5 ways to bring more Lagom to London life
We’re living in times of undue pressure that demand we constantly remain plugged in and connected with the rest of the world, stay on top of breaking news by the second, and keep up with the dizzying speed of technological advancements, lifestyle changes and pop culture norms. We continually feel the internal push against external pressures from our surroundings – from work, play, relationships and society.
So, we disconnect, detox and shut the world out in an effort to relax, recuperate and rejuvenate our bodies emotionally, mentally and physically. In our continued quest to find new ways of balancing our lives and inching closer to our happy mediums, we often look outside our boxes of comfort to draw inspiration and learn from others: what are others around the world doing well that we can emulate? What are they doing poorly that we can avoid?
The Swedish word ‘Lagom’ has recently emerged as a new lifestyle trend to consider adopting into everyday living. Often defined as ‘not too little, not too much, just right’, Lagom is a lot more nuanced than that. It is a mindset that proactively battles stress and living Lagom means doing our best to reduce sources of stress within our control in our lives.
Having too much or too little causes stress, so lagom tries to find its balance between both. For example, getting rid of things (less is more), work-life (balance), relationships (trust) or situations (harmony within society) that bring unnecessary stress.
So, here are five ways everyone can benefit from a Lagom mindset:
Fika like a Swede
A lot can be said for taking multiple breaks during our day to indulge in the tradition of “fika”. This social act is often translated as taking a break (fikarast) or pause (fikapaus) several times during the day to socialise with friends, loved ones and colleagues over cups of coffee and pastries like cinnamon rolls or cardamom buns. Even a five-minute break will help to clear our heads and reconnect with ourselves.
Learn to say no
The pressures we exert on ourselves often come from over-commitment. We have a hard time saying no to friends, family and colleagues. We often get pulled into unnecessary tasks that waste our valuable time. We interpret our refusal to take on those tasks as personally rejecting them as opposed to just rejecting their inconvenient requests. By constantly taking a step back to assess a request before responding with a resounding ‘yes’, we can begin to weed out irrelevant work.
Declutter your life
Lagom isn’t urging us to dramatically redesign our homes. After all, that would be unrealistic and expensive. What it wants us to do is honestly question why we own a piece of furniture or item that is taking up space. Start decluttering by making two lists – practical or emotional. Anything that falls outside of these categories is fair game for removal. The same can be said for relationships in our lives too.
Set expectations around you
Lagom implies moderation on one’s own terms. It’s a way of setting expectations, so when we do meet or exceed them, we are perceived as operating with high standards. Keeping bragging to a minimum can infuse the element of surprise into our relationships. Why not pleasantly surprise that new acquaintance by not showing all your cards at once? Admiration is often built up this way – the seductive art of measured revelation.
Reprioritize your work-life balance
Lagom aims to craft a life around us which we can comfortably sustain. It wants us to question why we are working overtime and to see if we can better allocate our time in order to rebalance our lives. When it comes to balancing the needs of our personal lives with our careers, lagom takes on the shape of moderation and sustainability. It wants to ensure that whatever decisions we make don’t negatively impact our wellbeing. Do you really need to work overtime? If not, then ask yourself why do you do it anyway.
Having lived on three different continents — Africa, North America, and now Europe — for extended periods of time, award-winning writer, speaker, and photographer Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström is drawn to the complexities and nuances of culture and how they manifest themselves within relationships. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and blogs at Lola Akinmade.