6 Ways to Practice Lagom, the Swedish Secret to a Balanced, Happy Life

14 years ago, Niki Brantmark was invited to spend her summer vacation with a friend on the west coast of Sweden. “It was the perfect setting for the beginnings of a love affair - not only with my Swedish husband but also with the Swedish way of life,” she writes in her new book Lagom ($ 20, amazon.com, supported by essay database. Pronounced LAH-gum, the term translates to "not too little, not too much" or "just right" - and in Sweden it represents the art of living a balanced, slower, hassle-free life. “The Swedes take their time. They stop, they watch, they listen and they wait. The beauty of slowing down, I've learned, is that it helps you be more in the moment and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, ”writes Brantmark. "And there is something very relaxing and satisfying about it as well." Here are six tips from her book, to help you add more lagom to your daily life.

Adopt the morgondopp

Boasting 11,500 km (over 7,000 miles) of coastline and around 100,000 lakes, it's no wonder Swedes love to swim. But one type of outdoor bath stands out: the morgondopp, or morning dip. Most often enjoyed between May and September (although some hardy types work year round), morgondopp is usually enjoyed early in the morning before coffee. The bather dons a dressing gown and walks on the local bath deck.

How long you stay in the water depends on the temperature, which I've noticed as a national obsession. Swimming piers would not be complete without a small thermometer floating on the end of a rope. Some people decide on their swimming “season” based on these numbers. For example, my in-laws, Inger and Bo, start their season when the mercury rises above 10 ° C (50 ° F)! “As soon as I touch the water, I feel wide awake and ready for the day ahead,” says Inger. "It's just you and the great body of water. It is an incredibly humbling and so relaxing experience to feel the hot sun and the cool breeze on your body afterward. "

Nowhere near sea, river, stream or lake? Try to finish your daily shower with a spray of cold water. It may not be as attentive or stimulating as a swim, but you will still experience many physiological benefits and you will almost certainly wake up with a shock!

Dare to go alone

My Swedish friend Yvonne recounted how she once left for a solitary five-day hike through a nature reserve. Although she confessed that the amount of noises there is in the woods at night is incredible, the only time she was uncomfortable was when a party set up camp next to her. she and played the guitar until the early hours of the morning. Above all, she was excited that the experience was liberating and stimulating.

To be honest with you, I can't really see myself camping out alone in the woods at night, but it inspires me to go out for a few hours to feel the power of being alone in nature, and I hope it does. the same for you. It’s in those lonely moments that you enjoy the rustle of leaves in the wind, the sound of crashing waves or the distant melody of a lark.

Nature's uninterrupted charm allows you to slow down, turn off, and be alone with your thoughts - something of a rarity in the noisy world we live in today.

Create a capsule wardrobe

Basically, the Swedish wardrobe could be compared to a capsule wardrobe - a minimalist and very practical closet created by removing unwanted or unused clothes and replacing them with a limited number of very versatile and beloved clothes, which can ultimately be worn together.

Because a capsule wardrobe makes it easier to choose an outfit, you take the stress out of dressing and spend less time and energy shopping and doing laundry. It's also more economical, and those who try it say it makes them happier.

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