She’s come to appreciate the concept even more since having a toddler. ‘I collect my son from daycare at 4.30pm, which is the latest you can pick children up in Denmark – where nurturing is valued more highly than breadwinning – and then we have a tea party.
'That’s our little moment of hygge,’ she explains. But, she insists that hygge doesn’t have to mean quiet time.
‘Now I have a child, life is busier, nosier and muddier. But hygge includes the concepts of sharing, togetherness and taking time out, which are wonderful things to teach children.’
‘What I love about hygge is that it doesn’t demand anything from you, nor does it want you to give anything up or try too hard,’ says Charlotte Abrahams. ‘It’s incredibly generous of spirit and this is what’s attracting people.’ People including us – bring on the era of hygge.
How to live Danishly, by Helen Russell
Celebrate the simple things
Brew a fresh coffee and savour every sip. Eat that pastry. Stop and smell the roses in the otherwise dodgy supermarket bouquet. And, wait, is that a cloud in the shape of a Pokémon? *High-fives world*
Reframe rainy days
Weather forecast more Mordor than Maldives? Make like the Danes and embrace the elements. A rainy day? That’s the perfect excuse to curl up with a new book. Evenings getting chilly? All the more reason to invite friends over. Hygge enthusiasts find opportunity in the most miserable of long-range forecasts.
Eat real food
Forget #eatclean. #Eathygge is about the kind of grub your granny would recognise (think big plates of meat and potatoes). Danes eat, properly, and don’t they look well on it? It’s 21 places behind the UK on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s obesity hit list. Hygge: 1, Yo-yo dieting: 0.
Create a happy home
Danish homes are hygge havens – heavy on wood and leather, with tactile finishing touches such as sheepskin rugs over chairs and freshly plumped cushions.
Scientists at University College London found that looking at beautiful things makes us happier by stimulating dopamine – Danes get a happy, hygge fix just by walking through the front door. Scandi-chic interiors: officially good for you.
Prioritise your people
Historically, the Vikings wouldn’t survive winter without help from family and friends, and although today Denmark has JustEat and Netflix, there’s still a cultural emphasis on hygge togetherness.
Studies show that spending time with friends and family is key to staying happy and sane – so get the diary out and make a date with your gang.
Helen Russell is the author of ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering The Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’, published by Icon (£8.99)