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5 Ways to Hygge While at College

Here’s how to find your inner hygge – you’ll thank me later!

This is an image of two cozy socks and a warm mug of tea, with steam, trailing from it. The picture epitomises the coziness that hygge encapsulates
Credit: New York Times/Valentyn Volkov

Are you determined to romanticize fall but hindered by a distaste for the cold and stress it conjures? Let me help you find your inner coziness with hygge:

If you’re anything like me, even though you may love fall in theory – the warm sweaters, rewatching Gilmore Girls, and blaring Red (Taylor’s Version), – you find the transition into the colder months somewhat difficult. Perhaps it’s the 4 p.m. sunsets, but despite the beauty of fallen leaves, I can’t help but think about the gloom of summer ending.

To help you with this seasonal transition, I will consider how the Danish principles of hygge can be applied to college life. 

“Hoo-guh” is perhaps best epitomized as a feeling: a warming tea, a hot and steamy bath, a cozy blanket with a velvety hot chocolate, or a candlelit potluck with friends.

Ultimately, hygge is the principle that underpins these wholesome vignettes. It is the philosophy of comfort that enables us to feel content.

While I am not Danish, I have done my fair share of hygge research, and I believe I can advise you on how to practice it in the university setting.

1. Hygge Outside the House

To properly practice hygge, you must establish a comfortable environment. If this triggers an eye roll – perhaps your uni dorm is laughably small, or your flatmates are notorious for leaving the kitchen in a state – do not fret! 

Your environment is not just your living situation. It is where you work, learn, eat, socialize, etc. If you’re living in a uni town or big city, you likely have a myriad of hygge-esque spots at your disposal.

2. Ditch the Brutalist Architecture

If you’re unlucky (like me) and the main library at your university is a brutalist block, you’ll need to switch up your study routine. As the dark and daunting nights of the first semester approach and deadlines near, it is easy to find yourself swimming in a sea of stress.

To ameliorate and destress studying, make it a mission to find cozy, aesthetically pleasing study spots. Keep a lookout for comforting cafes and warmly lit university spaces; this will ensure that you’re both snug and productive. 

The music we listen to while studying can equally impact our well-being. Though it’s easy to get lost in sad-girl fall music, listening to ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version)’ on repeat, these small choices can hinder us from practicing hygge. 

To feel completely cozy and content, consider swapping the sonorously sad ballads of Red (Taylor’s Version) and try some fall jazz.

Movie soundtracks, too, make for the perfect fall study sounds. The Little Women or The Fantastic Mr. Fox soundtracks in particular!

3. Support for the “Sweet Treat” Mentality

Practicing hygge ultimately boils down to some of our most overlooked decisions. Choosing comforting and nourishing foods is one of the best ways to implement hygge into your daily life easily. 

Warm soups and mugs of tea are a must. But don’t let this deter you from hot chocolates and pastries — allow yourself to indulge with “little treats,” as TikTok would say.

Hygge ultimately encourages you to be kind to yourself, and one of the simplest ways to do so is through treating yourself with kindness and empathy.

Use food as a time to be slow, to put a pause on life’s incessant chatter and the email you’re already drafting in your head. Allow food to distract you – get excited about it! 

Try baking something for your friends and family. As you do so, allow yourself to get lost in the methodological acts of measuring, stirring, and kneading.

Do your best to be mindful. And if you struggle with this, even indulge in a passive distraction simultaneously, like watching Gilmore Girls.

And lastly, use food as a way to connect with others. Perhaps take the time to plan a fall potluck dinner party with your flatmates or friends, cherishing the memories you’ve made amidst the stressful semester.

4. Wholesome Homes & Hygge

Though our environment certainly spans far beyond our individual living situations, it is still important to make our bedrooms or flats as cozy as we can. This does not need to be elaborate; some candles and a warm throw blanket can make a world of difference.

However, if you’re interested in decorating your space, consider our guide to decorating your apartment this academic year.

Yet feeling wholesome in your home must start somewhere. Carve out time in your week to have a screenless, cozy night in:

First, take an “everything shower.”

Though it doesn’t have to be as elaborate, being thorough and methodical will allow you to feel present and connected with your body. Think about each step of your shower routine, and allow yourself to enjoy the process.

After this, light those candles, and make a mug of tea. 

This may seem mind-numbingly mundane, but trust me, the combination of the two procure indisputable comfort.

Lastly, read. Living in a digital age, with encroaching AI advancements and excessive screen time, it is crucial to take time to relax without technology. Rather than scrolling on TikTok, cozy up with a comforting fall book, and allow yourself to get lost in another world.

5. The Honest Truth About Hygge

Ultimately, despite my many suggestions, the secret to Danish happiness is practicing contentment. 

Hygge can only be achieved when we stop comparing ourselves to others, and this is a difficult feat. While we may flock towards the aesthetically pleasing, following TikToks that tell us to buy ‘this product,’ to ‘wear this thing,’ and to ‘live like this,’  remember that true comfort comes from within.

Without feeling comfortable in your individual situation and having the proper mindset, hygge will never work. 

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Written By

Hello! My name is Rhiannon Peacock and I am from Hingham, MA. I study in Scotland at the University of St Andrews, and do a Joint Honors Degree of English Literature and International Relations.

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