March 1, 2018

These 3 Scandinavian Trends can transform our Lives.



I will never understand some things that end up trending.

Things like eating Tide Pods, wearing a beard that looks like you spent a year in the mountains without access to a razor, or bedazzling one’s lady bits.

While I might shake my head at what some people enjoy and move on, some trends do resonate strongly with me. When I hear of them, I feel a thrill of recognition in my heart that says: this is for me.

There are three current Scandinavian trends that have fallen on my ears like beautiful music in recent months. While they are completely my sort of thing, they just might be good for us all. So let’s talk hygge, plogging, and niksen, and why we should all jump on these particular bandwagons immediately.

Hygge, pronounced hoo-gah, was the first Scandinavian trend that I fell head over heels in love with.

Hygge means the art of intimacy, and it’s all about making one’s life as cozy as possible. It’s not just dressing oneself in soft, wonderful clothes. It’s an entire lifestyle. We can make our homes and work spaces comfortable, cozy, and intimate just by making a few changes.

For me, I had to clear some major clutter.

As a single mom, every space in my home was covered in the detritus that is normal in homes with small children. But I cleared a corner for myself. I’ll place a cup of tea on the end table, curl up in my softest pajamas with the coziest blanket, and read a book or listen to a record. I’ve made this my space.

I also went through my home and began to get rid of objects that don’t have any sentimental or truly decorative value. Minimalists may enjoy hygge, but anyone can get into this.

The emphasis is on putting some intimacy back in our lives. Hopefully, that same level of intimacy can overflow into our relationships as we put down our phones and really get cozy in our lives. Hygge is a concept I think about when I’m out taking a walk, sitting with a cup of coffee at the local café, or even when I’m making tea at home. We could all use a little more comfort in our busy lives.

Up next is plogging, and it’s a fitness trend that anyone can do.

Plogging combines running with saving the environment. Ploggers go out for a walk, jog, or run, and they take a bag to pick up trash along the way.

Plogging has all the health benefits of running and squats with the environmental benefits of cleaning up litter that clutters up our communities. For those who can’t run, walking is just fine. For those who have difficulty squatting, a grabber tool can be used to reach litter. There are even apps that will track our progress—both physical and environmental.

Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit based on community improvement, has even jumped on this bandwagon, encouraging regular walkers and joggers to convert to ploggers to keep our communities clean. This can be done all around the world, and ploggers can even go that extra step and sort the litter into recycling receptacles at the end of the workout.

I’ve taken up plogging, and I love it. When I walk with my children, we look for litter, and when we get home, we place the recycling in recycling bins and throw the rest in the garbage. My community looks better for it, and I know that we’re doing our part to have a healthy environment.

Plus, plogging allows me to get in a few squats when I would usually be zipping by on my run. It even allows me to have a more mindful experience as I notice flowers and other beautiful parts of nature when I pause to pick up litter. We could all use a little plogging in our lives.

The last trend to catch my eye lately has been niksen, the Dutch concept of doing absolutely nothing at all.

It’s recommended that we practice this for a few minutes each hour, when possible, and to try to give it an hour a day on our off days.

While doing nothing seems counterintuitive in cultures obsessed with productivity, taking a time out to rest and restore ourselves regularly during the day helps make us better workers—and generally better people. It isn’t about being lazy; it’s truly about taking a little time for ourselves during the bustle of a day so that we can just be. Everyone could benefit from a little break in the day.

Hygge gives us the intimacy so many of us crave, while plogging combines exercise and environmental responsibility. Niksen rounds it out with giving us an opportunity to indulge in doing nothing at all, giving us a break from all of the responsibility of our daily lives.

By combining the three of them and incorporating them into our routine, we may find our lives enriched. Our relationships could be stronger, our health better, and our general demeanor may become more positive.

So often, America is looked at as a world leader, although lately that seems to be less and less the case. But I, personally, have begun to look to our Scandinavian neighbors to pick up some tips on creating a more mindful life.

It’s not about climbing the ladder or keeping on top of the latest fad; it’s all about creating a good life and being aware enough to enjoy it. And who couldn’t use more of that?


Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron

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