Book Review: Lagom-The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to simplify, slow down and find balance in my life, so I was really intrigued by the Swedish philosophy for enjoying balance in every aspect of life called Lagom, which means “not too much and not too little-just right.” This should be simple, but in today’s over-consumerist and sometimes chaotic world, it’s not an easy feat. Many of us need guidance in this department; myself included. This is where philosophies such as lagom come into play. They aren’t new ideas, but seem to be in great need and demand. Without further ado, here is my review.

About the Book

Lagom, the Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life is written by Niki Brantmark, the blogger behind My Scandinavian Home,  whom is originally from London, but relocated to Sweden when she met her husband ten years ago. The book begins with a little backstory of how she learned about the concept of Lagom when visiting friends in Sweden about fourteen years ago. She describes this lifestyle with such detail that, as a reader you can really picture yourself slowing down to enjoy what’s happening around you. She sets the tone for a way of life that is very enticing for those of us living a fast-paced and most-likely stressful life.

The book is then subdivided into sections. The first is Lagom in your personal life, which touches on subjects such as de-cluttering, DIY, furnishing your home the Lagom way (which means thinking about clean lines, practicality and affordability.) The author also talks about the importance of getting into nature, and bringing some of these elements into your home, as well as the importance of proper lighting during Winter months. Finally, Brantmark writes about proper sleep, benefits of being an early riser, the sauna, and taking a true break to disconnect.

The second section is Lagom in family and relationships, and sub-divided into friendship, relationships, parenting and celebrations. The author talks about many concepts that should be common practice, but may need to be brought up as reminders, such as being honest, punctual and the art of listening. In each of these sub-sections, the main idea is to slow down, take heart in the small things, and remember that we are not super humans.

Finally, the third section of this book is all about Lagom in the wider world. This part is about conserving energy and water, reducing our footprint, learning how to respect nature, thinking about others and contributing to community. She provides tips on starting a community garden, instructions for a DIY bird feeder, how to buy greener as well as a few interesting recipes thrown into the mix.

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The Review

As I mentioned, many of these concepts should be part of daily life for most of us, but the reality is that they aren’t. Brantmark states some of the obvious, yet also provides some wonderful tips to introduce Lagom into your life in a gentle way that doesn’t make you feel bad if you aren’t already doing these things. She makes it sound very doable and reminds us that moderation and simplicity are not only an integral part of human contentment, but also necessary for health and well-being.

Overall, I absolutely loved the book. I have even been using it as my quick reference guide for things such as the best plants to buy for your home, five small energy-saving habits to adopt today and tips for buying second-hand. Having read this book, I am not going to overhaul my way of life in a day, but it has opened my eyes to small ways I can inject Lagom into my routine at home that will improve daily life, teach my children important lessons and shift things for the better in the long run.

 

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