Get Cozy with the Dancer's Guide to Hygge

December 17, 2020

We’ve all heard plenty about how hard this COVID-era winter is going to be. The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and many of us are back on lockdown. And while we’re probably going to spend most of the winter months counting down the days until a vaccine is widely available, we might need some other strategies.

Enter the Danish concept of “hygge,” pronounced hyoo-guh. If the word sounds foreign, the concept probably won’t—in fact you’ve likely seen it all over your Insta Explore page. Think: lots of fuzzy blankets, glowing candles, steaming mugs of deliciousness. So, how can dancers use hygge to their advantage? Read on to find out.

What is hygge, exactly?

Okay, so here’s where it gets a little tricky: “Hygge” is a Danish term, and it doesn’t translate directly to English—but the word “cozy” probably comes closest. Hygge is a state of mindfulness, all about making the unextraordinary…extraordinary (or at least wrapping it up in a bunch of fuzzy blankets).

The Danes use hygge to help get through those long, cold, dark Danish winters, by focusing on the little things that make the season bearable: fireplaces, comfort foods, hot drinks, soft blankets, candles, and, most importantly, spending time with the people you love.

So what isn’t hygge?

ICYMI, a big part of hygge is surrounding yourself with loved ones, be it friends or family. So we hate to break it to you, but spending all day locked up in your room, binging Netflix or doomscrolling on your phone? Not very hygge.

And while it might be harder to spend time with all of the people you love this year, focus on quality time with your immediate family and members of your household. Because family game night, a movie marathon with your siblings, or cooking dinner with your roommates? All very hygge.

What does hygge look like for dancers?

So, what exactly does a hygge/dance crossover look like? Well, anything.

For you, hygge might mean donning your coziest legwarmers or warmups for your online dance class today. It might mean stretching next to the fireplace, or taking a warm, candle-lit bubble bath after a particularly grueling day of rehearsal. It might even mean planning a socially-distanced hang with your closest dance besties.

What’s important is mindfulness. This winter is going to be (totally understandably) hard for many dancers. Without usual winter traditions like The Nutcracker or holiday recitals, many of us are left spinning—and not in a pretty, pirouette kind of way. It’s more important than ever that we pay attention to how we’re feeling, and devote time and energy to self-care. Hygge is just one good way to think about mindfulness—and a pretty fun, cozy way at that.

So break out the fuzzy blankets, the scented candles, and the hot cocoa. It’s time to hygge.