Have the Scandinavians cracked the code to a happy and satisfied life? Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland topping the list for the happiest countries leaves some cues. The Swedish lifestyle concept called lagom has taken a global conversation exploring how living a lagom life creates a mindset and ecosystem to live happily. While mainstream media might paint pictures that Swedes enjoy little picnics and bake Kanelbullar(cinnamon buns) every evening, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Today, we live in a world where everyone is always on the go. It’s hard to find time for personal enjoyment, let alone making time for community building. Managing work meetings, deadlines, career progression, family commitments, workouts, taking time for personal interests can easily leave us stressed and burned out. So what’s it that Swedes do differently? Or what are the things that the rest of the world is missing out on?
Let’s explore how we can leverage a lagom mindset to achieve a well-rounded, well-balanced, happy, and content life.
What is Lagom?
Lagom is a Swedish word that means “just sufficient,” “not more, not less,” “just right.” It represents the idea of living a balanced life. It is beyond a word; lagom is a philosophical concept.
Lagom is about finding balance in all areas of life – work-life balance, time spent with a family versus time spent on leisure activities, among others. The idea behind it is to take care of needs before they become wants.
Also, lagom is about consciously choosing to live in moderation and balance. It’s about being satisfied with what we have without always thinking about what we don’t have or what someone else has.
Where Did Lagom Come From?
Swedish designer, Hans Jonsson, coined the term lagom in 1947 as a reaction to what he considered to be the excessive use of materials during post-war reconstruction.
In the context of the lagom philosophy, lagom means that everything in life should be balanced and in moderation.
Alongside all the other Scandinavian countries like Finland, Denmark, and Norway, Sweden is consistently seen among the top countries in the World Happiness Report. Overall, happiness and trust measures did not fall even during the pandemic.
4 Primary Principles Of The Lagom Lifestyle
Lagom applies to many aspects of society and living, including:
- work-life balance
- respect for individuals
8 Steps To Achieve A Well-Balanced Lifestyle With Lagom
1. Keep It Super Simple Yet Functional
The world-famous Ikea is a prime example of embracing simplicity yet making their products highly functional. Design simplicity is about creating objects that are simple to use and easy to understand. The idea is to have something that doesn’t require too much explanation, so you can go ahead and use it without any supervision.
Similarly, the core element of the Swedish lagom lifestyle is to keep it minimal and simple. Keeping things simple in life and not complicating work or personal matters can reduce more than half the pressure we face.
The easiest way to keep life simple is to be organized in life. Being organized means having a system in place for how we work, what tasks need to be done for a sorted life, and by when they need to be done.
The other easy way is to make sure that we work on our priorities and focus on the things that matter most. Staying away from distractions can prevent chaos and regret later on down the road.
2. Fika Every Day And Embrace The Little Things In Life
To embrace the little things in life, we need to be mindful of them. It’s important to stop by and realize what we have. If we are mindful, then we will know what they are and appreciate their value. The best way to embrace the little things in life is to find gratitude for what we have.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, but it’s important to remember that there are so many blessings waiting for us.
The Scandinavian lifestyle is based on enjoying the little things in life, for example, meeting friends and having coffee(fika), lighting candles at home, throwing a barbeque party during summer, etc.
3. Sustainable Scandinavian Lifestyle With Social Awareness
Swedes take pride in following a sustainable lifestyle. From garbage management to battery-run flights, Swedish innovation is based on a golden thread of sustainability. No wonder activists like Greta Thunberg hail from this Scandinavian beauty.
The locals follow mindful consumption recognizing the value in everything they buy, want, or need. So, how can we achieve a sustainable lifestyle? Here are some of the most popular ideas:
- Buying locally grown/made products and recycling items when no longer needed.
- Using solar power for home or business. The Swedish government promotes solar energy and provides tax reductions if residents use solar power in their homes.
- Walking, cycling, or using public transportation instead of driving whenever possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from personal transportation.
4. It’s Perfect To Be Imperfect – Imperfections Aren’t Bad
Perfectionism is a mindset that can often have negative consequences. Trying to do something well is a good attitude, but there is always room for improvement. In reality, perfectionism cannot be easily achieved and can have serious long-term impacts.
