By Christopher Fernandez, Contributing Writer
There is a feeling of comfort that comes from the simplest things in life. Sometimes this is sitting with your roommates with ambient noise in the background while you all work on different assignments, while at other times this is the peace that comes from cozying up in a comfortable chair with a good book, a cup of coffee, and nobody else around. No matter where you find this peace, one thing is guaranteed: you are experiencing Hygge.
Paul Worrell, the Reference and Instruction Librarian at McKendree University, gave a Brown Bag presentation on Hygge. In his presentation, he showcased several different actions that he thought displayed the feelings of Hygge and let audience members interact with the group to share things that gave them a feeling of Hygge. A large portion of the ideas were dedicated to ways of making areas more comfortable much like the recent upgrades that were put into the library, which features a more panoptical design.
“People want to be watched and kept accountable,” said Paul when talking about why people choose to work close to each other. He then recounted stories of watching a single student sit at a table that could have been meant for six students and spread all of their work out and how another individual would often join the table and do the same. The feeling of camaraderie and the peace that comes with being around others with similar goals is “TopHygge (The best Hygge).”
The library staff has been implementing multiple aspects of Hygge to help better people’s use of the space. They have updated the upstairs lounge area, begun providing reading lists, and have hosted multiple events as a way to build the connection that helps Hygge to thrive. The idea is to promote all of the ideas that are seen in the Hygge Manifesto as a part of the book, The Little Book of Hygge.
To Paul, “Hygge is a sense of togetherness and connection with others that’s grounded in comfort and coziness and nostalgia.” The idea of being surrounded by others when doing even the most mundane tasks helps to make things more comfortable, almost like it’s simply peace by presence.
“I don’t know if I’ve tried to embrace Hygge but since learning about it I’ve tried to be more forgiving with myself. It’s very Hygge to be able to forgive as well as show gratitude,” responded Paul when asked about changes he’s seen since embracing Hygge. While he may not have embraced the idea he did help to show that in everyday life we all experience Hygge, even if we did not know the word before.
Editor’s Note: Please feel free to share how you experience Hygge by leaving a comment. What else can McKendree incorporate to foster more Hygge?