Learning The Art of Balance and Contentment
My life is busy at the moment. Very busy. Between running this blog, holding down a demanding full time job and planning a wedding, pretty much every minute of every week is accounted for. I'm not complaining - I have lots of exciting things going on right now, and for the most part, it's all good fun. But it can be tiring, and recently, I keep finding myself craving a free weekend, or even a quiet hour or two.
I've written before about how I'm not all that great at achieving balance in my life. I'm the sort of person who loves a diary full of plans and I'm always setting myself ambitious goals and targets, whether it be running a marathon or working my way up the career ladder. But recently I'm trying to be a bit more mindful to how I approach my life. I'm trying to achieve some sense of balance, because otherwise I know I'm just going to end up burning myself out. And to be honest, I know I need to crack it pretty damn quickly in order not to be a stressed out, over emotional mess on the week of our wedding.
So over the past week or so I've been doing some things differently. I've been trying to slow down, to compartmentalise, to worry less. And how am I doing that, you ask? Well, I've been practising lagom. If you're a long term reader of this blog then you'll have heard me banging on about the merits of hygge before, and now those wonderful Scandinavian folk have come up with a new lifestyle concept for us to get on board with, and it's come to my attention at just the right time.
Lagom is a Swedish term that roughly translates to mean "just right" or "just enough". It focusses on taking just the right amount from life, not too little or too much, and being content with what you've got. I learnt about it from the lovely team at Rekorderlig, who got in touch with me a couple of weeks ago to tell me about the 28 day tour that their sampling van will be taking this summer. They challenged me to think about how lagom could improve my life and kindly sent me a couple of ciders to try too.
Which is how I found myself having a pretty perfect Sunday last week. I woke up in the morning with a head full of wedmin - I've been getting myself stressed out about whether I'll have enough time to finish all of the DIYs I want to do and whether our wedding will look Pinterest perfect. Normally I'd have spent the day getting myself stressed out and frustrated as I tried to battle a neverending to do list, but after remembering about lagom, I approached the day differently.
I headed out for a long walk along the canal with my Dad - a good dose of fresh air and a bit of gentle exercise always makes me feel better, and after talking things through with my Dad I felt much less stressed. I did a little clean of the house - focussing on the things that would make me feel much better, like fresh bedding and a tidy kitchen. I sat and made a list of the things that really need to be done, rather than the things that nobody will really notice anyway. And then I spent the afternoon with family, enjoying good, simple food and catching up on all the minutiae of life (all over a delicious Rekorderlig cider of course).
By the time the evening rolled around, I felt a million percent better. Taking things a little bit more slowly did wonders for my mood and energy levels, and even though I hadn't spent the day ticking loads off my to do list, I felt way more empowered to tackle it when I woke up yesterday morning. Because taking that time out to focus on the important things in life was just what I needed.
It's a lesson that I'm always learning - that balance and contentment helps rather than hinders when it comes to living a productive life. And it's something that I'll be trying to remember long after the wedding is over. Because achieving lagom doesn't have to be some huge, daunting task - it just requires some little daily changes. Maybe it's getting some fresh air at lunch time or remembering to leave work on time after a busy week. Perhaps it's balancing out that giant slab of cheesecake by swinging by the fruit bowl the day after. Nothing huge or serious, just little changes that bring a bit more balance to life.
If you'd like to learn a little bit more about lagom and get your summer started the Swedish way, then make sure to check out the Rekorderlig sampling tour. You can find the dates and locations below:
- Box Park Shoreditch, London– 15th June
- High Street, Birmingham – 24th June
- Gunwharf, Portsmouth – 30th June
- Jubilee Street, Brighton – 1st July
- Rose Lane, Canterbury – 2nd July
- Queen Street, Cardiff – 6th July
- Crown Square, Spinningfields, Manchester – 21st July
*This post was in collaboration with Rekorderlig.