December 8, 2021

Book review: Lagom by Niki Brantmark

The right amount is best. (Swedish proverb)

I read and reviewed a lagom book some time ago and this winter I decided to return to this concept. Why? To get inspired by a simpler and more harmonious life. The word lagom loosely translated means ‘not too much and not too little – just right.’ It’s about having a more comfortable and balanced life. Sounds good, right?

In the introduction we read a wonderful story where the author writes about her summer holiday in Sweden. Her Swedish holiday was carefree, uncomplicated and enjoyable. Even though it sounds so simple and idyllic, in my personal experience, I find it difficult to completely switch off and slow down. And now, when the festive season is coming, I’m feeling even more encouraged to try not to put too much pressure on myself to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas and instead to balance my energy to have more relaxed celebrations and to enjoy this special time with my family and friends.

The book Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life is divided into three main categories: personal life, family & relationships and the wider world. The book first focuses on home and personal life and how to make them more lagom, for example through decluttering, buying second-hand, bringing nature indoors, preparing your bedroom for a good night’s sleep, taking good care of yourself (oh yes!), enjoying time in nature, and integrating some exercise into your daily life.

Niki Brantmark also writes about work-life balance: this aspect is important to me, as I sometimes struggle with it. What recently helped me to have some perspective into my work-life balance are my values: putting my family and home life first. As we read further, the Swedes also try to have a balanced work etiquette: they work very effectively and timely (staying late at work is not popular in Sweden!). We also read about the importance of having a break at work or from any other daily commitments (in Swedish it’s called fika aka taking time for a coffee, treats and conversation with friends) and disconnecting from emails and social media.

Another chapter that I found inspiring was on parenting. Being a parent myself, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in raising our little ones. If we apply the lagom approach, maybe we’ll feel less pressured and plan our family life in moderation. After all, it’s good for our children not to be constantly stimulated and to be actually bored.

The book also contains lagom guides to celebrations (including Christmas and Easter), community, nature and eco-life.

Personally, I found the publication an inspiring and useful reminder about the importance of having a more balanced life. I think I feel ready for the coming festive season and the coming year. Let’s make them more lagom 😉

Have you recently read any books on the Swedish lagom? Please let me know in the comments below.