Why Hygge? (pronounced: Hoo-gah)

My husband and I have always loved words in other languages that don’t have a single word translation in English. To us they have a significance in the culture of origin important enough to develop into a word, and are often concepts we do not give enough value to. I think it started with the Italian word la passeggiata, meaning an evening stroll to walk and socialize.

Another word that comes to mind is the Hawaiian word Pana Po’o, meaning to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten like, “where did I put my phone?” Now there is a word that could be used often in my house! My husband wants to create a word that means the joy a host feels when pouring extra full glasses of wine for guests, but we are still working on that.

In Maine, maybe more than other parts of the country, the word Hygge could easily be adopted. Hygge is a Danish word which can be loosely translated to English as the concept of winter coziness. Hygge does not have a direct translation because the concept has developed within the Danish culture and its meaning is somewhat fluid and different to everyone. To me Hygge means creating an atmosphere on a cold winter day that kindles the feeling of contentment and coziness. Hygge emphasizes atmosphere, presence, togetherness, comfort, and pleasure over material things.

At this island retreat time will slow down and the flow of the day will be simplified. Inside the warm cozy inn guests will admire the beauty of the cold gray ocean as it meets the salty air. Lying on a warm yoga mat next to a fire it will be ok to let go and begin to breathe deeper. There will be no where else you need to be in that moment surrounded by the simplicity of the island. The menu designed by the chef at the inn will be warm and comforting but light and healthy. You do not need to cook or wash, but just to sit and enjoy. During the transition from day to evening guests will enjoy massage and aromatherapy foot soaks as they sip wine and laugh.

This is the atmosphere of our March retreat at the quintessential coastal Inn on Peaks Island. The goal of this weekend is to leave all stress on the mainland while cruising over to the island for relaxation and rejuvenation. I could not think of a better descriptor word when creating a title for the retreat aside from Hygge. I am now learning that thanks to the New York Times best selling book “The Little Book of Hygge”  and a song in the Frozen musical, Hygge is gaining popularity. Maybe we will add it to our vocabulary after all!

What do you fill winters with for Hygge? Grab a friend and join us on Peaks Island March 6-8 to experience everything Hygge.

Dr. Meghan Schoening

Wellness expert + Chiropractor + Nutrition

Dr. Meghan is a Doctor of Chiropractic who follows her love for nutrition and health to bring practical advice to you. Dr. Meghan feels fortunate that she was raised going to the Chiropractor and living a fairly “balanced” lifestyle. She learned at a very young age the philosophy of wellness; to trust the body, feed it nutrients and balance the mind. Dr. Meghan knew she wanted to be a Chiropractor even as a child and set off to college pursuing that passion.

 Photo credit: Stella Rose
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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