Is Lagom a one word answer to a more balanced and happy life? Q&A with author Niki Brantmark.
Transitioning from one season to the next can be both exciting and overwhelming. For many of us fall means pumpkin spiced lattes, cozy sweaters and blankets. But it can also be tough getting used to shorter days and rainy mornings. We spend a lot more time cooped up inside reading books that have been on our list since the start of summer.
One book we all went to bed early for, was Lagom. Wonderfully written by Niki Brantmark - a London girl who went to Sweden a decade ago and fell in love with the Swedish way of life. Not surprising as Sweden is often ranked at the top of most livable places in the world.
Niki Brantmark is not only the founder of an award-winning interior design blog www.myscandinavianhome.com but has also written several books, including Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life and The Scandinavian Home, she shares her home in Malmö with her husband and three children.
Lagom is a Swedish word that can be defined as ‘just the right amount’. To help us understand the philosophy behind Lagom, we spoke to Niki who not only answered some of our burning questions but also shared some practical tips for how we can find balance and apply Lagom at home, at work and even to our wardrobe!
Q) How did you first discover lagom?A) I first visited Sweden when I was around 9 years old. We spent the summer at a friend’s cottage and our days were spent swimming in the lake, eating freshly baked waffles with lingonberry jam and building dens in the forest. It was carefree with no schedules to keep and no demands. This is where my love affair with the Nordic country began. It was only when I moved to Sweden 15 years later I realized that the slower pace and wonderfully balanced way of life could be put down to the Swedish word Lagom – meaning “not too much, not too little - just right”.
Q) Was it easy to adopt lagom philosophy and apply it to your own lifestyle? Perhaps your family found it challenging?A) When I arrived fresh off the plane from London I noticed I was walking double the pace of everyone else and working long hours without a break. I was constantly tired and stressed out. I started to notice that Swedes were walking (or cycling) at a slower pace, but still arriving on time. I learned that a simple bouquet of flowers from the garden or nearby countryside were equally, if not more beautiful – and that not only is it OK to take breaks at work and leave on time – it actually made me more efficient. I have been adopting this slower, more balanced way of thinking ever since (sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously!).
Q) Why did you decide to write about your experience and why lagom in particular?A) In a world where we’re connected 24/7 through the internet and feeling more and more stressed, there’s something important about switching off, slowing down and taking time to do things right, in an uncomplicated way. I found that the Swedish word ‘lagom’ and the way Swedes tend to lead their life helps to achieve this. In adopting a more lagom way of life, you can find greater balance and more time for the things you love.
Q) If someone was to apply the lagom way of life could you share some tips on how they could achieve this at:
Home – apply the less is more philosophy to your home and have a declutter. You’ll automatically feel more organized and relaxed and more easily able to appreciate the possessions you have.
Work – take regular breaks. Down your tools and take a 5 minute breather away from your desk. At lunchtime, make sure you take a decent break and eat a nutritious meal which will set you up for the afternoon. Not only will you have more energy throughout the day, you’ll be more efficient too.
Wardrobe – try having a capsule wardrobe so that you can easily mix and match your clothes. This will mean you’ll get more wear out of each item and it will take less time in the morning to pick out your outfits.
Q) What are the main benefits of lagom lifestyle and why would you recommend it especially in the modern-day world?
- You’ll feel less stressed
- You’ll find greater balance
- You’ll find more time for the things you love
In this day and age, everybody needs a little bit of lagom in their life so if you want more ideas you can grab yourself a copy of the book here. The lovely images featured in this blog all came from Niki’s archive, give her Instagram and wonderful blog a follow for your daily dose of Scandi inspired interior decor ideas.