If you’re feeling a bit frenzied now that the new year is in full swing, like all your good intentions can’t be met because you simply don’t have enough time, then Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living is for you. In the book, Linnea Dunne, a Swedish-born writer who now calls Dublin home, explores the idea of lagom, a word for which there is no true English equivalent, though the loose translation is “not too little, not too much, just right.” This seemingly simple idea is the key to slowing down, steadying yourself, and making room for those good intentions.
Far from restrictive, lagom is a liberating concept, praising the idea that anything more than ‘just enough’ is a waste of time. Crucially it also comes with a selflessness and core belief of responsibility and common good. By living lagom you can: Live a happier and more balanced life, Reduce your environmental impact Improve your work-life balance, Free your home from clutter, Enjoy good food the Swedish way, Grow your own and learn to forage, Cherish the relationships with those you love.
The concept of lagom may sound similar to the recently popular Danish notion of hygge, but hygge is more about creating a feeling of something special, while lagom is rooted in the practical. Being Swedish myself, I can tell you we love our pragmatism: why do two things when you can do one, why work hard if it means not having much of a life at home, and so on.
And that is the next important element of lagom: it involves slowing down not just at home but also at work. Swedes clock in and clock out at their appointed work hours, rarely staying late or arriving early, and their workdays often feature multiple fika, or coffee, breaks. This is rooted in the idea that work is a part of life, but it is not all of life. So workers need to tend to their other needs, often socializing over pastries and coffee before returning to work, a small break that makes them more focused and energized for the rest of the day to come.
As already mentioned, many of the things included in the book will teach you how to live with less. This also includes how to save electricity, money, food, which is written in a sense to save our world. To become aware of how consumerism is destroying what we have, what we take for granted, and how to start doing something about mother nature. The takeaways are the following: Don’t aim for more. Aim for enough. Enough food, clothes, working hours. Grab this book for further insides.