We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears right? Young girl lost in the woods, finds a cottage, goes in, sits down, eats porridge, has a kip, owners return, the end. And whilst the story doesn't completely translate to today's modern society (I mean come on what kid these days goes wandering about in the woods without a phone to hunt for Pokémon?) there is definitely something that can be taken from finding that perfect bowl of porridge.
And it is the Scandinavians with their words for wonderful wellness, which us Brits only somehow manage to sum up in waffling words of psychobabble, that have yet again encapsulated this philosophy so well, with the word lagom (pronounced 'lar-gom'). First the Danes gave us hygge, which come on let's be honest we LOVED, and now the Swedes have given us this new wellness trend, but what's the difference?
To put it in simple terms; lagom is like the frugal cousin of hygge.
Hmmm not sounding so great now, right?!
That cosy, woollen knitwear you cocooned yourself in over Christmas... that's Hygge. But don't worry you can still have that with lagom, you're just going to have to knit it yourself. Oh and ideally it should be from the wool of your own grass fed sheep, which you've lovingly sheared and then spun on the spinning wheel you found on Freecycle... or if that's perhaps a bit too ambitious, unpicking an old jumper and recycling the wool from that is perfectly acceptable too.
So you're starting to get the gist of it, yeah?
Hygge is about capturing a moment, like taking a snapshot of perfection that you can store in your happy memory bank and, if we're being totally honest with ourselves, there's a certain degree of smugness in creating a vision of quaint idyllic loveliness that you can share on your Instagram feed.
Lagom on the other hand is in it for the long term; it's a lifestyle, one that strikes the balance between not too little and not too much. It's sustainable, it's achievable and more importantly than anything else it reminds us to be grateful for the small joys that life gives us.
Still not sure how this lagom lark works?
Here's our guide to getting it right:
Plan your meals
Simply spending half an hour on a Sunday to work out a menu for the week ahead will not only save you money, but will also help you avoid unnecessary food waste, will help you lose weight, will save you time and will make you more mindful of what it is you're putting inside your body. And that is ALL very lagom! Aim to eat seasonal, sustainable food that has been grown in your country, or why not have a go at growing your own (see next point!).
Grow your own
Channel your inner Barbara and make like The Good Life by starting your own veggie patch. Time spent outdoors raises those feel good endorphins and exposes you to some much needed Vitamin D. Plus homegrown food always tastes way better, because of the amount of love that's gone into growing it and you know no nasty pesticides have been used. Haven't got space? Then set up a few pots of herbs on your kitchen windowsill. Fresh, flavoursome ingredients as well as gorgeous aromatic scents to float through your home.
Take a shower
Lagom is not about denying you the things you love, but more about being conscious of saving things when and where you can. If you love nothing more than wallowing in a deliciously deep bubble bath, we're not saying that's not allowed, you should just try swapping for a shower every now and again to help save water.
Hands up if you're that annoying person who always tells other family members to put on another jumper if they're cold rather than turning up the central heating. Well don't worry, it's your turn to feel smug, because if you are that person then you are totally lagom.
Work life balance
Learning to stop work the moment you leave the office and switching over into home mode is very lagom. Spending time with loved ones is incredibly important, because that is ultimately what makes us happy and is what life is surely all about. So, do yourself a favour and make a commitment to yourself to work hard when you need to and play hard when you want to.
Don't try too hard
All of these things are all well and good, but sometimes you run the risk of trying just that little bit too hard and that is very much not lagom. We're constantly told how to be happy by self help books, social media and the media, but all that serves to do is make us feel more stressed about the fact we might not be as happy as we should be and this ends in misery. The key is to not obsess over it, chill out and do the things you love, and happiness will occur naturally. lagom accepts that life isn't perfect, but do you know what... that is more than OK, because life is good enough.
So as you can see, having just the right amount of something, in fact anything, really is the path to gratitude, happiness and contentment and lagom is surely something we could all do with adopting into our lives.
Now if only we could combine hygge with hagom...say 'hygom' (pronounced 'huh-gom'), then and only then will we have created the ultimate wellness trend!
Becky is Editor and Blogger at the online healthy lifestyle magazine The Art of Healthy Living. For more articles like this, on all aspects of health, fitness, wellbeing, nutrition and beauty visit the Art of Healthy Living website or follow on:Suggest a correction