What is Lagom? The meaning of Swedish Lagom

What is Lagom? Lagom is a Swedish philosophy which roughly translates to “not too much, not too little.” Any Lagom definition will describe this concept as being all about balance. 

The Swedish way of life champions the idea of only having what you need and nothing more. Lagom is just one of the many reasons to fall in love with Sweden. 

From the delicious food to the stunning scenery, it’s easy to see why people adore this Scandinavian country. Recently, many parts of the world have begun to pull aspects of Swedish living into their own routine. 

After all, who wouldn’t want to learn from one of the happiest countries on earth?

Lagom could be one of the many aspects of Swedish culture that makes the Swedes so wonderfully happy. That’s why we think it’s worth learning a little more about what Lagom really means. 

Here’s what you need to know about Lagom and how to bring it into your life. 

Define Lagom: The Swedish way of life

Most of us are already aware of Swedish minimalism. The idea we should all be more appreciative of what we have. Minimalism is an idea most people are beginning to take more seriously these days. 

This is particularly true as we search for ways to reduce the amount of waste we create each day. 

Lagom builds on the concept of minimalism and finding joy in your possessions. If you want to bring a touch of Swedish life into your world, Lagom is a great way to do it. 

The art of “balanced living,” which you can learn more about from Linnea Dunne, means looking at the things in your life and deciding what you really need. 

Lagom isn’t about getting rid of everything in your life but reducing the amount of clutter taking up your time and attention. So, how do you live Lagom? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy here. 

The idea is you improve your life by removing some of the things causing you stress and bringing more happiness into your world instead. 

Swedish Lagom believes all things in life have a natural balance. When we learn how to walk the line between not too much and not too little, we discover what it means to be content. 

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How to live Lagom: Swedish living

If you want to learn how to be Swedish, balanced living is just one part of the puzzle. The Swedish way of life is unique because it includes a variety of practices and traditions which make life just a little happier. 

For instance, many Swedish people use capsule wardrobes to reduce stress by ensuring they always have access to a selection of clothes they can wear together. Because capsule wardrobes simplify the process of picking an outfit, they mean you spend less time and effort on laundry, shopping, and even getting dressed. 

Other ways to embody Swedish Lagom include:

Balanced eating: 

You don’t have to go all-or-nothing with every meal. Eating just what you need, whether it’s something sweet and unhealthy, or something wholesome, is fine. Sustainability is a big theme of Lagom, so try to plan your meals in advance and buy only what you need. 

Once you’ve cleaned out the excessive products in your home, try not to buy anything you don’t really need. 

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Take breaks: 

Swedish people believe in the power of balancing your energy. If you want to access your own version of Swedish Lagom, practice a little Fika from time to time too. Fika means taking a break for coffee and cake where you spend some much-needed social times with loved ones. 

You might find the term “Lagom” when searching for the question “What is the Swedish equivalent of hygge?” Lagom is similar to hygge because it’s about making your life more comfortable and positive. 

Even breaks on your own when you put your feet up and relax can be helpful. 

Cut out the drama: 

Achieving true Swedish Lagom means learning how to get rid of the things in your life you don’t need. There’s more to this than just getting rid of clutter around the home. You’ll also need to look at your life and think about where you can get rid of excess stress. 

What parts of your life are weighing you down emotionally? Are you spending too much time at work, or not enough time with friends? Do you allow yourself to get overly invested in drama that doesn’t deliver any value to your life?

Get rid of your excess stuff: 

A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. This is a common concept of Swedish Lagom. Once you’ve finished getting the emotional mess out of your life, focus on your physical possessions. 

Go through your home one room at a time and ask yourself whether you really need each item you find? Be ruthless. The more you throw away, the more freedom you’ll have. 

Be more conscious about purchases: 

These days, most of us sail through life buying products whenever and wherever we like. Online shopping and contactless payments make it too easy to binge. Lagom asks you to be a little more conscious about what you bring into your life. 

How do you make Lagom part of your life?

Aside from the tips mentioned above, there are a few other ways you can make Lagom part of your life. As you’ll discover in books like “Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much” by Niki Brantmark, Lagom is a frame of mind. 

If you’re going to live a balanced life, you need to be more mindful every day. 

With Lagom, you don’t go out spending money as soon as you get it on the first products you see. Lagom asks you to save your money and spend only when the time is right. 

This makes it easier for you to decide what you really want, while helping you to find balance between financial indulgence, and preparation. 

Lagom also asks us to look at our work-life balance. 

Throughout history, Sweden has frequently been associated with happiness and a good quality of life. Part of the reason for this is the approach locals take to work. Though Swedish people are committed to delivering excellence in their work, they’re also big fans of taking regular breaks. 

Fika breaks are common in Swedish workplaces, and it’s rare for anyone to do overtime. 

Ask yourself whether you’re really balancing your work and personal life in a healthy way, or you’re putting too much of yourself into just one part of your life? It’s worth remembering the importance of work/life balance when studying too. 

Losing yourself in academics can be just as stressful as committing to too much work. 

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Finding your Lagom meaning

Like many parts of Scandinavian culture, making the most of Swedish Lagom is about discovering what works for you. Books like Hygge and Lagom by Barbara Hayden can tell you a little about the history of Lagom. However, it’s up to you to find your own balance in the world. 

Sometimes, the best way to channel Lagom is to focus on universal balance. In other words, if you want to encourage the world to give good things to you, give something good back. Random acts of kindness and being generally good natured to other people are common in Sweden. 

When you live in a community of people who put kindness first, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll receive care in return when you need it. 

Another thing to keep in mind when you’re practicing Lagom, is balance often comes in ebbs and flows. There will be times in your life when certain things begin to feel out of balance for you. 

If you’re planning for a test, then you may need to spend more of your time studying. If you’re working towards a promotion, you may spend more time at work. 

The key to Lagom is remembering not to let the imbalance go on for too long. Be opening to recognizing the parts of your life which are off-kilter. Once you see you’re no longer in balance, take steps to get yourself back on track. 

Discover your inner Scandi with these great resources on Amazon:

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
Shining a light on Swedish Midsommar
Getting a taste for surströmming
Welcome to the Swedish crayfish party
Enjoying a Swedish Fika moment
The history of Swedish fish sweets

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