Some of the disadvantages of perfectionism are:
- It makes us feel like there is always something wrong with our performance and drives a constant urge to fix things immediately. In contrast, Swedes enjoy a laidback culture, of course, in a sensible way. There is no serious urge to get things done right at the moment.
- Perfectionism can lead to excessive planning, over-thinking, obsessing over every detail to meet expectations.
- Perfectionists may become obnoxious over time and neglect others because they feel their efforts will not be recognized or appreciated by others.
Perfection doesn’t exist, and it’s not worth chasing after it. Just like the concept of lagom, there is beauty in the middle ground where life or the things you do are not too bad, nor too good, just right.
5. Learning Not To Compare Our Life With Others
In our everyday life, we have an unintentional tendency to compare ourselves with others. This leads to the feeling of being inadequate and not good enough because we think that other people are better than us. Unfortunately, this is worse than ever, thanks to social media.
To enjoy a happy life and become a well-rounded person, we must start looking inward and stop comparing ourselves with others.
Instead, focusing on bettering ourselves can lead to fruitful results. In order to do this, it is important for us to learn how to accept who we are and what we are good and not so good at.
6. Time For Self – Getting Outdoors
Swedes love to be outdoors and spend alone time. They tend to get outside for a short walk during lunch hours. There is so much natural landscape that makes it easier to achieve this.
But why is being alone good for mental health?
In order to answer this question, we need to understand what ‘alone time’ means and how it helps us as humans.
In a recent study, researchers found short intervals of a lack of social contact or staying alone make the brain more creative. It is important to set a period of time to spend with ourselves without any interruptions.
Alone time is the practice of spending some quality time on your own, usually doing something that you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking up an activity like gardening. It’s an opportunity for reflection and personal growth, which can help us take a break from the daily grind, recharge our batteries, feel more fulfilled and happy with our lives.
For example, it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially, while working from home with kids. A short walk in the natural landscape can help us get some fresh air and return with a fresh mind.
7. Workout And Take Care Of Yourself
This goes without saying. A well-balanced, happy life cannot form its formula without self-care and workouts. Taking care of ourselves helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will also help us stay fit and strong, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day can help reduce stress by helping your body release endorphins which are chemicals that make you feel good. Exercising regularly can also help improve moods and alleviate depression.
8. Find What Makes Each One Of Us Happy And Go For It
First, we need to understand what happiness is for each one of us. But, in general, happiness is a term that can be used to describe different levels of emotional well-being and the general sense of satisfaction with life.
For some of us, happiness can also constitute positive emotions such as contentment, pride, serenity, security, and joy. So figuring out what it is that makes us happy and then going after it is essential for a lagom lifestyle.
Personalizing Lagom: How To Bring Balance To Your Life With The Swedish Lagom Lifestyle?
Here are some of the ways to achieve a well-balanced lifestyle with lagom:
- Set your own personal rules for what constitutes “too much” or “too little.”
- Allow yourself small indulgences on a regular basis without going overboard.
- Find what matters the most to you in life.
- Put limitations on how often you eat out so that it doesn’t become a daily habit, but instead an occasional treat that’s worth looking forward to every once in a while.
- Start a journal and write down what you’re grateful for every day.
- Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy and engage in daily.
- Spend time with friends and family on a regular basis – spending time together strengthens relationships and improves the quality of life.
- Take a break from school/work and travel to places that brings joy.
A Word From AlignThoughts,
The Nordic countries rank highest on various happiness metrics, such as life expectancy, a sense of purpose, social support networks, and corruption perceptions.
The concept of Lagom can seem both complex and nuanced. It’s not just about doing less; it’s about making your life work for you, rather than vice versa. There are many ways to live a balanced and happy life; we have just outlined some of the top strategies for finding your own balance between work and play, rest and relaxation, health and fitness, etc.
Quality over quantity! In essence, lagom means to do something in moderation, with a focus on quality.
The main idea behind it is to live a balanced life where you are able to achieve goals while still having time for yourself and your family. If you liked the Swedish lifestyle of lagom, spread the word and share this article with your friends and family.
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