Why Lagom is Replacing Hygge in 2017 as the Latest Word Trend
If you were paying attention last year, you’ll probably have noticed the hard-to-escape-from Danish word ‘Hygge’. Difficult to translate literally into English, ‘Hygge’ is all about embodying all things warm and cosy. I learnt about this supposedly indescribable word when I lived in the Netherlands where they have their own version, ‘Gezellig’ (pronounced guh-sell-igkh and with a lot of throat gargling sounds). I wonder why that didn’t catch on… 😉
This year it’s all about ‘Lagom’, the Swedish word, roughly defined as ‘not too little, not too much – just the right amount’.
How does it differ to ‘Hygge’?
Hygge was all about cosying up in front of the fire with hot chocolate, fairy lights and big chunky knitted throws and jumpers. However, hygge has now been replaced as the new ‘it-word’ by its younger, cooler Scandinavian cousin. Meet ‘Lagom’.
Whilst hygge has been said to capture a moment in time, lagom is more a way of living; a lifestyle of balance, moderation and frugality. Instead of trying to add ‘hygge’ moments to your day like cosying up on the sofa with a good book (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!), try and see lagom more as an overall philosophy on life.
So what is it?
Not only is it easier to pronounce but lagom is all about moderation and balance. In theory, you can have a lagom amount of anything; a lagom amount of food, a lagom amount of shoes or a lagom amount of time spent watching TV.
You know how in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears she found her ‘just right’ porridge? That’s lagom right there.
The Swedes are known for their approach to a good work/life balance and at the moment I think this is something us Brits are still behind on. They’re also better at recycling and are healthier overall as a nation – I feel we could learn a lot from the ethos behind this word!
I love the concept of lagom and I think it ties in perfectly with what we try to embody here at Embrace Your Space. It’s not about throwing away all of your possessions and becoming a minimalist, it’s more about reducing what you do have in your life that you don’t need and finding balance. If you’re decluttering your wardrobe, trying to cut down on drinking or just want to be more mindful of the amount of time you’re spending on your phone, keep going until something clicks. The aim is not to feel deprived but also not to feel over-indulgent.
More than a feeling
One of the things I love most about the concept of lagom is that it’s a not just a feeling that can be defined, it’s a perception. Chances are what’s lagom for your neighbour most likely will not be lagom for you. Everyone is different, so go with your gut, trust your intuition and you’ll know when you find your ‘sweet-spot’. Try not to get too caught up in numbers; you’ll know when you get it.
How can I bring more ‘Lagom’ into my life?
If you’re someone who is a bit of a shopaholic, try to question yourself before you make that impulsive purchase so you’re not accumulating unnecessary things that take up space in your home. Choose quality over quantity and try not to buy stuff just for the sake of it.
Swedish company IKEA have partnered with hubbub to create the ‘Live Lagom’ project to support people to create more sustainable lifestyles. This Hubbub article has loads of helpful tips for how to bring lagom into your home.
Not too much
Lagom is about moderation so think about areas of your life where you have too much excess.
Maybe you’re spending too much time at work and not spending enough time on things for yourself. Perhaps you have too many clothes or personal belongings. Or, are you one of those people that always forgets to turn the lights off when you leave a room?
Look at your daily habits and see if you can reduce in any areas of your life. Whether that means eating less meat or just eating less overall, being more conscious of leaving taps running for longer than necessary or reducing the amount of waste coming from your home or business, make 2017 the year you make an effort to reduce. But not too much, because that wouldn’t be very ‘lagom’ 🙂
Living with balance
Lagom isn’t about denial. It’s about making small changes without denying yourself anything.
Balance is an ever-changing state and it can seem at times that the moment you seem to have ‘got’ balance, something will happen which will result in you feeling completely unbalanced. Maybe you ate too much, spent too much or did absolutely nothing productive for 3 days. But this is also balance! Sometimes you feel like you’re killin’ it and some days it’s a struggle to get out of pyjamas and put makeup on; we need these periods of excess to bring us back to a place of ‘less’.
As my Mum used to say, “Everything in moderation, including moderation!”
If you resonate with this, get rid of any guilt and know that everything is constantly changing; such is this beautiful life we’ve been blessed with. Living in balance is a constant flow, a journey, and requires a lot of regular ‘checking in’ and moments of self-awareness.
While I’m not ditching hygge altogether, I am going to be making more of an effort to look at how I can create more balance in my life. I’d love to know if you connect with the concept of ‘Lagom’ and if so, how you’ll be trying to incorporate more of it into your life! Let me know below 🙂