How to practise Lagom: the scandi concept of balance and moderation

by | Lifestyle, wellbeing

So it seems like we have just managed to embrace Hygge and then another scandi concept word comes along! Lagom (pronounced la like ‘car’ and gom like ‘prom’)  is a Swedish word which roughly translates as ‘just enough, sufficient, in moderation’.

It’s no wonder it’s become yet another wellness and life concept people are keen to embrace when it’s all about a state of balance, sustainability and frugality. Whereas Hygge is more about moments in your day, in this article Lagom is described as an overarching way of living your life. So rather than adding Lagom into your day like a Hygge cup of coffee, Lagom is a whole life approach and philosophy.

Now this might just seem like another marketing machine trend, but what I like about these scandi words without direct translation is that they give a word to something many of us already do rather by accident. When you name something, you can become more intentional about creating it, if that is your wish of course!

I feel Lagom fits in so well with a lot of what I discuss here on Wholeheartedly Healthy, particularly around balance, and really joins together with Hygge to create a more balanced life all round.

So how can you start practising Lagom in your life for greater balance and wellbeing? Here are a few tips…

Balanced Eating

The first thing that jumped out at me when researching Lagom was how we can apply the concept to eating. At its very essence is an anti all-or-nothing mindset – eat in moderation, not too much, not too little. Even just thinking about Lagom as a prompt when you’re eating or planning your meals could help create more balance there. However, let’s add some Wholeheartedly Healthy realism in here – to me balanced eating totally includes that slice of cake at the weekend so don’t take Lagom to mean the absence of pleasure from food, think of it more around portion sizes and eating until you’re full but not stuffed.

Reduce Food and Energy Waste

Sustainability is a big theme of Lagom. IKEA even have their LIVE LAGOM project to demonstrate how to live more sustainably and in a more environmentally friendly way. Planning your meals, storing food correctly, just boiling the right amount of water in the kettle, turning off lights, etc, can all help.

Cut out the crap

I love the element of minimalism that comes across as part of Lagom. Whilst I’m not about to go totally minimalist in my own home, it’s a reminder how I can get rid of unneeded clutter, declutter on a bigger scale, keep my home tidier and as I’ll discuss in a moment, accumulate less stuff.

Buy Less Stuff

This element of Lagom totally resonated with me, especially having just recently watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix – I’d totally recommend you check this out! Alongside saving money I see it as a way of making much more conscious choices about what you choose to bring into your life. As a (recovering) shopaholic I’m working on going for quality over quantity, making sure everything I purchase is either beautiful to me or has a clear purpose and generally not just buying rubbish for the sake of it!

Capsule your wardrobe

I’ve been a fan of my capsule wardrobe for a long time. It’s completely transformed how I get dressed, and although it is evolving all the time, Lagom has reminded me to really dial into buying quality pieces. Having a capsule wardrobe simplifies getting dressed, is cheaper than buying more and more clothes and, as I’ve found helps you feel more confident because you really nail your own style. Not to mention purchasing more conciously and going for quality pieces is more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Save, then spend

Rather than popping everything on credit, how would it feel to save for what you want instead? Again, this is a very personal one for me and really taps into the frugality element of Lagom. It can be very easy these days to get credit cards and loans which often lead to money worries. Try working on gratitude for what you have now, curating your own possessions so what you have makes you feel good and then strategically saving up for that next perfect jumper or ideal home accessory. 

Look at your work / life balance

As someone who works from home running my own business this will always be something I need to check in on. Whether you work a 9-5 in an office or do night shifts, thinking about how many hours you’re working and whether or not you feel you have your work / life balance right is definitely a Lagom concept worth considering too.

Reminder, when it comes to Balance it ebbs and flows, it’s not static

I’m big on balance and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that it’s never a static thing. Lagom is about moderation but sometimes what you need in a certain moment to feel balanced is the exact opposite!

Apparently in Sweden some people think Lagom is rather boring – and I can see why, sometimes moderation is just not going to cut it! However, I feel if we take the right elements of the meaning behind it, just like Hygge, we can become more intentional around creating that balance and sustainability in our life when it serves us.

To me, Lagom seems to be about a simpler way of life, living in a more intentionally conscious manner and embracing all forms of balance – with the above caveat of course. I’m certainly not ditching Hygge, I feel Lagom fits alongside it nicely, and let’s face it, I’ve now got another excuse to plan my trip to Denmark, Sweden and Norway!

What are your thoughts on Lagom? Another trend or an interesting way to think about balance, moderation and frugality?

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Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living.

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