Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 12 months, the Danish word Hygge is likely to have entered your consciousness. In the run-up to Christmas last year you could barely open a magazine or log onto Instagram without seeing another article or post extolling the virtues of ‘Hygge’. A quick search on Amazon uncovers a plethora of books on the subject – from self help manuals telling us ‘How to Hygge’ to cookbooks, knitting guides and even ‘cosy’ colouring books – all published since September last year. Roughly translated as ‘cosiness’, Hygge refers to a Danish way of life that embraces simple pleasures such as a walk through the woods and time spent with friends and family. As soon as it arrived on British shores, however, the concept was quickly pounced upon by opportunistic marketers and snowballed to include scented candles, sheepskin throws, cashmere jumpers and cups of hot chocolate or mulled wine (ideally sipped in front of a roaring log fire).
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the Hygge hype, fear not, there is a new Scandinavian lifestyle trend just around the corner. The Swedish concept of ‘Lagom’ is here to guide us through what has so far been a turbulent 2017. Meaning ‘sufficient, adequate or just enough’, lagom pervades just about every aspect of everyday life in Sweden and many see it as the one word that sums up the Swedish psyche. Balance and moderation are key to the concept of lagom, which can be applied to our eating, drinking, exercising and spending habits. Put in a different way, if Goldilocks spoke Swedish she would have pronounced Baby Bear’s porridge to be ‘lagom’.
While Hygge is all about chasing that blissful moment of contentment when you relax onto the crisp, newly laundered bed sheets with your book and cup of cocoa (after capturing the obligatory Instagram shot), lagom is more of a way of life and a concept that can easily be applied as we go through our daily routine. When it comes to food, for instance, lagom can mean planning your meals ahead of time so you buy the right amount of food that you need. Not only will this avoid food wastage, it also means an end to those days when you open the fridge door at 6pm to find just a lone onion rolling around in the vegetable drawer and a stale piece of cheese lurking on a shelf. Similarly, applying lagom to your wardrobe will probably involve going against the throwaway culture and following the ‘buy less, buy better’ philosophy. Sustainability sits at the very core of this concept so it is good for the environment as well as encouraging us to resist the urge to indulge every materialistic whim.
If you need further proof that lagom is here to stay, consider the fact that Swedish furniture giant Ikea has launched a Live LAGOM project that runs until December 31 this year. As part of the project Ikea has been running workshops that aim to encourage people to live more sustainable, healthy and cost-conscious lives by making small changes such as turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, switching to LED light bulbs and recycling more. To find out more and read about people who have incorporated the lagom principles into their lives, check out Ikea’s digital brochure Live Lagom: http://onlinecatalogue.ikea.com/GB/en/Live-Lagom-2017/pages/1