More people than ever are working from home now. Even those naturally introverted are experiencing greater levels of isolation. If COVID-19 has reminded us of anything, it’s that during this time of social distancing, our attitude needs to be one of opportunity.
One which honors the importance of basic comforts and joy; one which reprieves from the bite of ongoing worries. We can stay strong by taking pleasure in simple things; with the right intent (see ‘hygge’ below), we maximize our sense of well-being and calm in these trying times.
Hygge From Home: Work Made Comfy
City and state ordinances are being implemented nationwide to close public spaces (restaurants, gyms), some areas now with a curfew. Among other challenges, people are transitioning to a work-from-home routine.
At least, we all are (should be) spending extra time indoors. The chance to literally ‘feel at home’ more than usual –– why not ‘hygge’ the best of it? Besides, as the emotional atmosphere is a strange blend of panic, boredom, and annoyance –– it’s no better time to see how hygge can help quell those feelings.
What is Hygge?
Similar to the German concept, gemütlichkeit, and the Dutch idea, gezelligheid, the warm and cozy lifestyle that hygge promotes has been a key part of Danish culture since the early 1800s.
The word ‘hygge’ (HOOG-AH) first appeared in writing as a relative of the Norwegian word for "well-being". Despite Denmark’s infamously miserable winters, this national obsession with ‘all things cozy’ is credited as one of the reasons they consistently rank top of the list in global happiness.
The Danish have an innate understanding of hygge, but it roughly translates to a sense of mindfulness, safety, enjoyment, and lack of worry. It's not something you can buy, although you might see it as a trendy product tagline.
Practicing Hygge during COVID-19
Literally to feel ‘at home’, it’s also been called ‘mindfulness wrapped in a blanket’. Might it be the missing link to keep you a functioning member of society during quarantine?
Right now, we want to feel alive without leaving the house. Hygge is like an antidote to uneasy feelings of restlessness. Anyone with an uptick in their home hours due to COVID-19 should give it a try.
And although it’s a year-round trick, your ‘work-at-home’ transition will benefit right away; coziness levels will blend into regular home activities too!
Hygge for Quarantine
In Denmark, hygge is already playing a massive advantage as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We should take note, and perhaps the most timely way of doing so is by setting up a hygge workstation.
You’ll find it helps to stay productive (and happy) as we better manage our way through social distancing. Making our living space feel more hygge can help us bring out that flowstate and feel productive at work, right from home.
Feeling Hygge Working from Home
Moving into an indefinite work-from-home situation is having a bittersweet effect for many people right now. The blurred line between work and personal life may be especially tough.
Here, we review some hygge-friendly ways to maximize comfort levels, without sacrificing productivity. Note: these tips will keep you feeling cozy, long after working hours.
Using the Senses: Hygge at Home
Simple changes to your living space will gently soothe the senses. Not only making the work-from-home transition easier, but adding all-around comfort during this homebound time.
SCENT - Unlike the average office, you have more control over the use of aromatics within your own home. Take advantage of uplifted focus and conscious outlook by use of candles, incense, and other pleasant aromatics.
SOUND - Another way of upping your sense of hygge is with sound. We have more agency over our home than most everywhere else (including work), so why not play what’s pleasant to the ears? Favorite music and ambient sound are fair game.
MATCHA STATION - Taste is an essential sense, and who doesn’t like the flavor of superior matcha tea while they work? As you keep it hygge during isolation, consider dedicating some counter space to your matcha accessories. Taking a break and refueling will be that much easier, and matcha’s umami flavor will keep your mind clear.
MORE GREEN - Matcha isn’t the only green we need. It’s reported that the visual effect of being in nature improves wellbeing, and may even combat depression. As you distance yourself, bring more plants and succulents into your home (and workspace).
Pace yourself throughout the day and dedicate time to caring for them; it’ll take the edge off of this transition period. If you have a garden or outside space, all the better!
LAYERS - As we stay home as much as possible, layering up (or down) can keep our sense of touch hygge. Stay warm and balanced with just the right amount of blankets or comfy clothing. Unlike the office which is rarely an ideal temperature, this is one area we have extra flexibility by working from home.
