Personal Development

Embrace the Lagom Lifestyle: The Basics

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.

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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.

It means

  • not too much, not too little
  • balance
  • everything in moderation
  • the happy medium
  • above all… harmony.

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Communication

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?

Home

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.

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Self Care

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 (past blog here on this).

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.

30 Self Care Ideas are featured on my past blog too!

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. If you haven’t worn pieces of clothing for 3-6months it would recommend selling on eBay, Gumtree or donating to charity shops.

I have implemented this by putting a small makeup back with my everyday essentials (5 pieces of makeup). Also, I have been selling old clothing for funds for travel. 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!

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Goal Setting

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.

Work

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.

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Money

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.

Eco Living

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
  • Recycle
  • 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

Chloe

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Personal Development

30 Self Care Ideas

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Here you will find 30 self care ideas. Now the reason I have wrote these is because we rarely take the time to look after ourselves. I am surrounded by the most amazing people that focus on helping, supporting, caring and even attempting to rescue people around them. However, we often neglect to look after ourselves. Its often the case that the advice we give other people we don’t actually I pelmet for ourselves. The phrase ‘practice what you preach’ comes to mind. Sometimes, I sit back and think ‘that was bloody good advice’ why don’t I listen to it, I know I would feel great if I listened to myself!
So this list is for YOU. When you read it your not allowed to think about other people and what they could benefit from. Focus on you!
When was the last time you actually had a bath, lit your candles and used your best spa range?
When was the last time you went for a walk without the distractions of your phone?
When  was the last time you sat down and read a book with a herbal tea in hand?
When did you last take time for you?
Our lives are so hectic in this day and age, that time for yourself gets put to the bottom of the priority list. But I always say you have to look after yourself first before you can be any use to anyone else. If your running around, like a headless chicken and not giving yourself time to re-coop you will end up crashing or at ‘burn out’ walking through life like a zombie! At that point you are no use to anyone, yourself, your children, partner, friends or family!
I recommend taking one thing from this list a week to start with. Schedule it in your diary as a ‘self care hour’ then it’s booked and everything else can work around it. You will thank your self so much and when you establish a routine you will be surprised about how great you will feel and want to do more and more. You can build up to a daily self care activity as part of your morning routine to set yourself up for the day (blog coming soon on this). This ‘power hour’ will honestly change your life as you see it now. Start small, at once a week and see for yourself the difference it can make.
Last week I really enjoyed my walk in the woods with no distractions. This was an idea from Robin Sharma’s podcast which is a great listen. This coming week I will be re establishing my yoga routine as I am all out of sync from my recent house move!
I would love to hear what one thing your going to do for you next week!
Go the distance for you, your future self will thank you!
Chloe.
Personal Development

Unplugging from the world with a Digital Detox

Recently I have had an increased awareness of the reliance I have on the Internet, in so many parts of my life. Now… as an online entrepreneur I recognise the huge benefit’s of the information era. Without it this blog wouldn’t reach a global audience, nor could I run a part-time online business around my full-time job, and I wouldn’t be able to connect with my international friends … the list can continue on and on.

However, I have a feeling that the technology revolution is being abused by using it for literally everything! Let’s think… how many times have you said or done the following in the last two weeks.

  • ‘Oh I don’t know… I’ll just Google it’
  • Scrolling mindlessly through Facebook
  • Watching cat videos for a quick giggle
  • ‘I wonder how many likes I’ve got’
  • Spying on celebrities lives
  • Pinning every home DIY idea on Pinterest
  • The list of unhealthy habits can continue

So the first step is awareness, the second is doing something about it! As we had a holiday to Fuerteventura booked I thought this would be the perfect time to do a digital detox, escape from being constantly connected in order to break the habit and create a healthy relationship to WiFi.

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As I arrived at Manchester airport, the aeroplane mode was switched on and stayed on for a whole 7 days. I guess I best tell you what I found.

