Lifestyle trends come and go and 2017 was a year that saw quite a few different trends explode onto the scene. Of course, hygge was the big trend that we were all aspiring to, but as the year progressed a number of other trends sought to take the limelight away from hygge and convince us to adapt our lifestyles in order to live our best lives. In today’s post I want to take a look at the four major trends that I noticed last year. I want to take a closer look at just what they mean, how we can incorporate them into our lives and how they will affect me personally.
As you know from my colour trends post earlier this month, I don’t always follow trends unless they resonate with me personally, but I have become pretty good at looking at trends and taking bits from them if they work for me. And I think that’s the best way to approach trends. As yourself, ‘Can they work for me?’ and ‘How can they help to improve my life?’ If there is some benefit for you, go ahead, but don’t just follow trends to be part of the cool gang.
Apart from hygge, I haven’t really paid much attention to the other trends I’m talking about today and it wasn’t until I started researching this post that I realised how much these trends speak to me and my life goals. So let’s get started and you can tell me what you think of these lifestyle trends in the comments at the end, okay?
I’ve touched a little bit on Hygge here before, which you can see in this post. For those of you haven’t heard of it….well where have you been hiding? Hygge has been an absolutely massive trend in interiors and home design in the UK for well over a year now, maybe even two now I come to think about it. Everything has revolved around making our homes as hyggelig as possible. But what is hygge? With no direct translation into English it can be a little bit tricky to define but according to Wikipedia Hygge is the Scandinavian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.
Over recent years, hygge has become a defining characteristic of Danish culture. It has been lauded as the lifestyle to aspire to as if we Brits are completely incapable of creating an atmosphere that helps us to feel happy, cosy, contented, warm, safe and comforted. I try to experience Hygge as often as possible and I like nothing more than snuggling up in a cosy blanket beside the fire with loved ones, sipping hot tea and chatting with friends, settling down to read a good book or sharing a meal with mates. (I’m not a big fan of candles mind you!) All things which could come under the umbrella of hygge.
In his book, A Very British Hygge, Simon Sinclair notes that hygge has a lot to do with our state of mind and it’s more about learning to be happy with the simple things in life. It’s about getting pleasure from experiences rather than stuff. The part of the book that really resonated with me was the bit about decluttering your home and making sure that your home tells your story. I’ve been feeling stressed at home ever since having kids meant that the amount of stuff that we own practically tripled overnight. We live in a small two bedroom flat so all these belongings can feel suffocating.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about becoming a minimalist and it is something I would love to attempt. I don’t mean I want to live in bare home with only a few pieces of furniture and no belongings. But I really would like to go through my home and get rid of everything that isn’t useful, doesn’t bring joy, hold fond memories or tell our story. I’m pretty sure that doing this would help me to feel more relaxed and at ease at home and I would definitely feel more comfortable having friends and family come round if we weren’t drowning in clutter that needed to be tidied away every five minutes.
This would definitely help me to feel more hyggelig. However, I can only do this if I can convince my husband to do the same. He really doesn’t like the idea of getting rid of his stuff and he loves to hold on to things that he will never use again and hasn’t even looked at for the past 10 years. Perhaps I need to fill him in on hygge and another big lifestyle trend that ties in with this, Lagom.
Last year, once we were all a bit tired of hearing about hygge, a new lifestyle trend cropped up to rival the Danish way of life. The internet was awash with articles heralding lagom as the next hygge. Lagom is a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount”. Rather than striving for a momentary state of cosiness as with hygge, Lagom is more about our approach to life as a whole and seeking more of a balance. It encompasses many aspects from finding a better work/life balance to looking after your financial well-being. It’s also about living more sustainably by saving energy and water, creating less waste and recycling more.
A few years ago, IKEA launched a campaign called Live Lagom where they sought to help their customers embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. In fact a few of my blogging friends took part in the campaign, you can read their posts about it here, here and here and find out how it changed their lives. There is also a great article full of ideas about how to become a “lagomer” over on the House Beautiful website.
But being more conscious doesn’t necessarily mean depriving yourself of life’s little luxuries. Again it’s about balance. Lagom is a concept that I have decided to adopt this year. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the whole minimalism thing I guess. I want to be more conscious of the things that I bring into my home and I want to spend my money more wisely.
That may mean spending more money to buy better designed, good quality products that will last longer (and bring me joy) but ultimately I will be spending less money as I won’t have to replace things so often, adding to the mountain of waste that ends up in landfill every year. Plus I’ve always been a bit obsessed with recycling as I mentioned in this post so that won’t change. I’m also hoping to save as much money as possible this year as my husband and I plan for our future and that of our girls. So I can definitely get on board with Lagom.
The next lifestyle trend that has come onto my radar recently is something called wabi sabi. Hailing from Japan, wabi sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and really valuing authenticity. Wabi is a word that basically means rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects. It can also refer to the anomalies that arise from the production process, which add uniqueness and elegance to an object. Sabi, on the other hand, refers to the beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object can be seen in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.
The tradition of wabi-sabi can offer an inspiring new way to look at our homes, and our whole lives. I am a self-confessed perfectionist and this is probably why I’m struggling with my home at the moment and can explain my ambition to become more of a minimalist. I like my home to be just the way I want it, but with our current situation it’s just not possible. I have a plan to get us somewhere close but this will take time, effort, patience and money. So in the meantime, I intend to practice wabi sabi to help me to appreciate the beauty of our home and to accept all the imperfections that it has.
Perhaps focusing on all the signs that our little family is growing up here rather than lamenting the lack of perfection will help me to feel less impatient and frustrated with the current state of our home. It won’t be forever, before we know it the girls won’t need all these toys and they will stop spilling every drink I give them and dropping their Play Doh and kinetic sand all over the floor. For now, I’ll just have to learn to see these blemishes and flaws as the story of our family. The perfectionist in me won’t find this easy!
The final lifestyle trend that I’d like to explore in 2018 popped onto the scene in the Autumn of 2017. Again journalists were frantically scribing articles about the Japanese concept of ikigai taking hygge’s throne as the number one aspirational lifestyle we should all be striving for. But what exactly is ikigai and why should we be interested? Well, ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being” along the same lines as the French phrase “raison d’être”.
According to Japanese culture, everyone has an ikigai and discovering what it is brings satisfaction and meaning to life. I have always been a big believer in the saying that everything happens for a reason so it’s not too far removed for me to believe that everyone also has a reason for being.
According to Wikipedia, Ikigai is “used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile”. Many people believe that it can be found at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing. For me, I guess this is blogging and this year I will be trying to be more conscious of my ikigai.
By being more aware of my ikigai I hope to make this pursuit a lot more enjoyable. By taking time to notice the writing tasks that I enjoy and that fulfill me, I can try to do more of those things. Likewise, if I notice the things that bring me no joy I can try to steer clear of those things in the future. Hopefully this will help me to lead a more fulfilling life.
So what do you guys think of these lifestyle trends? Have you already embraced any of those I’ve mentioned? If so how is it going? Or will 2018 be the year you give one of these a go? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.