What Is Koselig? How to Incorporate This Norwegian Concept Into Your Life

Just when you were learning how to pronounce "hygge," there's a new Nordic concept for cozy, happy living this winter

You’ve likely heard or read about hygge, the Danish philosophy of living. Pronounced “hue-gah,” hygge is a lovely idea that emphasizes coziness, warmth, slowing down and enjoying small moments with friends and family. It caught on in large part because Denmark and other Nordic countries always top the list of the world’s happiest countries. Now, from Norway, comes another hard-to-pronounce concept for happy living that’s trending: koselig  (pronounced “koosh-lee”).

What is koselig?

The Norwegian concept of koselig is a sort of Scandinavian secret for beating seasonal depression and seasonal affective disorder. Koselig centers on accepting and embracing winter for what it is (i.e. cold, dark, etc.) rather than fixating on or being frustrated about what it isn’t (i.e. warm, sunny, etc.). It’s all about creating warmth from within and being rooted in experiencing the present, rather than the warmer months in the future.

“Think roaring fires and chunky blankets. Steaming-hot coffee and good friends to drink it with. Walking your dogs across a vista of snow-covered trees,” suggests the Cleveland Clinic’s wellness site. “Koselig is about the simple pleasure of sharing comfortable surroundings with the people you care about—celebrating what winter is, instead of longing for all the things it isn’t.”

What’s the difference between koselig and hygge?

Hygge is more of a cozy, indoor concept: think candles, fireplaces, blankets and slippers. Koselig is more about inner warmth, embracing the cold and gathering outside with warmly dressed people. It’s about putting on layers, a jacket, scarf and hat, and stepping outside to celebrate nature in winter. It’s about getting out and about, rather than staying wrapped under a blanket in bed.

How do I bring koselig into my life this winter?

Make peace with the weather

In Scandinavian countries, complaining about the weather doesn’t happen as much, a small cultural difference that can make a big impact on one’s mindset.

Avoid comparing yourself with others

Especially avoid comparing those posting sunny tropical vacation photos on social media. According to Cleveland Clinic clinical psychology Dawn Potter, wintertime blues often have less to do with the climate and more to do with comparison.

Get outside and keep moving

It can be hard to find motivation on cold days but prioritize getting outside and enjoying nature. “Plan ahead and figure out other ways to get physical activity and sunshine in your life,” says Potter. Also, the warmer you dress, the more you will enjoy being outdoors in winter. Don’t be too cool for a knit cap or gloves!

Know that koselig is a way to cope, not a cure

Seasonal affective disorder could be a sign of depression. If you believe you are experiencing depression, it’s important to speak with your doctor.


Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson is a Senior Writer at Reader’s Digest. He has covered travel, culture, food, and drinks for more than two decades, and is the author of three books on wine and spirits, including Godforsaken Grapes and Boozehound. He’s written for the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, and many other publications. He’s had a pizza, a breakfast sandwich, and a dessert named after him in three different countries.