Image: Read Lagom
We'd only just learned how to pronounce hygge (hue-gah) - the Danish word that basically translates to cosiness, that sold a lifestyle of hot chocolates, scented candles and layers and layers of blankets, throws and knitwear - but there's a new, younger, cooler Scandinavian lifestyle trend in town.
Enter 'Lagom', pronounced as you'd imagine. It's an overarching concept behind your life in general - rather than fitting it into your day like with hygge, it's more about your approach to life as a whole. It's simple to understand, good for the planet, and it won't break the bank. Where do we sign up?
Many of the common new year's resolutions people make, like saving more, being less stressed, indulging more in hobbies, are the foundations of living a lagom life. It translates loosely as 'just the right amount', coming from the Swedish proverb "lagom är bäst", which means 'the right amount is best' so really it's about creating balance and striving for moderation. The aim is to make your life easier, cheaper but still more enjoyable.
"This is a concept that’s been a part of the Swedish way of life for years and is the belief of not sacrificing what we want, while not taking more than what we need from the planet," say IKEA, who are championing the Swedish concept as part of their Live LAGOM campaign to encourage people live sustainably.
How do you achieve it? Start with your work/life balance. Many Swedish companies introduced a six-hour work day, which certainly helps, but in the absence of such a change here, there are plenty of other ways to achieve a better balance. Rather than dining al desko, take the time to enjoy your lunch, go for a walk or grab a coffee with a friend. Clock off as close to the actual time you should, and turn off email notifications once you've finished work - letting yourself actually relax and switch off is a big part of finding a balance.
It already feels like a very long way until January pay-day, so perhaps you're already very aware of your spending habits this month. When living lagom, being on top of your finances is one of the big things so avoiding your bank statements is a no-no. Lagom doesn't mean you can't indulge in the odd impulse purchase anymore, but it's about knowing and understanding your in-goings and outgoings, so you can keep on top of them. Things like, checking if you're still paying for your ex's Netflix account and actually looking at your pay-check when it comes in are top of the list.
If you have a stock pile of plastic bags you've spent 22c each on, along with a collection of Bags for Life, you can very quickly hit another of the big pillars of lagom living, which is monitoring your environmental impact. Do you really need all those lights on? Could you reduce your heating just a bit? We're not your mam, but these are the simple things you can do to start making some energy-savings.
"One resolution could be to switch to LED lighting. LED lights last up to 20 times longer and consume up to 85% less energy than normal bulbs so it’s an easy ways to save energy as well as money," say IKEA.
“Turning off your computer at night could save 25% of its annual energy bill, while switching appliances off rather than leaving them on standby saves a massive 20% of your appliances’ energy use. Simple steps, which quickly become habits, can save the average household a lot of money.”
The last main move towards living a more lagom life is simply about gratitude. In today's world, it's so easy to look at everyone else's insta-perfect life and find it difficult to feel grateful for what you have yourself. It's probably the last step in the lagom living transformation, but that final piece is all about accepting things as they are, are good enough - not too much, not too little.
While hygge allowed us indulge ourselves and curl up in blankets left, right and centre - an understandable desire given the current state of the world - perhaps a better course of action would have been living a more conscious, fruitful life. Easier said than done, but if nothing else, the intention to live a lagom life is a great way to start the new year!