Sweden

Living life in ‘Lagom’ – Swedish for ‘Just the right amount’

Lagom is a Swedish word for ‘just the right amount’ – not too much, not too little, just right’

It’s the Swedish art of living a healthy balanced life. I’m halfway through my trip and I feel like I’m the Goldilocks of Global Garden – I finally feel like I’ve found my ‘just right’ – my balance. Sweden has been teaching me a lot this week about the importance of equality. And equilibrium.

Swedish has perfected the art of living a healthy, balanced life

At the start of my journey my balance was way off… I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to miss a moment, especially on the trip of a lifetime. Or to not share all the new and exciting things I was learning with you guys either – I promised to be your eyes, your ears, your hands on this trip, I didn’t want you missing a moment either. I was writing to crazy hours of the morning and getting up soon after. But now I feel like I’m starting to hit my stride, my moderation, my balance.

The Swedish art of living a healthy, balanced life

Before we get started, I must fill you in. ‘Lagom’ is applied to just about every part of Swedish life – what they wear, how they work, how they treat each other. Think of it as the unofficial ‘stamp of approval’ that everyone has agreed on. It’s pretty much the highest compliment you can get – if someone has told you something was “lagom” you’ve nailed it!

Sweden believes its ‘Everyman’s right’ to enjoy nature.

How my week in Sweden taught me to reach Lagom

Hiking meets Fika

On Friday, the Weleda team and I ditched the desks for the forest and fika – which is basically Swedish for ‘taking coffee’ usually with a sweet treat like a pastry, cookie or pie. This, for me perfectly sums up lagom… 12kms of hiking would be far too healthy without a coffee break with a cheeky cinnamon bun (from the pastry chefs of the King himself I must say) to balance it out.

Nature finding lagom

We were hiking in Tyresta National Park and Nature Reserve. It’s one of the largest unspoiled forest areas in Sweden but sadly on August 1,1999, a fire broke out effecting 10% of the reserve drastically changing the landscape and wildlife.

10% of the Tyresta National Park was drastically altered by fire in 1999 the landscape and wildlife changed dramatically

But 9 years on, we can see nature finding its own balance, adapting to its new environment and healing itself. Some new plants and species have also decided to call this new landscape home balancing the negative impacts with new good.

Pollution and solutions for the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea suffers greatly from pollution, which largely depends on the nutrient release of agriculture but it’s not all doom and gloom, Yes, it’s a massive problem but there is are solutions – that governments can apply and ways we can take action too. I found my chat with Ottillia super inspiring. If we own up to our responsibilities, we can use our seas in a wise sustainable way with balance for nature itself – what’s in the sea but also for the different sectors that are using the sea.

Eutrophication is the ultimate biggest threat to the Baltic Sea

‘Being depressed about our oceans isn’t going to solve it. Things are moving in the right direction. But not quickly enough. We need to acknowledge the issues and do what we can to change – to find the right balance with the least impact on the sea. We can all be inspired so that we can change.” Otillia Thoreson, WWF

I’ve been talking with Otillia Thoreson, Program Director for WWF Baltic Eco Region Program

Lagom approaches to health

I went to the historic Swedish village of Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, showcasing the whole of Sweden with houses and farmsteads from every part of the country. We went for a journey back through centuries to discover the Swedish approach to health and how it has changed through the years.

Skansen is the oldest open air museum in the world

It was incredible to see just how far Swedish health has come, even only 100 years ago health wasn’t a choice, it was about survival. Today, in Sweden holistic health is a lifestyle. Here, health doesn’t stop and start when you get a pain or an illness and you walk in and out of a doctor’s office – it’s what you do during the day to day that heals your mind, body and spirit. When we have these elements in Lagom… we achieve the Swedish art of living a healthy balanced life. For Swedes, this is as important as any treatment they receive.

Swedish sauna

Heat yourself to better health then take the icy plunge. The Swedes attribute their endurance and longevity to the tradition of sauna. After visiting the Nynäs Havsbad, a rustic sauna followed by sea plunge pool I can see why.

Like fika, sweating away life’s problems in a baking-hot sauna is an essential part of the Swedish experience.

The Swede’s know that saunas create a similar effect on the body as moderate exercise – you sweat, your heart rate increases, your metabolism boosts and your limbs become more flexible. Your emotional and mental state benefits too and you will highly likely be feeling calmer and relaxed. If you’re not thinking about your jump into the ice cost lake after your hot sauna session that it! But the cold water takes over the holistic healing process where the sauna left off – boosting your immunity, testosterone, mood, skin tautness and sleep quality. Two opposites coming together can make the perfect balance.

The icy cold after the heat of the sauna balances the body

Finding my lagom for my body, mind and spirit

Here’s how I’m learning to keep things in balance – for my body, my mind and my spirit.

Lagom for my mind

I mentioned earlier that I’m feeling like I’m hitting my stride on this journey. This is the trip of lifetime, but I take my responsibilities to share what I learn with your guys following along very seriously. But this is a balancing act.

I can’t be too focused on sharing with the wider world that I am not present in the moment as it happens.

I’ve learnt that I need a plan – To work smarter. Not harder.

Logam for my body.

Becoming a ‘Sometimes-a-tarian’

I’m not into labels so I’m not going to declare now that I’m becoming a vegetarian. But I am going to be more conscious of my meat consumption and make a concerted effort to have more meat free days – to find my ‘just right’ somewhere in the middle. Learning that we only need 500grams of meat per week to meet our average protein and nutritional needs makes me feel like it’s a healthy and sustainable choice too.

Like the Swedes I’m going to make a conscious effort to reduce my meat intake

Logam for my soul

I am learning to listen to myself, my intuition. Our bodies are very good communicators, sometimes though, we are not the best listeners.

Your inner child that is trying to talk to you – Listen to it, acknowledge it and let it know that you’re there for it.

Treat your inner child with kindness and respect you would treat any tiny being.

Logam during Global Garden

You feel when you are on your right path, your soul soars and energy flood through your body.

On this journey, I am discovering the importance of enjoying spending time with new friends whilst making time for old. Of use the power of technology to connect but also to disconnect – we rule our phone, let’s not let them rule us. And to be just as awed by the city lights and natures lights.

It’s been a big week of self-learning, now for some playtime!

How do you find your Lagom?