Have You “Hurkle-Durkled” Lately?

If you happen to be a fan of TikTok, then you may have been introduced to the ancient art of “hurkle-durkle.” A quick Google search of the term brings up recent stories on the subject by the New York Times, Huffington Post, and others.  Since I enjoy learning about new fun sounding phrases, I looked into what it was all about. And then I realized, “nah, this ain’t nothing new.”

Read on.

I, like my mother before me, had a Saturday morning ritual. We called it “bed lounging.” With a week’s office work and commuting behind us, or when the family’s alarms were turned off for the weekend, there was no pressing place to be.  My mother would linger in bed for that extra half hour, and like me, do nothing in particular. Thinking about this or thinking about that.  For me, I may let my mind go free and list the countries I’d like to visit, or weigh the option of painting the living room, or even something as mindless as whether or not the crack in the ceiling looks just like the Mississippi River. Though both she and I still opened our eyes not long after sunup, maybe 7:30 – 8 a.m., the joy of turning over, pulling the cover up tighter to delay the start of the day was too good to pass up. We knew that our day would start eventually, but just not now, maybe in another 20 minutes. 25 tops. For after all, the pot of coffee would not brew by itself.

Little did we know that we were actually performing what is being bandied about these days as an art, ancient or otherwise. The term “hurkle-durkle,” has origins in Scotland, and the first reference was noticed around the early 1800’s.  As Real Simple explains in their online story (January 2024), the term is roughly translated into “drawing the body together.” Over time, it has been modernized to mean “lounging in bed long after it’s time to get up.”

You get the idea.

For my mother and I, we never did this “hurkle-durkle” thing for long because we had kids, first of all, and also a healthy sense of duty and a list of chores to get to.  We also knew that going past the second hour of this “hurkle-durkling” may come back to haunt us when our kids thought they’d try to pull this on a school morning.

The activity continues to generate a lot of social media buzz for its health benefits as well – something I wish I’d known all those years ago when guilt would wash over me on those Saturday mornings as I searched for another cold spot on the pillow tucked into a fetal position until 9, maybe 9:30 a.m.  It used to be that we were told to make the most of every moment, and that laying around meant we were lazy, which could lead to family bickering and more strife and stress. However, one licensed clinical social worker noted in a recent story that putting rest first and delaying the start of the day can be a way to recharge and provide much needed TLC to our mental health. Setting a slower pace in the morning can create a more peaceful afternoon and evening. The idea of doing “nothing” was joked about as a Seinfeld philosophy, but as Psychology Today points out, it can improve mental and physical health, lower blood pressure, relax skeletal muscles, and sharpen our focus. So, I’m liking these international terms for putting more “nothing” into our day.

 Another term I’m eager to try, as well as learn to pronounce is “hygge,” (pronounced “hooga”). This one is from Denmark, and dates back to the 1800’s as well, and it means to take time away from the daily rush to be with those you love, to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures or “cozy contentment.” The Danes have even gone so far as to label the style of sweat pant to wear in so doing.  They refer to it as “hyuggebukser,” which means pants you’d never want to be seen in public with, but which are perfectly fine for binge-watching the latest Netflix series.

I think we Americans can take a lesson from these other countries, and their knack for creating adorable sounding terms for activities that encourage rest and relaxation. We haven’t fared so well in one of our new activities, though it does have a fun-sounding word. This one, however, brings on more stress and feelings of low self-esteem.

Yes, I’m talking about “Wordle.”

Top photo: Bigstock

About MJ Hanley-Goff (169 Articles)
MJ Hanley-Goff has been contributing to Woman Around Town since its inception in 2009. She began her career at Newsday in the early 90’s and has continued writing professionally for other New York publications like the Times Herald-Record, Orange Magazine, and Hudson Valley magazine. Former editor of Hudson Valley Parent magazine, she also contributed stories to AAA’s Car & Travel, and Tri-County Woman. After completing her novel and a self-help book, she created MJWRITES, INC. to offer writing workshops and book coaching to first time authors, and also college essay writing help to students. MJ has recently made St. Augustine, Florida her home base, and is thrilled and honored to continue to write for WAT and the amazing adventures it offers. Despite the new zip code, MJ will continue to keep a pulse on New York events, but will continue to focus on the creative thinkers, doers, and artists wherever they are.