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What do you know about hygge?
To some, hygge is simply another home decorating trend, and to others, it’s a way to fully embrace the ideas of simplicity, well-being, and coziness in all aspects of life. If it’s a trend, then it’s definitely one I can get behind. Turns out, we’ve been living a bit of a hygge lifestyle for years without even knowing it.
As we ease into winter in the northeastern United States, we’re making a concerted effort to focus on everything that hygge stands for, only we’re doing it with a twist. Our 30 days of hygge challenge is going to focus on bringing all that hygge warmth and well-being to our outdoor endeavors.
Care to join us? Below, you’ll find a list of ideas, products, and activities to help you explore hygge living and the outdoors at the same time.
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Before we get started, here’s a little background on hygge and how this simple concept can help you live a more simple and fulfilling life.
What is Hygge and how do you pronounce it?
Hygge is pronounced hoo-ga, and it is a Danish concept that revolves around a feeling of coziness, contentment, and well-being through enjoying a simple lifestyle. Hygge has been described as a feeling, a coziness of the soul, and a hug without physical touch. It is embraced as a way of life in Denmark, and increasingly, in the USA.
Hygge can be practiced alone or with friends. Reading a book on a rainy day is as hygge as a night of music and board games with your neighbors. If you are interested in learning how to hygge in other aspects of your life, I recommend starting with the book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.
Hygge concepts can be applied to home decor, cooking, and entertaining, so why not the outdoors?
Nature already plays a role in hygge living — natural fabrics are embraced, as are plants, fire, and long walks in the woods, so it’s no big step to take hygge living outdoors and apply the concept to hiking, gardening, and camping. There are no rules to pursuing hygge living in your own outdoor pursuits, but if you’re interested in embracing all the warmth and coziness that November has to offer, we’ve got a list to help you on your way.
30 Days of Hygge in the Outdoors
The month of November, before the excitement and stress of the holidays set in, is a great time to challenge yourself with 30 days of hygge, but you can do this hygee challenge anytime you need to unplug and recharge. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your journey.
- Wake up early and go for a sunrise picnic – Set your alarm for an hour before sunrise, pack a thermos of coffee, your favorite baked goods, and a cozy outdoor blanket, and head to a local park to watch the sun come up. Bonus points if you can find a friend to come along for the adventure. Read Planning a Road Trip Picnic for more picnic ideas.
- Build and enjoy a backyard fire – If you live in a spot where you can enjoy outdoor fires in your own fire pit, consider yourself fortunate and enjoy it! Because it gets dark so early in November, you don’t even have to make much of a commitment. Light a fire, invite a friend over to catch up and make some s’mores while savoring the outdoors.
- Make a hot drink to enjoy outside – Don’t stop at coffee or tea. Create a special winter warmer, and enjoy it in a thermos while strolling around your yard or neighborhood.
- Make a watercolor paint tin and use it outdoors – Make a tiny, pocket watercolor set to pack in your daypack for your next outdoor excursion, and don’t forget to use it! It’s not just about making art, but also about taking time to appreciate and capture the magic of the outdoors.
- Invest it cozy wool socks – You guys know where my loyalty lies. Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont and come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. They are made with merino wool, come in gorgeous colors, and are the coziest thing to cover your toes!
- Hang some outdoor string lights in your yard – November evenings are dark and sometimes dreary. Warm things up with a string of fairy lights. Hang them near your back door, on your porch, or around a tree that you can see from your window. Solar string lights are great for this because you don’t plug them in, and they will come on automatically when it gets dark.
- Go stargazing – After daylight savings time begins, the sun will start setting in the late afternoon. Instead of cursing the dark, embrace it with a stargazing adventure. While the stars are lovely to look at on any clear evening, you might want to check out the Taurids Meteor Shower in November, which is best seen between the 5th and 12th.
- Practice yoga outdoors – Whether you already have a consistent yoga practice or have never tried it before, practicing outdoors will help you connect with the natural world while adding a bit of a challenge to your workout. Yoga Journal has some great outdoor yoga poses to help you get started. Even a yoga mat is completely optional.
- Try Letterboxing – Have you heard of Letterboxing? Like its cousin, Geocaching, Letterboxing is a kind of outdoor treasure hunt. But unlike Geocaching, you don’t need a GPS to go Letterboxing. Letterboxers use clues to hunt for their treasure, usually hidden in a natural spot. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp in their personal logbook and leave an imprint of their personal stamp in the letterbox’s logbook. It’s so much fun!
- Try a walking meditation – Walking is one of the most common activities in everyday life, and walking meditation can be a powerful and uplifting process to help you bring mindfulness into your daily life. Walking meditation can be as simple as mindfully counting your steps as you walk, and takes just minutes every day. For ideas on how to start your walking meditation practice, visit Buddhaimonia.
