Fighting fall fatigue with hygge 

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As cold weather makes its unceremonious entrance, cold rain rushes away warm fall weather, and early evenings scare away the sun. It seems as if nothing could be better than a night in featuring fuzzy socks, a warm cup of tea and a good book.  

“Hygge” (HEW-guh), a noun and adjective of Danish origin, refers to this feeling. “Hygge is a quality of coziness that makes a person feel content and comfortable. It’s also often used as an adjective meaning ‘cozy or comfortable,’” states the Merriam-Webster dictionary. 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hygge started from the endless darkness of Scandinavian winters, when individuals would gather together at night to spend quality time with each other, unravel after a day of toil, and enjoy the warmth and light of fires and candles.  

Central to the idea of hygge is personal connection. “Hygge is a?way of living, and a way of being together and really connecting with people,” explained Malene Rydahlm, as quoted by the Webster Dictionary. “It’s not hygge if we’re in the same room and you’re doing something and I’m doing something else and we’re not connected. Hygge is created when you do things together.” 

Regarding hygge in his life, CJ King, a UVU senior studying business management, explained that he allows himself to change plans whenever he wants to seize a unique opportunity. “With the solar eclipse coming up, I changed plans to experience a moment,” he stated. “When fall hits, I schedule a day to go through the Alpine Loop because accepting [those] moments brings me comfort.” 

“Hygge is coziness during cold weather,” King continued. “So,taking time to experience the now and moments that will never come again are blissful and cozy because they contrast [with] the craziness that is my life.” 

There are several wellness benefits individuals can receive from practicing hygge. According to Piedmont Healthcare, increased happiness, decreased stress, regulated cortisol, increased attention to the present moment, improvement of self-love and self-care, increased feelings of contentment and a decrease in maladaptive coping strategies are all possible benefits of slowing down and consciously choosing to enjoy being present with friends and family.  

According to the same source, individuals can practice hygge by: 

• Dedicating more time to themselves (and allowing themselves to be okay with it) 

• Spending more time in nature 

• Physically connecting with others  

• Enjoying slow activities such as reading a book, writing in a journal or enjoying a snack 

• Slowing down 

• Making hygge into a lifestyle rather than a moment 

This fall, rather than allowing the cold weather and short days to rob individuals of social connection and happiness, practicing the Danish tradition of hygge can be a healthier alternative. Try clearing a schedule, donning hyggebukser—relaxation pants that most people would rather not be seen wearing in public—and enjoying time with friends to experience fall and winter in a different light.