HYGGE at Hendrix

Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) Week made its first-ever campus appearance last year. It reappeared for a second time on Nov. 12-15. The week included a movie screening, free depression and anxiety screenings, a studying/coloring session, reading and poetry-writing sessions, and a nice hike along the Hendrix Creek Preserve.

“People really do want to see a push for more talking about well-being, talking about mental health, and talking about mental illness,” Junior Zach Gray, a member of the Hendrix Well-Being Coalition, said.

Hygge is a Danish word that suggests coziness, comfortable togetherness, wellness, and contentment. It gained popularity after Meik Wiking published The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, which provides tips on how to incorporate hygge in to daily life.

“I personally hope that [students] learn more about hygge and how to incorporate it into their lives,” Junior Hannah Henderson said. “People forget to appreciate the simple things and how important it is to curl up in a blanket with tea or hot cocoa and be with friends.”

The past two years, Hygge Week has arrived as the semester nears its end, finals approach, and students’ stress levels rise.

“We pick this week because it’s the week right before Thanksgiving, and I know that a lot of people get stressed out going back to family sometimes, and it’s right before finals,” Henderson said. “It’s a good time to just come back to coziness.”

Dr. Lindsay Kennedy helped conceive of Hygge Week but insists that the program is completely student-run.

“The Well-Being Coalition’s general purpose is to promote people thinking about their own well-being and to coordinate well-being programs across campus,” Kennedy said.

Director of Counseling Services Dr. Mary Anne Seibert encourages students to understand that stress and anxiety are parts of academic life but that help is available to students who have trouble managing stress.  

“It is really important to remind ourselves to take care of ourselves,” Seibert said. “Hygge Week is all about nurturing yourself, taking some time to focus on your well-being, and recognizing that we put so many demands on ourselves. We can identify our sources of stress, try to minimize them, and do our best to manage stress with self-care.”

A major focus of Hygge Week is redefining happiness. There’s a misconception that happiness means being constantly happy, and people often try to force themselves into happiness.

“People seem to think the only way to be happy is to get material things. Those things will make you happy, but definitely not in the long run,” Gray said. “Incorporating these little things like drinking a hot cup of tea—that will make you happy in that moment. As long as you keep doing that, your happiness can increase over time.”

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