living in switzerland, in the center europe, i learned a lot of new words. many of them don't have a direct english translation, and often these are the best words. they can explain something we all know but have never thought to label it with a word. it might be a really specific situation. it might be a familiar idea that manifests sometimes comically when put in singular word form. it might be it might be a feeling we haven't been aware of enough to really think about it and talk about it.
one such is walkdeinsamkeit
. it describes the feeling when you are alone walking in the woods. we all know that feeling. it's kind of like solitude, meditation, mindfulness and being in nature all at once. it is distinct and special and of course
it should have its own word.
my favorite is probably the danish word hygge that i learned about from the swedes who practice it as well. phonetically it is superb and it even looks and sounds like it should mean what it does. the definition is just as great. it's elusive to describe but after working in stockholm for a month a few years ago, i got it.
winter is cold and dark. sounds miserable, right? its not. winter is now my favorite time, thanks to embracing hygge.
i was surprised my first day of work to find that the swedes light candles all day in their offices
. candlelight in a totally traditional office space at noon on a tuesday sounds strange but it brings a totally different feel to the environment-- you actually want to curl up in your office chair, take your shoes off and tackle some spreadsheets. really!
hygge is coziness. it is comfort and warmth and being content. it is surrounding yourself with people and an environment that make you feel good. it's appreciating the little joys around you. it feeds your happiness. and mirth.
the hyggehouse puts it well: "hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special."
chez vrony in zermatt, switzerland
hotel jagdhof in tyrol, austria
hygge for me is an early start at a cozy coffee shop with good music and a fully charged laptop. my go to's: here in zürich, here in houston, here in stockholm. hygge is my one of my favorite places in the world-- the little cabin called chez vroni, in the shadows of the matterhorn, only accessible by hike. sitting on a sheepskin on a heart carved wooden chair, doilies in the window is hygge at its best.
hygge isn't reserved for winter. summer picnics, evening bonfires: all can be hygge.
the zermatt caftan from our 2nd collection was designed with this very spot in mind. hygge is the basis for the collection. "resort" styles are typically made for warm weather holidays, but we took a different spin on it that made sense to us. we created a few caftans for your winter holiday, but many are for hygge wherever you are. most are easily layerable-- over jeans or a turtleneck, under a jacket. the fabrics are suitable for fall and a california or southern winter.
i encourage you to figure out your hygge. stock up on socks and candles, make some stew, invite friends over for fondue, buy a mug to get you excited about afternoon tea breaks and embrace the comfort of the season.