Forget Hygge: 2017 Is The Year of Lagom
The Debrief: I know, we’d only just learnt how to pronounce it too.
Last year the Danes introduced us to hygge – the ritual of finding enjoyment in life’s simple pleasures and indulging in their comfort, contentment and cosiness. Not that we needed an excuse to buy another throw, crawl under it and do nothing; but, boy did we lap it up. Unfortunately, apart from being bloody expensive, (Cue Mother: ‘You spent how much on a candle?!’) hygge was essentially temporary. While lounging around under a faux fur blanket was lovely – and made for an excellent instapic – the time was always going to come for us to emerge from our reading nook, take off our cashmere cardigan and return to the stresses of normal life like every bugger else.
But alas, those clever Scandinavians have introduced a new life-altering trend; Lagom. Lagom is a Swedish concept; simple to embrace, good for the planet and – it won’t break the bank. Where do we sign up?
Derived from the Swedish proverb ‘lagom är bäst’ which translates as ‘the right amount is best’, lagom is an ethos of moderation and balance. It is taking only what you need from the planet, without having to sacrifice the things you love and it aims to make our lives easier, cheaper and more enjoyable.
Raised in a Western world of inescapable mass-consumerism, the word enough, for many of us, holds negative connotations: the idea of juuuust scraping by. For the Swedish, enough carries the connotation of appropriateness; of being just right. And it is definitely working for them. Sweden came tenth in the World Happiness Report 2016 while the UK dropped two places to a miserable 23rd.
Right so now we know what it is, how do we do it?
How to be Lagom:
Be More Aware of Your Spending Habits
If, like me, you use your hand to cover your remaining bank balance display when getting money out of the ATM, then listen up! When living lagom, you should be on top of your finances. So check your last statement: Did you get paid right last month? Did your sister reeeeaaaally put that fiver you leant her into your bank account? Are you still paying for your ex’s Netflix subscription? Knowing and understanding your in-goings and outgoings will allow you to keep on top of them.
Monitor Your Environmental Impact
Without trying to sound like your mum, do you really need all those lights on?!!! There are plenty of ways to monitor your environmental impact: preparing meals ahead to cut down on food waste, turning down the central heating, reusing those 5p carrier bags that are piling up under the sink instead of constantly having to buy new ones…
Maintaining good energy-saving habits will leave you with more money to spend on the things you enjoy. It is also very, very good for the planet.
Don’t Let Your Work Overtake Your Life
While an introduction of the 6-hour work day enjoyed by a number of Swedish companies is highly unlikely, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate lagom into our work lives. Enjoy your lunch break; go for a walk or grab coffee with a friend instead of eating lunch sat over your desk or maybe, turn off the email notifications on your phone once you’ve finished work. They will still be there in the morning and you will be able to truly relax and enjoy your rest time.
Accept That Things Are Good Enough
While Instagram may have you believe that everyone out there is richer, better looking and more successful than you, truth is; there not. Accepting that, although Kylie Jenner’s house has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a refrigerated wine cellar; your rented flat has enough room for you and your growing puffa jacket collection and looks pretty cute under the synthetic shimmer of cheap fairy lights, is the first step in the right direction.
So here’s to 2017: the year of lagom. Time to banish your unrealistic expectations, channel your inner Goldilocks and find the balance that is just right.
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating