I first heard the term Lagom in a focus group on Compassionate Focused Therapy (CFT) three months after our course. A colleague sat in the room with a completely different presence. She seemed bright, wide-eyed and with an overall feeling of happiness. After a brief conversation she said that following the CFT group she has looked into Hygee and Lagom and had implemented simple self-care tips along the way to support her mindfulness practices. I had heard of Hygee (Danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment) but I hadn’t heard of Lagom.
Following this, the Mister bought me the book Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well by Lola A. Akerstrom. I was hooked and within 10 days the little book was complete. Here I will share my thoughts and simple strategies of how you can implement Lagom into your lifestyle.
Firstly, how an earth do you say it?! It’s pronounced ‘Law-gum’.
Where Hygee represents a special feeling within a moment, Lagom represents a lifestyle.
- not too much, not too little
- everything in moderation
- the happy medium
- above all… harmony.
Lagom doesn’t make time for showing off, exaggerations or big-headedness, as this would disrupt the equilibrium between you and your friend. So the lesson would be to listen more and speak less. Remembering that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason; this ratio should be used.
The Swedish society tends to avoid small talk and chitter-chatter. Their conversations surround meaningful and enriching topics. They embrace what we would call ‘awkward silences’ and enjoy the presence of others. For our British culture, would we mis-interpret this as rude or ignorant?
Within a Swedish home, you wouldn’t see chaotic scenes of children running around the house, parents shouting to get their breakfast and everyone feeling stressed. You would feel a calm atmosphere and see the family sat around the table having breakfast together before they take on the day.
With regards to the Kitchen, Swedish meals reflect the seasons with the produce used being in-season and appropriate for the climate. They tend to use local producers, grow their own or forage from the land. When serving meals, they put on their plate what they know they can eat; remembering that others need to eat too.
Interior design is a favourite subject of mine. Lagom and Minimalism share very similar concepts. A great place to start is by de-cluttering, if things aren’t practical or don’t have an emotional tie to you then they can go. The Swedish home focuses on brightening up spaces as they have 5 months of the year in mostly darkness. So natural light, neutral walls and lamps are used to lift spirits to avoid negative feelings in wintery months. Fresh plants and flowers clear the air and also promote a sense of wellbeing! Upcycling fits well into Lagom. Give items additional functionality by repurposing them. Remember the other R’s too; recycle and reuses to avoid waste.
With the rise in social media and the world wide web, more than ever we feel constantly connected. As ‘sociable’ as this is, it can have a negative effect when trying to build a balanced life. So you may be due a digital detox …
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The word ‘no’ slips off a Swedes tongue much more easily than a Brit. We find it so difficult to say ‘no’, but if we did we would be able to maintain balance and work much more efficiently, waste less time and increase our valuable time.
Why not join a club and enjoy your hobby with others? Take your singing in the car to a choir, take your dance moves to a salsa class or find out your old paintbrushes and join an art class. Spending time with like-minded people will relight your passion aswell as opening up a new network of friends.
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Fashion and Beauty
Who has an overflowing makeup case and a wardrobe that doesn’t close, yet still say ‘I have nothing to wear’? It may be time to simplify your beauty regimes and slim line the closet. No makeup days would give you skin chance to breathe. I have implemented this by putting a small makeup back with my everyday essentials (5 pieces of makeup).
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Also, I have been selling old clothing for funds for travel. If you haven’t worn pieces of clothing for 3-6months it would recommend selling on eBay, Gumtree or donating to charity shops. It makes life so much easier when you have less to choose from. When buying new clothes, it is recommended that if you can think of 5 different ways to wear the piece of clothing, you can buy it. If not, put it back on the rack.
Why not visit charity shops or vintage stores? You often can get high quality pieces for a fraction of the price. On recent charity shop trip I found a dungaree skirt for £3! The charity shop was having a 50% sale so I walked out with this skirt, a jumper for work, a work dress and dress for travelling for a total of £10!
When it comes to goals and Lagom, it can be difficult to get your head round. As Lagom states ‘everything in moderation’ so where does this sit when it comes to pushing towards a goal to achieve success? The tips that are suggested are setting measureable goals that you can break down into smaller achievable steps. Focusing solely on the ultimate goal may yield a sense of failure month by month as you’re not living your ultimate life. But if you focus on the small steps towards that goal, this will reduce the chance of self-punishment while maintaining balance within your life.
Are you a manager of a team? If you are, why not try creating a relaxing atmosphere around your employees, listen to their concerns and ideas and promote work-life balance. Delegate tasks to ensure balance of your work load, but accept when you employees say ‘no’ so they can maintain their own balanced work load.
Take your lunch away from your desk. We deserve time to mindfully tea without multi-tasking. After all, we are entitled to a break and often aren’t paid for 30-60mins of the day for a break. As our work place doesn’t have a staff room, I turn my PC off, turn away from my desk or take my lunch outside in summery months.
When it comes to money, Lagom wants us to take control of our finances so we can occasionally indulge without falling into debt. How many of us put money away for a rainy day? This safety net will also create piece of mind that your okay if your washing machine breaks… you have it under control.
‘Buy Cheap, Buy Twice’ is key here too. It’s much better to save for a quality piece than buy a cheaper item multiple times. Simple small steps on a daily basis, add up over the months and years. For example, a pack up for lunch instead of eating out or writing a shopping list and sticking to it.
Finally here are the Lagom tips for living an eco-friendly life!
- More showers than baths
- Bulk wash in dishwasher than hand-washing pots
- Turn off the lights
- Use refillable bottles
- Use reuseable bags
- Switch to LED lights
- Hang clothes out to dry
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Upcycle instead of throwing out
- Wash clothes at 40 not 60
- Grow your own
- Sell or donate clothes
Go the Distance in your Lagom Lifestyle