The time. How many of us go to look at our phone purely for the time? But then get distracted by the numerous notifications on our home screen, which you just ‘have’ to read. To then 10 minutes later forget you only actually meant to check the time. The old school invention of the watch… literally is timeless. Putting my beautiful Olivia Burton watch on this holiday (a gift from my best friend Hannah) helped me not reach for my smart phone when all I needed was the time.

Often there are times on holiday when you simply are doing nothing. This is a rarity in our hectic corporate lives where there is a need to be doing something every second of every day in order to get everything done, in the limited 24 hours a day we have. So I found the time I was most likely to pick up my phone was in times of nothing-ness (I don’t want to use the word boredom as that word has negative connotations which are holiday was not). My replacement for surfing the internet was reading. I took away with me two books The Compassionate Mind and Personality Plus which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes I chose not to read and instead engaged in simple deep breathing mindfulness exercises to appreciate my surroundings.

 

With tired eyes on the plane journeys the mister leant me his Beatz headphones to listen to the audio books I had downloaded on my iPod (and to drown out the sound of screaming children). In 8 hours of travelling I listened to ‘How to stop worrying and start living‘ by Dale Carnegie and an inspiration talk by Nick Vujicic named ‘No arms no legs’ all without opening my eyes. Great time leverage there!

I was listening to a Ted Talk by Tania Mulry named ‘Need a digital detox?‘ who said it’s been discovered that the feeling you get when you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket and it’s not even there is the same feeling amputee’s get when they lose a limb. The Phantom Limb Syndrome we experience shows how we see our phones as an extension to our body!

Since returning the UK and plugging back into the world, I have questioned myself much more and noticed the technology addiction all around me. There is genuinely nothing worse than looking around in a restaurant to see a family of four at the table with children being kept quiet with over stimulating iPad apps and the parents sat staring mindlessly at the phone probably posting about the ‘incredible time’ there having not talking to one another.

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I have always been known as the ‘difficult to get hold of’ person with phrases such as ‘what’s the point in having a phone if you don’t answer it’ being thrown at me. But I like it that way… I tend not to drop everything in that instant moment to pick up a call as I value the task I’m doing more. If it’s an emergency a text will follow to say ‘ring me asap’ to which I can prioritise that over my task. Often people are offended if you don’t reply instantly when you are ‘Online’ or ‘Active’ however, these streams are used for my business and I’m technically working.

I worry about people behind closed doors. Your own lives and your 800 Facebook ‘friends’ lives look so perfect only highlighting the best bits. However, this gives a distorted view of what life is like, after all without the occasional low you wouldn’t notice the highs. Although I definitely do not want to be exposed to negative moaning status’ I just worry about those who are having a rainy day when everyone else is enjoying the sunshine. We can often feel so alone, like digital hermits, holding out for so many ‘Likes’ to increase your confidence and self-esteem – it can be so dangerous to our mental health. I find it interesting that even Steve Jobs set strict limits on his children’s gadget time. The creator himself obviously see’s the hidden dangers too.

So what can you do to get the most out of technology without it taking over your life:

  • Use social media to organise seeing your friends and family in person – embrace face to face, belly to belly connections
  • Take the time to appreciate the small moments around you
  • Turn off your notifications so you’re not constantly interrupted – Multi-tasking is a myth!
  • Have a purpose for your phone visit – get in and get out!
  • Set limits for checking in with your social media streams so you don’t get trapped scrolling for hours.
  • Leave your phone in your handbag, another room or leave it behind – give it a go!
  • Wear your watch so you don’t have extra temptations when looking at your phone purely for the time.
  • Try a filter free one shot only instagram picture
  • Unplug an hour before bedtime to help you get a better nights sleep
  • Use aeroplane mode when you need time to focus
  • Create a self-care ideas list to work your way through when your bored
  • When you are posting and commenting add value to people’s lives

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’ – Anne Lamott

Go the Distance

Chloe