What’s Hygge got to do with your divorce?


date published

3rd December 2021

written by

Emma Heptonstall

Emmaheptonstall.com Image

date published

3rd December 2021

What’s Hygge got to do with your divorce?

About five years ago the Danish concept of Hygge took the country by storm. Candle sales went through the roof. We all got very into cosy jumpers. And as we enter winter and the frenzied pre-Christmas period, it seems timely to reflect on the concept. So, what’s Hygge got to do with your divorce? 


What is Hygge anyway?

Just in case the phenomenon passed you by, or you need a refresher, here are your Hygge basics. It’s a Danish word – but more than a word, it’s intended to evoke a way of being. Its origins are in a 16th century Norwegian word ‘Hugga’ meaning ‘to comfort’ or ‘to console’. 


Scandinavian winters are dark, cold and long. They need an antidote. And that antidote is Hygge. Leaning into the cosy. Pictures of Hygge scenes often include snuggly blankets, soft candle light, hours spent in front of a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. Fortifying yourself against the freezing, stormy weather.


Other elements of a Hygge lifestyle aren’t about things. They’re about what you do – about taking walks in the wild outside, and warming up afterwards. Or meeting up with friends over food. Or trying your hand at some craft or art project. All in all Hygge is about focussing on small things that bring us comfort. We can do this all year round, of course. But it feels especially important in winter. 


What does it mean for you now?

So what can Hygge do for you? Candles are all very well – they smell nice and make your room flicker with soothing light. But this is a divorce blog, not an interior design one. What’s Hygge got to do with your divorce? 

At the heart of Hygge is the concept of slowing down. It’s forced on the Scandinavians to some degree by the weather. But for many of us, winter is no longer a time to slow down. Indeed, before Christmas, our plates get fuller (and not just with mince pies). There’s all the Christmas cards, presents, visits to plan for, as well as juggling work and home deadlines.

But we can’t go go go all the time. I know I spend a lot of time telling you it’s important to be CEO of your divorce. To look reality in the eye and take the reins. And this is important. But part of taking the reins is knowing when to slow down. Or switch off completely. 

And that’s why Hygge is important for you. Not just because it’s cold outside, or because you’d love to bag a nordic jumper. 


Author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection Louisa Thomsen, Brits gets to the crux of what Hygge’s all about. She writes that Hygge is ‘a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life.’


And when you’re in the middle of divorce, no-one can argue that you’re in the middle of ‘very real life’. And that can get heavy. Sometimes you need a sanctuary. Or you’ll find yourself burnt out.  


How to have a hyggelig divorce


1. Retreat regularly

You don’t have to be in divorce mode all of the time. You will be able to tackle your divorce with more strength and wisdom if you retreat and take breaks. So schedule in some time off. Every week – make sure you do something just for yourself. Join an art class, or go for a walk with a friend. And you can introduce Hygge to your life every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Put your phone in another room, get a blanket and your favourite book, or call a trusted friend, and switch off. Your divorce can wait. 



2. Do everything Hygge-style

Just because the tasks aren’t particularly pleasant, it doesn’t mean everything has to feel heavy. Yes, it’s important to get organised. But imagine how much more welcoming that task is if you have new stationery and a cosy space to keep your files. Perhaps with some uplifting postcards or affirmations to remind you that you’ve got this. A special mug that you drink your tea out of when you’re cracking on with the research, sorting and decision-making. So embrace your divorce admin with a Hygge-spirit. Focus on the small details that gladden your heart, make your space your own. And you’ll feel a lot better about giving your time to the task.


3. Remember your vision

Whenever my clients have a wobble I invite them to remember what they are doing this for. What do you want your future to hold? Think about your post-divorce life and what you want from that. Picture the scene – as Hyggelig as you like. Blankets, candles, books of your choosing. Spending time doing things that bring you joy, with people you love. Time for yourself to be you again. To feel comforted and consoled. To return to the you who’s had her spirit crushed by an unhealthy marriage. 


Feel calm about your divorce this Christmas

Stepping into that calm, Hygge feeling can be easier said than done. It can feel too great a leap when you’re overwhelmed with all the uncertainties and stresses of divorce. 


That’s where I come in. When you work one-to-one with me you’ll find your stresses dissolve. Will you have less to do? Maybe – we can work out what’s necessary and what isn’t, and you may be pleasantly surprised. Maybe you’ll have more tasks to work through once we’ve spoken. But it won’t matter. You’ll definitely feel calmer, and comforted, by knowing you have a plan you can trust. Not a plan that I give you. A plan that we create together – one that you’re in charge of and that works for you. 


My diary is open for a few 1:1 client sessions this December, and into January. So give yourself the greatest gift of all. That sense of calm knowing that it’s all in hand. That comfort of having confidence in your future direction and how you’re going get there. 


If you need a Hyggelig dose of sanctuary from stress and worry as you divorce, just book your chat today.


About Emma

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the author of the Amazon best-selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of  The Six Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com


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