Hygge: How to Prepare for Winter

Photos by: Nathan Bobey

Hibernation season, cuffing season… whatever you want to call it it’s becoming that time of year when we find ourselves staying in a little bit more. I’m an early bedtime kind of gal, to begin with, and since it gets dark around 5 pm these days I find myself in PJs and lights out before 10 pm lately. I’m definitely not complaining but since this is the time of year to spend more time at home I love making it as cozy as I can. That’s where the idea of Hygge comes to mind. But what exactly is Hygge? Well, it comes for the Nordic work ‘hyggja’ meaning ‘to be’ or ‘to think’. It’s more of a state of being and something you can pinpoint and honestly hygge is different for everyone. But the idea is mostly about slowing down and simplifying life as well as finding joy and peace. So while Hygge has sort of become a commercial phenomenon these are the little things I do to enjoy a cozy peaceful night.

Burn My Favorite Candles Cuddling Under Cozy Blankets

You must always set the mood, when trying to create a romantic atmosphere, to a productive atmosphere it is so important to set the mood and hygge is no different. If you ask most Danes how to set the perfect hygge atmosphere they will always tell you candles. The warm flickering light of a room filled with candles is a very relaxing feeling. Then cuddle up with a warm blanket and you’ve got a super relaxing room. I love big knit chunky blankets as well as fleece and if you’ve ever been to my home you will know I have blankets folded over all of my furniture.

Cozy Special Loungewear

Now you’ve got the mood set and your cozy couch space all arranged with your big blanket now you have to FEEL hygge. When you think of a cozy outfit I always picture a big roll-neck sweater and a pair of butter-soft sweatpants I would spend all day in. This outfit doesn’t have to be something super chic and definitely doesn’t have to be something you would wear in public all that matters is it’s something you’re completely comfortable in.

Do My Skincare Routine Before Bed

Another way I love to relax is by doing my nighttime skincare routine. I love the feeling of taking off my makeup with the soft cotton pads to the feeling of my current favorite Kate Somerville cleanser. Then the routine of putting on my serums, moisturizer, oils, and eye cream and tying my hair up in a bum. The routine of taking the day off and prepping my skin for sleep is really soothing.

Decompressing With An Audiobook or a Movie

After a long day at the office answering countless chats, emails and looking at spreadsheets all day my mind is mush by 5 pm. I’m a creative by nature and I find analytical work to be slightly monotonous and often challenging (though that’s also why I enjoy my job) so at the end of the day to cozy up with a good story is my favorite way to relax. I love reading but I find watching a movie or listening to an audiobook is a great way to still engage but I can also lay on the couch and just focus on what my imagination brings.

Enjoy Time with Loved Ones

Hygge doesn’t have to be a solo activity since it’s about finding joy and peace spending time with the ones you love is an important part of the practice. Invite friends and family over for board games or movies on the couch. Bring snacks, and drink warm cozy beverages. This is the time of year I love to pull out the gluhwein or mulled wine and chat about life and plans and dreams for the coming year.

Quiet Dinner Reservation

Hygge doesn’t have to be something you do in your own home but going out to public places can be a bit difficult to find the right atmosphere. I love finding a really quiet or cozy restaurant and making a solo reservation. Sitting by yourself with your thoughts is a great way to keep relax and spend some me-time. The most hygge place I can think of in Chicago is the beautiful and historic Chicago Athletic Association. They have a beautiful Drawing Room with three extravagant fireplaces, they also have a secret speakeasy bar called the Milk Room and my personal favorite hidden gem is the Cherry Circle Room a warm and dimly lit restaurant with plush leather furniture and an actual round design to the room. Their food is hearty and so flavorful.

Hygge is all about indulging yet cozy and simplistic living. Enjoy that second glass of wine with friends, dine at that quiet restaurant, and find that relaxing atmosphere in your home to decompress from the day. This is the best time of year to enjoy a cozy night in. How do you prepare for the winter months?


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