“It’s a happiness drawn from contentment with now.” Anna Brones, author of Live Lagom
We are continuing the voyage from the Danish Hygge to the Swedish Lagom: from the moments of cosiness and candles towards a more mindful and sustainable lifestyle of the Swedes.
Lagom is Swedish meaning something like: Not too much, not too little, but just enough.
It can be interpreted as being more mindful about what we consume and encouraging us to recycle and being more sustainable.
What does “just enough” or “just right” mean?
It is about wearing red-lipstick but leaving the rest of the face understated. It is about making a dinner out of leftovers because waste is a mortal sin. For me as a Finn, a visit to Swedish Sauna is extreme lagom: not too hot, not too much water thrown on the stones, very clean, and just the right size. And you don’t go inside naked.
A Merry Lagom Christmas
By choosing the theme of saving our planet, the lagom Christmas is about reusing, recycling and reducing whatever we might be using.
I keep on sending cards every Christmas. And it is a pleasure to receive them. But what to do with them afterwards. You can do a garland of old cards, you can hang the prettiest ones in the tree. Or do like my grandfather used to to: glue some colourful paper to cover the old texts, write your own wishes and send the card to a new recipient.
The only thing where the Swedes forget moderation are Christmas trees. My brother used to spend his Christmas with his family in Sweden. While skyping me on Christmas Eve, he would do a tour of the house: not one, not two, but 5 real Christmas trees in the house. Of course they were all going to be reused after Christmas or maybe replanted in the garden.
Following the tendency, you can create a lagom Christmas decoration with foliage, branches or flowers from the garden. Prefer decorations made of natural materials.
And make the decorations your self, that’s even better.
If you are buying Christmas presents, set yourself a budget and stick to it. Buy only environmentally friendly Christmas presents. Read our other article about eco responsible Christmas presents.
Give away or sell your old toys in the eBay, subito or leboncoin to make more space in the cupboards.
Give self-made presents such as knitted hats or socks, homemade marmelade or cookies. If you don’t have time or skills, charitable Christmas markets for schools, churches and associations are selling these kind of articles.
Give experiences, not material: I have offered my mom trips to visit us (and vice versa she has invited my kids to visit her), we got cards for a concert for the whole family, you can offer babysitting for people with small kids or dig sitting for people with dogs.
Psst. this Christmas my husband will get a voucher to play golf with me… (we just need the babysitting and dogsittting to be able to use it)
Get an environmentally friendly gift card for Gotta Joga (6 months for only 25€ (normal price 59€) and give the gift of yoga to a close one.
Further practical tips for a Lagom life
Fight the stress before it reaches you. Remember to take a coffee break (fika in Swedish): taking your eyes off the screen for 15 minutes and chat with your colleagues, being present for those 15 minutes removing other thoughts from your mind. A fika for the Swedes is what the aperitif is for the Italians: time to pause, relax and connect.
Me time (fritid)
With shorter working and school days there is time for me-time: hobbies and creativity: it proven that creativity and time in the nature contribute to increased happiness. Take up journalling, join a painting class or take a habit of going on a lunchtime walk. Make it a regular activity to feel the benefits.
Having a balanced diet. Take a pleasure from your treat, but don’t binge. 10% of the Swedes are vegetarians or vegans.
Improve your finances by learning to consume less to protect our planet. Be thrifty with your own resources for a sense of purpose. Getting rid of clutter and material obsession. Recycle, reuse and if you want to go a step further, look at your energy usage, where and what your buy, and how your travel to work and holidays. Grow your own food: edible greens and herbs grow in pots on your balcony.
Being fully present at home and at work, learn to take a step back and stop your mind spiralling. Embrace and cope with good and bad experiences. Live your life in a more authentic and focused way.
Being in motion
Do something that gives you pleasure and doesn’t cost much like yoga or running or has a practical sense to it: ride a bike to work or school, walk up the stairs.
More with less
You home becomes more peaceful when you consume consciously with a minimalistic Scandinavian design.
A Finn, yogini, mother, engineer, founder of gotta joga