Swedes are experts when it comes to ‘lagom,’ referring to their home country as landet lagom, or lagom country.
‘Lagom är bäst’ translates as ‘enough is as good as a feast,’ and refers to the popularity in Sweden of embracing a balanced lifestyle while living frugally. Lagom is all about achieving harmony and balance – in mind, body and spirit. Adequate rest for our minds, regular exercise for our bodies, and enough time to nourish our souls are key components.
Catharina Bjorkman, lifestyle expert at Swedish wood-burning stove brand, Contura, says:
“In Sweden, lagom plays an integral role in our daily lives, and this is reflected in the way we spend our time, our values when it comes to the home, work and relationships, and the way we interact with money and the environment.
“We are seeing more Brits take an interest in lagom to bring added balance to their lives and we also know the detrimental effect that stress has on our happiness and wellbeing,” says Catharina.
With this in mind, we have prepared a guide comprising some simple tips to help those in the UK on their way to a more lagom life.
Get into a routine
Following a morning and evening routine are great ways to realign our own equilibrium. Try leaving your phone somewhere other than your bedroom at night, removing the temptation to start scrolling when you’re trying to fall asleep or as soon as you wake up.
Take 10 minutes to enjoy a hot drink or book in bed rather than checking emails, to start and end your day better.
Create a sanctuary at home
Your home should be a soothing place to spend time and somewhere you are able to relax and unwind away from hectic work and social schedules. Try to make leisure time as restful as possible to enable you to be fully present and able to engage with loved ones without distraction. Whether it’s cooking and eating dinner with the family, playing with the kids, taking a relaxing bath, or chilling with a book or boxset, the opportunities to enjoy your home are endless.
Embrace Zen, Swedish style
A core principle of lagom is to remove unnecessary stress caused by money worries, work or relationships. Given 74 percent of adults in the UK report feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope because of stress, reducing external stress factors can only be a good thing. Try to leave work and social media aside once you get home, resist checking emails and ask yourself “can this wait until work hours?” before replying.
Similarly, fit in exercise whenever possible – even a simple walk can help us regain perspective and remove us from the immediacy of a stressful situation. On your bike Sweden is a cycling mad country – within a population of 10 million, roughly 60 per cent are cyclists – and is fourth in the world for the most bikes per capita. Cycling lessens your carbon footprint and improves fitness, so try swapping the bus, car or train for a bike on the commute and during the weekends. You’ll also save money on public transport and petrol – it’s truly a case of win-win!
There is a popular Scandinavian saying that “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Don’t be put off by the rain or cold and instead, dress appropriately and head outdoors. Put down your phone, or better yet, leave it at home and get ready to explore on foot or by bike – you never know what you may spot. Parks, beaches and woodland offer free outing opportunities and provide a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise.
Putting aside money for a rainy day is commonplace in Sweden, but less so in the UK. You should aim to have at least 3 months’ salary saved up for emergencies and by setting up a direct debit every month your savings will quickly start to grow. Similarly, shop around for the best deals from service providers – whether it’s the bank or energy providers – it doesn’t pay to be loyal and there are always deals to be had.