Embrace the Art of Lagom

When researching a recent post on hygge for surviving the Canadian winter, I stumbled on the concept of lagom.  http://www.postworksavvy.com/embracing hygge to survive winter

Some websites proclaim that lagom has eclipsed hygge as the latest Scandinavian trend. While a hygge way of living refers to coziness, warmth, and comfort, all of which can be fleeting, lagom describes a lifestyle for everyday life decisions. It means contentment with what you have.

Lagom (pronounced lah-gohm or law-gum) refers to the Swedish art of living a balanced life. The cultural roots of the word are traced by to Viking roots and incorporate ‘team’ and ‘law; as components. Loosely translated, lagom means ‘everything in moderation’. Not too little and not too much! This wellness term supports learning how to be content with ‘enough’.

Lagom is about individual perception and allows that one person’s lagom may differ from that of another so long as it is proportional to the needs of the family or group as a whole. For example, if eating together, food and drink would be taken in proportion to what is needed for sustenance and what is available. Everyone gets a fair share.

Lagom -- Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash
Lagom — Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

Lagom refers to a balance that makes life easier and more enjoyable. It’s a mix of philosophy and an overall approach to living well. The term also translates to mean ‘enough is as good as a feast’.

How to be content with enough

In a culture with continual social pressure to do more, buy more, and have more, it’s difficult to be content with enough. Sometimes, recognizing ‘enough’ when we have it is difficult! The pressure to overachieve and over-indulge surrounds us and leaves us exhausted.  Rejecting media notions of how to live is easier said than done.

Consumerism with its marketing emphasis on constant and never-ending consumption surrounds us.  Advertising bombards us every day. New gadgets, new clothes, new cars, and new technology purport to make life easier. Desires and needs are tweaked with promises of a better life.

A lagom lifestyle rejects outright materialism and consumerism in favour of a fuller life with less ‘stuff’. A lagom style of happiness involves a balance of productivity, relaxation, and time for doing what you love. It also involves streamlining possessions to eliminate excess in the quest for balance in everyday life.

A Lagom lifestyle advises an understanding what is enough.  This means clarity about needs and expectations. Knowing our values and living in sync with those values helps with achieving happiness with who we are and what we have. Overconsumption, whether too much food, too many drinks, too much exercise, too many activities, too many toys, too many diversions, is rejected.

Living a lagom life means understanding the concept of enough.  It involves discipline and restraint. Nothing in excess.  No extremes.

The emphasis on balance and stripping out excess is similar to the Marie Kondo philosophy — what doesn’t bring joy can’t be part of a lagom lifestyle!

Lagom and Slow Living

Just as the concept of slow food revolutionized eating and created awareness of eating better and more sustainably, embracing lagom leads to slow living.

Consuming less leads to a sustainable lifestyle that minimizes environmental impact. It means buying ethical products with packaging that is not wasteful.  It means buying well-designed, durable products. It means buying less and recycling.

Slow living means caring for oneself to conserve energy for those things that really matter. Making a ‘to do’ list that’s doable in the time available;  keeping a daily schedule that is not too busy; and, allowing for ‘goof-off’ time creates balance. Stress is reduced.

Lagom is a lifestyle characterized by moderation and balance. Striving for a little lagom in your life can lead to a comfortable fuss-free way of living.

Thanks for reading my post.  I’m interested in your comments.  How might you incorporate lagom into your life?  Does it make sense for you?

I welcome feedback and will reply to your comments!

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