Find Hygge on the Homestead

Reader Contribution by Mary Ellen Ward and The Homemade Homestead
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Do you hygge on your homestead? See how embracing just a few aspects of this simple way of life can bring more contentment to your days.

Homesteading is a way of life and, as such, it elicits its own set of pressures, stresses, and well, work! It’s easy to forget that it’s a labor of love and that you’ve chosen this lifestyle for a reason — and some very rewarding reasons at that. Those reasons, those choices, that led to what is often a sense of overwhelming un-accomplishment are exactly what can bring you back to a less-stressed, more contented homestead existence. All you need is a little hygge on your homestead.

Hygge: It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s an adjective! It’s a…

…it’s a thing that is felt; a way of life; a way to describe that feeling or way of life; an active way of living. (Not really unlike another “H” word we know and love, eh, Homesteaders?)

Hygge is considered a concept that hails from the happiest places in the world, namely Denmark and the Scandinavian countries. (Forbes, 2020) defines hygge (pronounced hoo-ga or hew-gah, depending who you ask) as: (noun) “the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having good conversations, enjoying food, etc.”

It also defines it as an adjective, as something “cozy and comforting.” It is also defined and described in many other similar, but different, ways. Google it. You’ll see.

Finding Your Brand of Homestead Hygge

Hygge defies definition because it is a concept, a lifestyle, a way of being. The beauty of hygge is that there are no hard and fast rules; and if there were to be one rule, it would be that no one can tell you what your hygge should be.

When we talk of hygge, we can suggest a mindfulness of living, a mindset mingled with activities or pastimes that might get you there. But no one person can tell another exactly what to do in order to “achieve” hygge. You just can’t “do” hygge wrong.

Examples of Hygge on the Homestead

Who has time for hygge? The simple answer: We all do. Because hygge-ing doesn’t have to mean that you drop everything to sit there with your lighted candle, concentrating on how great your hygge is, or that you accomplish nothing while you hygge (though certainly it could, if you want it to). There are many ways and opportunities to hygge on the homestead, if you just put your mind to it. Here are a few examples (some of them are even quite productive):

  • Add music or an audiobook to any task or chore.
  • Enjoy a quiet evening of bean snapping or vegetable prep for preserving on the porch. Maybe with your audiobook.
  • Take note of a good job done; large or small ,they’re all progress and if we take just a few moments to smile and breathe at the end of our accomplishments, they have a way of feeling more like accomplishments than tedious tasks.
  • Invite in the pretty parts and pieces. What does that mean? It means treat yourself to a handmade dishtowel, or a quality wooden set of salad tongs that feel great in the hand and dress up your table setting.
  • Crochet a set of new holiday ornaments, or everyday pretty little wash cloths.
  • Use your scents: Add your favorite scented candles, potpourri, or flowers to your home office, kitchen workspace, or farm table.
  • Read that overdue stack of trade magazines, “how-to” books, or your favorite back-to-basics blog (ahem) by the fire…inside or out.
  • Find moments (take moments) to enjoy the simple gratitude of appreciating your gifts and abundance.
  • Share your meals and abundance with friends and family in low-stress, informal get togethers.
  • Be mindful in the moments. Even the moments spent weeding, raking, or hoeing have hygge in them, if you make a point to find it. Smell the air. Feel the sun. Drink in the quiet or sounds of nature (because if there is one place you’re almost guaranteed to be left to your own, it’s in the weeds!).
  • Take comfort in your foods. Hygge is very inclusive of good, wholesome, soul-filling foods. We probably all know what it means when a fellow homesteader or gardener talks about how fulfilling it is to see a spread of homegrown foods and favorite dishes spread before them. In fact, that level of understanding and appreciation is one probably limited to those of us who grow and produce our own. That feeling? It’s hygge.
  • Be purely impractical. Play with your (still living) food. Pet the beef. Plant the cut flower row in the middle of the harvest garden, and harvest at will to bring hygge into your home. Plan and be practical but plan to be less-than-practical, too — to get just that much more enjoyment from your efforts.

Finding hygge on the homestead is a way of controlling stress and getting a little more out of life — that homesteading life that you love, but that (let’s admit it) can sometimes feel like one big ball of overwhelm.

You don’t have to change your life drastically to accomplish hygge or to rekindle the enjoyment in the life that you love(d). You just have to look for the little ways to bring yourself back into your present and to work spoiling yourself just a little bit, back into the equation.

Mary Ellen Wardis a how-to author, New England homesteader, and family dairy farmer. Connect with her at The Homemade Homestead, Elderberry Tea Co.onher author website, herAmazon author page, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Read all of Mary Ellen’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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