Regardless of our life circumstances, it safe to say there is one thing we are all looking for: Balance. Most of us have a lot on our plates. Our jobs, homes, partners, kids, and friends, can all feel impossible to juggle. Apparently, the Swedish have given a lot of thought to this problematic situation, because they have an entire life philosophy dedicated to balance. Lagom is pronounced LAH-gum. It translates to “just the right amount”, or “not too little, not too much”. The idea behind it is to live a slow, balanced life. This is something we could all use some help with.
Lagom is all about the ability to spend time with yourself, and about challenging yourself to go out alone. Going outside alone can be a very liberating experience. The idea is to empower yourself to do what you want to do, even if there’s no one who wants to do it with you. The Swedish even go as far as going camping in the forest all by themself, while learning to take in the night’s scary noises.
While in America, taking a break during work is frowned upon, in Sweden, it is simply a natural part of the work culture. The ‘fika paus’ translates to a “coffee and cake break.” These breaks are for socializing with co-workers. A 15 min talking break should leave you feeling energized, motivated, and even more productive.
A Morning Dip
What’s the connection between a dip in the morning and balanced life? According to the Swedish, the morning dip is a great way to start a balanced day. The “morgondopp” is the first thing you should do in the morning, even before your coffee! The temperature of the water should be just right, and if it is, the dip should make you feel awake and ready to take on the day. If you are not near a lake, you can try ending your shower by letting cold water run for a few minutes, you will still get the physiological benefits of feeling relaxed, awake, and ready to take on the day.
Enjoying the Silence
A big part of Lagom practice is learning how to listen to others, and learning that awkward pauses in a conversation don’t have to feel uncomfortable. Waiting in silence after someone is done speaking is the polite thing to do in Swede. It means you let what others said sink in, you take time to reflect, and only speak when you can come up with a meaningful response. Try this the next time to talk to someone, you might learn something about them, or even yourself.