Lagom and meraki: Current lifestyle trends stress de-stressing |
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Lagom and meraki: Current lifestyle trends stress de-stressing

Shirley McMarlin

Hygge is so 2018.

A year ago, we were all about the Danish concept of creating a cozy, welcoming environment to eliminate stress and promote feelings of well-being and contentment.

But time and lifestyle trends wait for no one. In the age of instant information, we want something new and we want it now.

If you’re ready to put away your hygge-style sweaters, candles and soup pots (spring is coming, after all), here are a few current trends that could help rejuvenate your outlook on life. Notice the recurring theme of “simplify, simplify, simplify.”


Pronounced “LAH-gum,” the Swedish term translates to “not too little, not too much” or “just right.”

Lagom relates to hygge in that it encourages people to live an uncomplicated, balanced life — relaxing and taking joy in simple pleasures.

Niki Brantmark, author of the simply titled book, “Lagom,” offers a few ways to live the lagom way:

• Go it alone: Learn to enjoy solitary pursuits, such as a hike or camping trip. City folks could substitute a solo movie or restaurant meal.

• Clear out the closet: Pare your wardrobe down to a manageable number of favorite garments to mix and match.

• Catch your breath: Build short breaks into your daily or weekly routine.

• Be kind: Small, random acts of kindness can reap big rewards, both for yourself and others.

Another facet of lagom is something called the “morgondopp,” an early morning dip into a nearby (no doubt chilly) body of water. Most of us probably will have to make do with a cold rinse after our shower.


It’s a term modern Greeks use to describe putting your heart and soul into everything you do.

Meraki is most often associated with cooking and meal preparations, but it can apply to arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table.

The concept also can be applied in other areas of life:

“Go for the gusto,”as the 1970 Schlitz Beer ad said. Or, “whistle while you work,” an encouraging word from the Seven Dwarfs — who spent their days merrily toiling away in a diamond mine.


You might not want to make this one a lifestyle, but rather an occasional break from your normal routine.

The English translation of the Finnish word “kalsarikänni” (don’t ask us how to pronounce it), pantsdrunk is a term that literally means “drinking at home alone, in your underwear.”

(Or should we just call it “Friday night”?)

It’s an easily attained, relatively affordable way to blow off some steam. A few brews, a few snacks and the TV remote and you’re good to go.

You can invite some friends to join in — but then maybe you’d all want to leave your pants on.

When you think about it, pantsdrunk has a lot in common with hygge and lagom: the pursuit of comfort, relaxation and peace of mind.

KonMari Method

This one has been in the news a lot in recent months.

Author and tidying consultant Marie Kondo helps people worldwide to find personal joy and fulfillment through “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Her method encourages people to assess their lives and surroundings through these steps:

• Commit yourself to tidying up

• Imagine your ideal life

• Finish letting go first

• Tidy by category, not location

• Follow the right order

• Ask yourself if (a possession) sparks joy — if not, it’s time to let it go.

The result should make you more self-aware and optimistic, says Kondo, which also opens you up to making life changes, such as starting a new business or ending a bad relationship.

RV living

The tiny house on wheels has been a thing for a while, as has RV living for retirees, but apparently it’s becoming more of a mainstream option. Why?

It’s a cheap way to own a house. It’s a good solution for people whose jobs change location often, such as oil field, pipeline and construction workers.

It appeals to people who can work remotely and also have wanderlust. It appeals to people who value experiences over possessions.

There’s even a website called Workampers that posts job opportunities across the country for RVers.

30-hour work week

Maybe this is mostly wishful thinking — but business networking and jobs website LinkedIn says the call for a 30-hour work week is trending, from both employers and employees.

Google co-founder Larry Page and Sir Richard Branson, billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, have gone on record as being in favor of the shorter work week.

Thank millennials and their desire for better work-life balance for the push, LinkedIn says — though there are questions on how the shorter week could possibly benefit hourly workers.

Arguments in favor include:

• Reduction in greenhouse gases from less commuting

• Reduction in physical and emotional stress for employees

• Economic stimulation — if people spend more money on recreational pursuits on those extra days off

• Other contributions to society, such as more time spent on self-improvement or volunteering.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Pantsdrunk is the English translation for what Finns call “drinking at home alone, in your underwear.”
RV living is beginning to move out of the retirement community and into the mainstream.
Creative Commons
Paring down possessions and keeping them organized is one goal of many current lifestyle trends.
Learning to enjoy solitary pursuits is part of the Swedish “lagom” lifestyle philosophy.
Creative Commons
Giving away possessions that no longer spark joy is part of the KonMari tidying-up method.
Creative Commons
Proponents of a 30-hour work week say it would mean less physical and emotional stress for employees.
Creative Commons
Setting a beautiful table is one facet of the Greek practice of meraki.
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