The Swedish concept of lagom can help us to live a happier, more harmonious and balanced life, according to Scandinavian lifestyle coach, Maya Thoresen. Her book “Living Lagom – A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life” is a 21-day challenge with ideas to help you live a more lagom lifestyle. You can try everything from self-care to new activities, and get useful tips on how to clean up your home and your life once and for all. Create a healthier lifestyle – the Swedish way.
Linnea Dunne is another Swedish author, who has moved to Dublin where she lives with her husband and two half-Swedish kids, trying to achieve that lagom balance against all odds. She has written the book Lagom – The Swedish Art of Balanced Living.
What is lagom?
Lagom is used to describe the perfect state when something is neither too much, nor too little. However, no translation does the word justice because the word lagom contains a superficial logic. It is a word that dominates life, language and culture in Sweden.
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These books were written in 2017 and 2018 respectively and are easy-to-read books with beautiful pictures and essays. The books are detailing how habits and policies are supporting Swedes in achieving a balanced approach to life. Both contain many ideas that are worth adopting for the sake of one’s mental health.
In Sweden, if the question starts with “How much?” the typical answer is “lagom”. It is just enough to make you satisfied. The word implies a distance for extravagance and flashiness, although lagom is always positive, focusing on the absolutely essential, knowing when to stop.
One of the practices espoused is the possible benefits of adopting fika, coffee breaks of fifteen minutes, in the morning and afternoon. This is a very serious part of a Swede’s working day. The books will also show you how lagom can be incorporated into your personal life, family, relationships, work, home, health, and wellbeing. The Swedes apply lagom to most aspects of their life without thinking about it.
In many ways this is admirable. It is part of the self-restraint that has allowed Sweden to be an egalitarian society, a place where unions work harmoniously with industrialists, where people take their work seriously, but leave before 5pm to be with their families.
Create a Healthier Lifestyle – the Swedish Way
Both books have cheerful, eye-catching covers that clearly represents the contents of the books. In a Vogue article, lagom was explained through the country’s love of mellanmjölk (semi-skimmed milk) that is neither unhealthily full-fat nor flavorless and watery. Linnea Dunne describes IKEA’s sustainable approach to design and lifestyle, something that is not always apparent from the marketing IKEA has done in North America. One of IKEA’s design successes described by Dunne is the Billy bookcase. In fact, my study is full of them!
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Thoresen’s book includes some easy Swedish recipes to be enjoyed together with family and friends, a good activity instead of eating out. However, Swedish artists will tell you how much they hate lagom because of the constraints it puts on self-expression and the audacity allowed in ideas.
In conclusion I will say that If you like motivational self-help books, there is no reason why you would not enjoy these in spite of the fact that lagom as a lifestyle trend is increasingly a myth.
Create a Healthier Lifestyle – the Swedish Way, written by Tor Kjolberg