner at home. It doesn’t have to be a gala feast. Involve your family members, to zero down on the menu and prepare the meal together. Delegate tasks, give everyone a role — cooking, setting the table, serving food, cleaning the dishes after the meal etc. This is a bonding exercise. And don’t forget to throw in some board games or play a round of dumb charades!

Discover the joy of working out
Most of us think of exercising as a tedious chore. But this Nordic concept views it as an enjoyable activity, not a manic obsession. If a regular gym routine seems like a punishment, try an alternative and more holistic approach to fitness. Enroll yourself for dance classes or aqua aerobics!

Create your own sanctuary
We rarely allow ourselves to idle or ponder. Do this intentionally; set aside a time in the day and create a space where your spirit can catch up with your mind. You can try bathing in the tub with candles, or drink a cup of wine as you journal your inner thoughts. Or simply switch off your phone, sit quietly and allow your mind to wander off before going to bed. Remember to catch up with yourself.

It’s okay to binge on your favourite foods
We’re so harsh on ourselves that even when we indulge in things, we do so with pangs of guilt. Hygge means enjoying the good things in life, especially those that make you happy. This holds true for your favourite fatty foods too! Right from childhood, Scandinavians treat themselves on one day of the week, which is their cheat day. Studies also show that a treat, every now and then, can make a person more likely to stick to a diet.


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