How lagom the Swedish concept of ‘just right’ can help you live a balanced life

May 9, 2018 by  
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If there’s one word that defines our modern lives, it’s this: excess. We own too much stuff, too many things compete for our attention (Should I binge-watch a show on Netflix or check in on Snapchat? …Or maybe both at the same time?) and there is too much pressure to have the perfect life that everyone on Instagram seems to have. It’s overwhelming. And while many people are embracing minimalism to combat the exhaustion of modern life, it can be a bit too limiting. That’s why you need to know about the Swedish concept of ‘Lagom,’ which celebrates the idea of “just enough.” It’s the space between minimalism and living in excess. Image via Jen P. What is lagom? The Danish concept of hygge has captivated people around the world with its emphasis on embracing the simple pleasures in life. Lagom, on the other hand, is about finding balance in every aspect of your life. Instead of eschewing your phone to light some candles and relax, it’s about finding the right amount of time to connect with the world without feeling overwhelmed by it. At its essence, lagom means enjoying a simpler life so you can focus on what is really important and makes you happy. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness Lagom — pronounced lah-gom — is knowing what is essential in your life and knowing when something isn’t serving you. The Swedish embrace lagom as a lifestyle — in fact, it helps inform the particular brand of socialism that helps Sweden thrive. The idea is that nobody in society should have too much or too little. