How’s your serenity? Yep, I thought so. If you’re starting to feel the squeeze of the busy season, you’re not alone. In many western cultures, the next five weeks are characterized by over-spending, over-eating, and over-exposure to activities we might not actually enjoy. Pair this with lack of sleep, exercise and nutrition, sprinkle in a few difficult relatives, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I’m here to remind you: it doesn’t have to be like this. You do have a choice in what you consume, and how you spend your money and time. It may not feel like it, but the world won’t end if you read a book instead of going to a party, and spend $20 on a gift instead of $100.
The Swedes know about this. They have not one but two terrific words. Hygge is pretty well known. It represents simplicity, cozy comforts, and taking time to just be still and enjoy our surroundings. Tea, candles, books, cats, squishy sofas, log fires and homemade cookies are all excellent Hygge companions. Lagom, on the other hand, represents the concept of just enough: sufficient, instead of excess. Phrases like virtue in moderation and enough is as good as a feast convey the thinking behind Lagom. We’re under constant bombardment to believe that more is better: more buying, more doing, more eating. How would it feel, instead, to declare we have enough, we are enough, and we’ve done enough?
Used in combination, these two provide the perfect antidote to the parts of the season which can leave us feeling so wiped out, emotionally and physically, by January. Just as, in my opinion, Las Vegas brings out the worst in human nature, so too, if we’re not careful, can December. If you’ve ever watched coverage of the Black Friday crowds and felt revulsion, this topic is for you.
Here’s what to do:
- Replace just one frenetic activity with an hour or so of Hygge. Stay home, curl up, light a candle… or go for a gentle walk.
- Catch yourself in just one more, more, more thought and replace it with the enough of Lagom.
- Like how these felt? Do them again!
- I enjoyed this book on Hygge and will be reading this one on Lagom soon.
- For a little more convincing, try this 20-minute video, The Story of Stuff.
As always, if you can find a few minutes to let me know how you keep the festive season in check, I’d love to hear about it.