Lagom is a Swedish and Norwegian word meaning "just the right amount". We know the words like sufficient and average suggest some degree of abstinence, scarcity, or failure, but lagom carries the connotation of appropriateness, almost achieving perfection in terms of balance. And it has become a lifestyle! So read below to see how you can learn from the Swedes.
For a while now, you have probably been reading a lot about the ‘Hygge’ lifestyle. It was a Danish word that implied a quality of cosiness and comfortability, a conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Well, as of now lagom is the new hygge. Turns out these words express the right amount of cosiness, happiness and relaxation.
“Not too little. Not too much. Just right.”
Lagom seems to be the latest lifestyle trend of wellness that has come to us from Sweden, telling us what it means to be feeling ‘the right amount’ of things. And of course we want to draw from the experience and thoughts on life, as the Swedes are among the happiest people on earth, according to several studies.
The difference between hygge and lagom lies in the fact that lagom persists more in introspection, with your way of thinking and reflecting on your daily events.
Whereas Hygge was all about making cosiness happen, using external means as well – such as candles, lights or scented items. Turns out that lagom is not really something you can decide to do, it’s a way of living and thinking while being pleased with what you have right now, appreciating the moment and counting current blessings.
A 2017 Guardian article defines lagom as the following:
“It’s about not doing what is unnecessary or superfluous, focusing on what is absolutely essential, knowing when to stop.”
How Can Practicing the Lagom Lifestyle Help you?
If there’s one thing we know that characterises us as human beings, it is excess. We can really not get enough of anything.
We have closets full of clothes we never wear, yet, we go crazy over weekend sales and buy more stuff which we never wear. Our urge it to keep wanting more out of everything – food, clothes, materialistic stuff, personal stuff, more emotions, more love, more interesting people and more experiences to fulfill us.
But what we don’t understand along the way, especially according to the lagom lifestyle, is that as long as there is a ‘more’ after all of our passions, desires and hopes, we will never really reach fulfillment.
Some may even compare the lagom lifestyle with minimalism, as they are somewhat inter-related. Same as with minimalism, lagom also practices the idea that less is more.
However, you don’t have to start throwing your items or clothes away. You should just admit the fact that you have enough and that you are enough!
Of course we know that is easier said than done. It takes so much effort to start changing our thinking patterns, our habits and the way we overthink things.
However, you have to start thinking of ways you can begin to practice lagom, and each of us has our unique ways of self-affirmation.
On her article on the Eight best lessons learned from living the lagom life, Rachel Jacoby Zoldan shares some of the things that helped her pursue this sort of lifestyle. These are just a few of the things that worked for her:
- Keeping your house clean and uncluttered.
- Making coffee breaks real breaks (apparently, the Swedish are known for their coffee breaks, a social ritual known as fika, which translates to “taking a break for coffee and enjoying a small treat”).
- Working longer does not equal working harder.
- Friday nights are best spent in sweats on the couch.
- Respecting the life-giving power of leftovers.
- Wearing only black.
Personalising Your List
Now, you may personalise the list, as long as you reflect on the things that make you feel better. I would add reading, and taking long walks, however, I know some people who find bliss in cooking.
So whatever that activity is that makes you appreciate the moment you’re in, and allows your chest to inhale and exhale slow-paced breath, you go ahead and do that.
“Living the lagom taught me that life doesn’t need to be so damn complicated; that I can say ‘stop’ when I’ve done enough or taken on enough work without sloppily accepting every assignment and sending back half-assed copy.
“Because I should get to relax and enjoy life’s pleasures—living lagom is about enjoying everything in moderation; a healthier, balanced way of thinking.
“Personally, I found that that experimenting with lagom and making subtle changes to your routine will not only bring a sense of equilibrium to your life; it will also bring you a greater feeling of calm and contentment”. – Rachel Jacoby Zoldan
Scandinavia is also famed for its education, here’s why:
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