Lagom is the new hygge: the cosy revolution
Source: @matthewhenry – Unsplash
2020, uh? Good one! In all this madness though, I have to say, one thing that this year has brought me is time for introspection. I have been taking a real hard look at my life, my mindset and my environment. This week’s topic is a Scandinavian battle to the death betweeeeeen: Hygge and Lagom. Seemed fitting for the crazy world we live in. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
When hygge first popped up on the lifestyle and home decor scene circa 2016, it completely took over our homes (uh, hello fireside marshmallow candles, earth-colored, oversized ceramic mugs and cashmere bed throws!), and we were lighting fires and buying fluffy pillows like there was no tomorrow. Fast forward a few years later – and in the wake of a global pandemic, no less – we are spending way more time at home than we ever thought possible before. Our houses have now taken centre stage in our lives, and have become the spaces where we spend all day, every day. We work, we play, we eat, we sleep, we relax. Most of us love our homes, but none of us thought we would be stuck in them for months at a time, now, did we? No wonder that trends like hygge and now lagom – dubbed the ‘new’ hygge, borrowed from our Nordic friends, have been making the headlines again these days. And they seem to be the answer to all our cabin fever-induced anxieties. But, what do these words really mean? Can we really learn a thing or two from the Swedes and the Danes? Let’s find out.
Hygge in a nutshell
- Pronunciation: “hoo-gah”
- Rough Translation: a general sense of well-being and calm, cosiness and warmth
- Origin: Denmark, Norway
- Best read: The Little Book of Hygge – the Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
- 1 word: cosy
- Picture this: a mug, a good book, a fluffy throw, and candles everywhere
- Why it matters: Denmark consistently ranks as one of the top 2 happiest countries on the globe, I’d say they probably have this whole cosiness thing down.
Lagom in a nutshell
- Pronunciation: “law-gom” (with a hard g)
- Rough Translation: moderate living, just right, balanced
- Origin: Sweden
- Best read: Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark
- 1 word: balance
- Picture this: everything in moderation, for an optimal way of life
- Why it matters: if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we could all do with a bit more sustainability, mindful consumerism and community support.
“While hygge is about creating a cosy and comfortable environment in which one feels content, lagom is about finding a more manageable, comfortable, balanced way of doing things. By doing so you’ll make time for the things that matter most in life.”— Niki Brantmark in Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life
So, while hygge is all about this warm feeling, those intimate moments with loved ones and getting cosy under a blanket with a warm cup of joe and a good read, lagom is much more than a feeling, it’s away of life. And the motto is all about moderation, functionality and finding balance. That’s not to say it can’t be cosy, but it teaches you to do more with less. Ah, finally, a minimalistic trend I can get behind. It’s minimalistic, yes, but it’s about being fulfilled with what you have, without depriving yourself of your creature comforts. It’s sustainable, functional and driven by community over individualism. It’s about being sensible with your choices and responsible with your lifestyle. Can I get an amen, people ?!?!?
The lagom principles go far beyond the walls of your house and become a part of your everyday life: in the way you handle your finances, what you eat, what you buy, the way you interact with friends, family and neighbors, and even at work. In Sweden, taking a break with coffee and sometimes a little treat with your coworkers even has its own name: fika. And that made me realize: when is the last time I actually took a break –as in, no multi-tasking, no phone, no work talk-kind of break – while sipping on my coffee at work, instead of frantically making my 8th cup of java and rushed back to my ever-growing pile of digital correspondence. I should get myself some fika time, folks!
But back to hygge for a minute. I still believe underneath all that fluffiness – which I still very much adore, mind you! – I think there are some good teachings in there too. Like taking time to share intimate moments with the people you love with no distractions or technology, prioritizing self care and being very intentional about creating a soothing environment, or hyggekrog as they call it. That’s Danish for cozy corner. Yeah, yeah, I’m down with the lingo now 😉
Alright, now that the roundup is complete, I say let’s bring some of those Scandinavian vibes into the second half of 2020. I think we could all use some more cosiness, mindfulness and self care to help us weather this unpredictable world we live in.
‘Til next time,