We may not have winter in Singapore, but the Scandinavian concept of hygge has resonated for some Singaporeans. There is even a cafe/shop hybrid at Haji Lane named HYGGE, which means the hipsters are in on the concept.
The concept of hygge (pronunced hue-guh) espouses Scandinavian-style cosiness, enjoying a mug of hot chocolate around an open fire with friends by your side, etc. It’s about warmth, simplicity and appreciating the little things in life.
But that doesn’t mean you need to feel bad that the only Scandinavian items you own are from Ikea, or that you should run out and purchase a ton of stuff to make your flat look like a Danish cottage.
Because hygge isn’t about consumerism; it isn’t a “look” to achieve. Rather, it’s a way of life that can not only make you happier, but also help you save money by focusing on your loved ones and community, training your senses on nature and the tiny pleasures in life, and living in the present.
Here are three ways to add some hygge to your life that will also help you spend your time in an inexpensive way.
Plan a cosy gathering with friends
Hygge is all about enjoying the company of people you love in a cosy setting.
But imbibing aggressively at a club or queuing to enter a crowded restaurant are not the types of outings that will make us less stressed and more engaged, and they also cost a lot more.
Instead, plan your next gathering at your home or at the home of a friend who’s able to host.
Focus on activities that will get everyone interacting with each other, rather than staring at a screen. You might want to organise a boardgame night, a steamboat feast, wine and cheese evening or whatever.
Go out and enjoy nature
Singaporeans often lament the lack of nature in our concrete jungle, but that’s not strictly true. There are quite a few natural spots that can help you forget for a second that you’re usually surrounded by concrete blocks.
Getting out there and enjoying nature helps you focus on the present and free your mind from the over-stimulation caused by advertising, crowds and businesses.
There are lots of options if you don’t mind the humidity of the jungle—MacRitchie Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve are surprisingly scenic. Opt for the Southern Ridges and Henderson Waves or Labrador Park if you’re looking for something a little more tame.
If you prefer the beach, skip Sentosa and head to Changi Beach Park, which has a very nice 2.2km coastal walk. There are also decent beaches at Punggol, Pasir Ris and East Coast.
And if you’re willing to travel a little, Pulau Ubin, St John’s Island and Lazarus Island are probably the furthest you can get from the crowds.
Start a crafty, meditative hobby
The hygge lifestyle places a strong focus on crafts, DIY and the meditative benefits of getting lost in a creative hobby. Knitting and crochet, especially, have emerged as popular activities in the hygge movement, because of their association with winter.
While it’s true that Singaporeans do not exactly walk around in woollen knits most of the time (although the sub-zero temperatures at your office and the freezing monsoon season of 2018 have definitely increased winterwear sightings in town), knitting and crocheting are in fact very meditative hobbies, and you can knit and crochet household items rather than clothes, scarves and gloves. Take free knitting lessons with It Takes Balls or attend one of their knit parties to find out more.
There are other crafty/DIY hobbies that can not only get you into the zone, but also save you a bit of money, like woodworking, sewing, cooking or even coffee brewing.
Focus on learning and practising a new skill rather than consuming, and you’ll find yourself less broke and also less stressed.
Have you heard of hygge? Tell us what you think of it in the comments!