Dogs: they’re the epitome of happiness, cosiness and contentment. When it comes to living a ‘hygge’ lifestyle, dogs have pretty much got it covered. From dog naps in the perfect sun spot, to an evening curled up by the fireplace, we humans could probably learn a thing or two from our four-legged pals. But, what does it actually mean to be ‘hygge’?
In case you haven't come across the term before, hygge is a Danish concept. It's a hard phrase to translate to English, but is defined as ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’. Essentially, it’s all about savouring the simple things that make life wonderful. Staying at home; keeping warm, cosy, and relaxed; spending time with those that you love. That’s hygge.
Dogs really do make the perfect hygge partners, and with the cold, winter nights well on their way, now’s the perfect time to learn how to hygge with your pet. Here are 5 ways to get you started this winter...
1. Have a cosy night in
Take a night off, grab some blankets — and get cosy! Spending time with those you love (aka, your dog) is a key principle of hygge. So, schedule yourself a night in, pop on a movie, grab yourself a blanket and invite your pup for a cuddle and a stroke on the sofa. As well as releasing all those feel-good endorphins (for you, and your dog), studies show that stroking a pet can actually lower your stress levels in as little as ten minutes. It even helps to reduce your blood pressure.
2. Curl up by the fireplace
Who doesn't love the comforting warmth and crackle of a fire? Now that the colder nights are approaching, cosying up by a fireplace is a great activity you can do with your pet in tow. If you don't have a fireplace, don't worry — simply fill your home with candles for that equally cosy atmosphere (we'd suggest opting for flameless LED candles, which are safer if you have pets around). What better way to spend an evening, especially after a long day of walkies. And on that note…
3. Head out for a winter walk
The temperatures might be dropping, but it's nothing your cosiest, comfiest winter clothing can’t handle. There’s nothing quite like a hit of crisp, fresh air and the great outdoors, and going for a long winter walk is a great way for you and your pup to bond, allowing you to clear your mind while your dog gets some exercise in.
4. Cook up something delicious
Eating healthily and wholesomely is a staple of how to hygge. Make yourself a homecooked meal, while whipping up your pooch an equally delicious, homemade dog treat. After all, you'll both need to replenish those energy levels after all that walking and running around...
4. Switch off, and relax
We already know pets are happiest when they're at home, so take a leaf out of their book and take some time to really switch off. This means shutting down the laptop, your phone, and anything else that might otherwise ping, ring or ding. Observe your dog (they are natural hygge-ists, after all) and notice how they just allow themselves to 'be'. Remember, hygge is all about being present in the moment, doing whatever it is that makes you both happy.