Hygge for Productivity
If the #workfromhome movement applies directly to you due to COVID-19, then pay special attention to these productivity tips. Inspired directly from hygge:
CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT WISELY
If you’re inspired to use hygge to keep your work hustle flowing, then don’t skimp on the lighting. Bring as much natural light in during the day, and accent those later hours (or cloudy days) with candlelight or warm lamps. And just because we’re practicing social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t step outside for good old-fashioned sunshine. You need it.
TIDY UP TO BOOST HYGGE
If you’re new to working from home, tidying up and staying organized are essential to staying productive. And even more critical to achieving that sense of hygge. Start the transition off on the right foot by cleaning and putting things away.
Keep a basket by your makeshift ‘office space’ to stay on top of clutter. As you’ll be both living and working in your home, also be sure to stay ahead with regular, weekly cleaning.
As it happens, part of the definition of hygge is a sense of conviviality, a quality of being friendly and lively. So, if your typical work environment is fast paced, social, and filled with ambient conversation, you might find it tough to concentrate without that hygge surround while at home.
You might consider playing ambient noise or your favorite podcast(s) through some background speakers. There’s also audio tracks on YouTube which mimic a busy social environment to help you focus.
If you’re the type to rely on the social interaction of coworkers, or if you especially enjoy lunch breaks with your team, try a virtual board game. That is, if staff is keeping the same schedule as usual.
Remember, it wouldn’t be hygge without that sense of community. You could also try a Zoom conference for your regularly scheduled matcha break.
SPACE FITTED TO DIFFERENT TASKS
To feel hygge is to have choices in where and how you work. If the type of work you do varies throughout the day, consider setting up a couple designated workspace nooks inside your house.
You can reflect the progression of a normal workday by keeping the same habits of break times and other work comforts. Also, if you’re regularly stuck inside all day at the office, this is a perfect opportunity to set up an outdoors work desk!
END OF DAY RITUAL
If you’re to find success using hygge to improve your new work-from-home lifestyle, it’s essential to set boundaries with your personal, ‘at-home’ life. One way of enforcing separation between the two is with an End of Day (EOD) ritual.
Many offices have a meeting to close out the day, and certainly, the commute home usually does well to keep things separate. So, without these regular means it’s important that we practice intent.
Try implementing a mental and physical practice to distance from your work persona at the end of the professional day. Cross off tasks you completed, close your notebooks, and take a moment to pat yourself for a day well done. Step outside and practice digital detox. Whatever you have to do.
Hygge for Everyone
You don’t have to be Danish to experience hygge lifestyle. And ‘leveling up’ your hygge status might just be the silver lining of COVID-19. If not simply finding a more experience-proven work life balance. Remember, compared to happier countries like Denmark, we already experience higher levels of isolation, and poor mental health management.
Already with less of those healthy (essential) habits, social distancing and indefinite ‘work-from-home’ setups now are adding to that dynamic. All the more reason we should give thought to hygge.
The Bottom Line
Hygge is all about keeping things simple, but it also encourages people to live a little and say yes to that extra piece of cake. It's a great time to embrace family, take some time off (or at least make it feel like it), and make an effort to enjoy those homely comforts.
Don’t forget that one translation for hygge is "Creating joy in daily rituals." Here at Matcha HQ, the daily ritual of Matcha is a grounding practice of hygge, and core to our wellbeing and optimism.
UPDATING YOU: MATCHA AND COVID-19
Our tea farm is carrying on without delays. This time of year is where the preparation for Spring harvest happens. Everyone at the tea farm is healthy, and practicing all recommended safety guidelines. And we already have a backup supply on the way to cater to this time of diverse matcha needs.
However, with matcha on the frontlines of our community’s immune boosting repertoire, supply is hard to guarantee. We’re also not sure how the next few weeks will unfold in regards to postal carriers.
If you’re erring on the side of caution with your daily matcha ritual, you can shop all available stock here.
We’re also doing everything possible on our end to keep things running smoothly. And we feel incredibly grateful to have our exclusive relationship with our proactive, and dedicated tea farmers.
We’re prepared for those who wish to stock up, and currently there are no imminent closures to delivery services.