The secret to happiness? Not hygge or ikigai, it’s nunchi

Lifestyle

The secret to happiness? Not hygge or ikigai, it’s nunchi

Danish cosy living and Japanese purpose-searching are so 2018. Here’s what’s bubbling up in lifestyle trends

Michele Magwood

Stash the sheepskin throws and knobbly hand-knitted socks. Quench the candles, screw the lid onto the hot chocolate and let the log fire burn down. Hygge, the Danish lifestyle craze, is so over. Well, not for the Danes themselves, of course. They’ll just carry on being as hyggelig as they were long before a young British lifestyle writer happened upon the concept and put a match to it, blowing it into an industry of books, cinnamon-bun recipes and artisanal felt slippers.

Hygge, which translates as cosy and convivial, was hardly something new. Getting under a blanket and drinking mulled wine in winter was common sense, surely? And why would that alone bring you happiness, as was promised? Sure, Denmark is constantly at the top of the happiness league tables. Free healthcare and education and a strict 37-hour working week will do that for you, not a woolly mug warmer.

It was, as happens so often in publishing, all about the timing. It was the advent of Brexit and a disillusionment with globalisation, and hygge, with its comforts and throwback to homely traditions spoke of a kinder past, simple pleasures, community, safety. It promised refuge from mystifying times...

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