Although the term “Hygge” is not a new concept, it became an especially big buzzword in North America over the past few winter seasons. Now, when you hear the expression you probably immediately think of ways to stay warm and cozy during the cold and bleak winter months. However, even though the cold and dark are finally gone (for now), you can still create a Summer Hygge Vibe for yourself throughout the sweltering months.
The thing is, even though you may associate Hygge with warm fuzzy blankets and rich hot chocolate by a fireplace, it’s about more than keeping a chill at bay. Hygge is also about enjoying life in simple joyful ways and that is definitely not specific to any one season!
I hear a lot of people saying that they find it difficult to take time to relax and enjoy themselves. I personally have no problem doing that because I consider self-care a vital part of my fight against stress and anxiety so it’s a bit of a priority and I refuse to feel guilty about taking some time to be totally unproductive sometimes. Here are some tips on how I bring Hygge into my summer that you can try in order to have an easier time slowing down and enjoying life instead of just rushing from one task to the next all the time.
Light some outdoor candles!
You know how it’s a cozy feeling to sit wrapped up in a warm blanket in December with your living room full of candles lit and flickering away? Well, I ditch the blanket but keep the candles. Yes, candlelight may heat up my home a bit more than I’d like on a sweaty night, but then I can just take them outside and still enjoy that deep-down-inside warmth without overheating. I like to sit out on my back deck with some lit candles; I can spend hours outside sipping a beverage while the night drifts on by.
Bonus: choose to use a few citronella candles among the others and you’ll keep the bugs away too – win/win!
Get the fire pit roaring and bust out the s’mores.
I don’t actually have a fire pit yet, but I have wanted one for several years and it’s on my list. I think a fire pit in the backyard is the perfect way to create a summer Hygge vibe because it’s cozy even if the daytime temperature drops over the course of the evening, it brings out the obvious desire to bust out a guitar and sing some songs, and it’s perfect for one of the most comforting treats on the planet – S’mores!
Whenever I get the chance, I love to toast some marshmallows over an open flame, place them on top of some milk chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers, and enjoy the nostalgia of my campfire youth.
I don’t have the greenest of green thumbs but I do happen to have a front garden that pretty much takes care of itself. We have hostas that attract the oh-so-important bumblebees so we can sit outside and watch them happily buzz from one plant to the next, pollinating the world. We also have a hydrangea plant and lily of the valley plants growing by the truckload. The hydrangea look beautiful while the lily of the valley flowers smell like a delightful perfume all along our front steps.
And that’s nice outside BUT I also regularly bring in some of the Hydrangea flowers – they go into a vase and even when they dry out they still look enormous and beautiful. I also clip some lily of the valley flowers and set them in tiny glasses around the house to spread their beautiful scent. It’s such a simple way to bring the outdoors inside with you.
Go for a picnic!
Nothing says cozy quite like a soft blanket spread out on the grass in a park with some delicious sandwiches. (Or, you know, if you don’t want to sit on the ground, you can just use a picnic table as they are found in most public parks.) It doesn’t have to be fancy. Pinterest can show you all kinds of high-end picnic baskets filled to bursting with feasts and treats. And if that floats your boat then definitely go for it! But you can create a beautiful Summer Hygge vibe without straining yourself.
Keep it simple if that makes it easier and more attainable for you. Believe me, my picnics are not fancy. There is nothing wrong with a stack of PB&J sandwiches, some bottles of water, and a selection of easy fruits. Also, if you want to know the truth, a lot of times when we do our picnics – whether it’s on a hike or at the beach – we bring our small cooler with some ice and we pick up pre-made cold cut sandwiches at the store on our way. Talk about easy!
Invite family and friends over for BBQs
For me the appeal of Hygge is sharing that comfort with people you love. One of our favorite things to do every summer is to have people over on the weekend for a delicious BBQ. We hang out on the deck with some refreshing drinks and some easy snacks (i.e. potato chips or just some quickly sliced cheese served with crackers!) and when our stomachs start growling we fire up the BBQ and make the neighborhood envious with the smell of grilled food. George makes amazing burgers but sometimes we just get a selection of sausages and keep it simple; often we’ll serve whatever we’re eating with pre-made potato salad and pasta salad, with a big green salad on the side.
The point is to enjoy a meal with great people, so make what you love and enjoy the conversation over the grub you serve up.
Speaking of refreshing drinks at the BBQ… For the most part we stick with our usual favorites regardless of the season. That means beer for George and red wine for me. Sometimes it’s nice to switch it up a bit and a fun summer cocktail brings that Summer Hygge Vibe right in to the hot, hazy days. When it gets really hot, I like to sip a cold mojito with a big sprig of mint on top (and to save time I buy it pre-mixed at the liquor store so all I have to do is add ice and mint at home!). If you’re like me and usually drink a full-bodied red, try a cold white Chardonnay or a light rosé wine instead. Even a rum and coke on a warm summer night can hit the spot if it’s not something you normally drink.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. A summer cocktail may end up being your new favorite go-to drink!
Lazy days in the backyard
Life gets so busy sometimes, especially from Fall through Spring when there are school activities, extra-curricular activities, and work. Some days I feel like I spend all my time rushing. Do you recognize this? You rush to work, you rush through your lunch, you rush to catch your bus back home, you rush to have dinner, you rush to get ready for bed so you can repeat it all again the next day. Yeah, me too. You know what does NOT say Hygge? Rushing.
When I have a nice quiet summer weekend or a vacation day, I resist the urge to rush to get a bunch of things done in one short period of time. I’ll take a few hours to be lazy out in the backyard – get out the sunscreen, relax in a chair or on a towel, pop up the umbrella on the deck table, get one of those summer cocktails, and grab a good book. Let’s save the rush mentality for another day and enjoy some lazy down time – and DO NOT feel guilty about it, because we deserve it!
I also love to meditate in my backyard. It definitely helps to slow things down!
(No backyard? No problem. If you’re in an apartment and you have a balcony, you can have a lazy oasis out there too. At one point when we lived in a fourth floor apartment, we had a small inflatable pool that I filled with a big pot carrying water back and forth from the kitchen – the kids sat in it and I put my feet in it while reading at my little bistro table set. And if you don’t even have a balcony, pack up some essentials and head to the nearest park. You probably can’t bring the cocktail unless you’re really sneaky but you CAN pack up that picnic and just spend a few hours in the shade of a big tree.)
Hit the water!
And yes, I do think you need to stay hydrated too (especially if you want something with a bit of alcohol in it later – drink lots of water first!). But what I really mean is get your whole body IN to some water. I will swim just about anywhere – pools, lakes, the ocean. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I love the ocean-side beaches that surround my city, but the water can be cold and the waves make actual swimming a challenge. That’s what will send me to the lake instead where it’s easier to get in because it’s warmer and not as rough. And then other days I really will hit up the local pool and splash around in the chlorine instead. As long as I am refreshing myself in some water, I’m happy. Hygge = comfort and for me water = comfort. (And honestly, sometimes even a cool bath or shower will do when none of the other options are available to me!)
I just kind of find I’m still like a toddler – when a toddler gets cranky or overheated, you can pop them in a bath and they cool down and become happy. I’m much the same way. I can’t be cranky when I’m floating or wading in the water. Find out what swimming options are available near you!
Those are some of my Summer Hygge Vibe ideas.
What about you? What are some of your favorite ways to bring a little bit of the “cozy” we long for in the winter into the hot summer months?