- Make a candle lantern and light it outdoors – There are endless DIY candle lantern ideas out there. You can make them out of heavy-duty embossing foil, old tin cans, and glass jars. Whatever you have on hand, turn that trash into treasure!
- Visit a local farm – the rhythms seasonal changes are more apparent when people are working directly with them in the natural environment. Visit a local farm to see what I mean. Whether it’s following the daily cycles of livestock or the seasonal cycles of local produce, there’s nothing like an afternoon on the farm to put you in touch with your roots.
- Go glamping or cabin camping – Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or a rural countryside, you can always benefit from a night or a weekend away. Platforms like Airbnb and Glamping Hub make it easy to find rustic cabins, treehouses, and yurts that embrace all things hygge. Pack the bare necessities for your trip and be prepared to just be.
- Go for a walk with a friend – This is an easy one! Make plans to catch up with a friend on a walk around your town, neighborhood, or local park.
- Grab your binoculars and watch the birds – There is something incredibly satisfying about watching the birds that live near your home, and it is a great way to learn about wildlife and ecology. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy bird watching and it’s especially fun to do with kids.
- Gather natural materials and create a bouquet or centerpiece for your table – Late autumn is a great time to harvest natural materials from the woods, fields, and gardens. Collect feathers, acorns, seedpods, dried grasses, and pinecones, and bring them inside for a little nature-inspired decorating. Arrange your finds in a vase bowl to enjoy when you can’t physically get outside.
- Create a suet bird wreath and hang it in your yard for your feathered friends – So many birds love suet feeders, especially when the cold weather hits. Instead of a store-bought suet feeder, make this gorgeous suet wreath. It’s a holiday decoration that birds will love!
- Read your favorite book in a hammock – Lounging in the hammock with your favorite book isn’t just for lazy summer weekends! Bundle up and head outdoors for a little me time between your favorite trees. Don’t have a hammock? This lightweight camping hammock is perfect for picnics, road trips, and outdoor adventures.
- Invest in some winter woolens – What’s so great about wool? Wool wicks moisture away from your skin, can absorb 30% of their weight in water without feeling wet, and can regulate your temperature, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Your outdoor adventures will be much more pleasant with some woolens to keep you cozy. Invest in a base layer, a few cozy sweaters, and some wool mittens.
- Unplug for a day and get outside – Could you abandon your phone and your computer for a full day of playing outside? Whether you work in the garden, go for a hike, or stroll around town, unplugging in the outdoors is one of the finer things in life!
- Ditch the GPS and go for a drive for your best friend – Take a little road trip with no destination in mind. Explore back roads, enjoy the scenery, and don’t turn on your GPS until it’s time to head home!
- Head to your favorite outdoor spot and write in your journal – Do you have a favorite outdoor spot that you visit again and again? Pay your spot a visit, pull up a fallen log, and spend 15 minutes writing in your journal.
- Play a game of tag or hide-and-seek with some young friends – If you have kids in your life, challenge them to an old-fashioned game of tag or hide-and-seek.
- Make your own fire starters for your next campfire – For this project, you will need paper egg cartons, candle wax, and wood shavings. Fill an egg carton with wood shavings. Melt candle wax in a paper cup in the microwave and pour it into the egg carton. When the wax hardens, your firestarters are ready to use. Here are some more DIY firestarter ideas.
- Make and drink your coffee or tea outdoors – Use your firepit, camp stove, or charcoal grill to boil a kettle of water for your afternoon tea or coffee. Pour it into an insulated mug and enjoy it with a sunny day.
- Plant spring bulbs near your entryway or window – It may seem dreary now, but spring will be here before you know it. You’ve still got time to plant spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips, or hyacinth. Find a bare patch of soil, drop in the bulbs, water thoroughly, and forget about them until spring.
- Paddle a canoe or a kayak – Choose a sunny day and go for a late fall paddle. You’ll have your favorite lake or pond all to yourself.
- Volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter – Walking dogs is a great way to get outside. If you don’t have a dog of your own, check to see if your local animal shelter is in need of dog walkers. This is a great way to get outside and give back to your community.
- Buy a field guide and bring it on a walk – Have you ever wondered about the plants and animals that live near your home? Buy a field guide for whatever interests you – birds, tracks, edible plants, trees, etc., and learn about some of the living things in the natural community near where you live.
- Write a poem about your favorite outdoor space – Celebrate the culmination of 30 days of Hygee in the outdoors with a poem about your favorite outdoor retreat.
Your newfound hygge lifestyle doesn’t have to stop after 30 days. Use this list as a jumping-off point for discovering both the outdoors and the world of simplicity and well-being that is hygge. Let’s get started!
Read more about getting outside and enjoying the natural world:
- 32 Easy Ways to Get Outside this Year
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking with Kids
- Awesome Winter Adventures for Families Who Don’t Ski
- Road Trip Essentials for Outdoor Families
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