The team here at Masiello Employment thought we’d take this week’s blog into a fun new direction and share our favorite ways to squeeze some comfort into your work day. After all, most of us spend most our life at work, so why not make it the best experience we possibly can? Taking a cue form the Danish, we’d like to introduce a concept known as Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), the Danish obsession with getting cozy.

We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about hygge, which the Danes loosely translate as “embracing coziness to attain happiness.” Need an example? A perfect hygge evening could be snuggling up under a blanket with your true love beside a crackling fire, your four-legged friends at your feet. And in a long New England winter there are plenty of opportunities to bring a little hygge into your life. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Healthy Lunch & Snacks: Ripping into a candy bar might trigger your brain’s pleasure center for a moment, but that euphoria won’t last long; instead enjoy lunch and snacks that you truly enjoy that just happen to be good for you—take a look at last week’s blog when we shared our Top 9 Super Snacks.

Cashmere: Thanks to bargain retailers like Marshalls, cashmere is now an affordable luxury, especially at this time of year when winter products are moved to clearance and reduced in price—wear a cashmere sweater or socks and take time during the day to appreciate the simple pleasure of warm softness. For men and women working outdoors, Carhartt may make a cashmere Hoodie, and if not, they should! 

Music: If you can work while wearing headphones, or if you occasionally get to control the tunes that play on the office radio, develop a ‘chill’ hygge playlist or burn a CD of soothing songs—for an individual playlist, choose only your absolute favorite, make-you-happy songs; for a “colleagues CD”, ask each co-worker to name their favorite uplifting song and then burn a CD that includes them all (imagine all the coworker smiles in advance).

Light: If you can, have that healthy lunch or snack by a bright window or, better yet, take it outside to soak in some of the sun’s rays—this is certainly important in winter as reduced sun exposure leads to low levels of Vitamin D – particularly here in New England – and raises the risk for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder or Depression. 

Hand Cream: Stash a travel-size container of hand cream in your back pocket (or desk drawer if you have one) and treat your tired, dry hands to its soothing balm often during the work day—try to use a dab of hand cream every time you wash your hands, which is especially drying in winter O’Keeffe’s makes a great, odor free product that works minor miracles on dry, cracking skin. 

Plants & Personalization: If you have a desk at work, add a bit of nature with a low-maintenance plant and add a bit of home with family photos and (just a few!) knickknacks—when it comes to a plant, make sure it’s the right kind to thrive in the light conditions of your office.

Socialize: We’re not suggesting you whittle away the work day hours chatting with friendly co-workers, but we do think it’s a good idea to take a moment (while stamping your time card or filling up your coffee mug) to exchange pleasantries and maybe even a joke or two—laughing is very hygge, of course! 

You know what else is hygge? Not keeping good ideas like this to yourself! So share this insight with everyone you know who might need a few simple, affordable ways to boost your happy at work and make each day just a little more special.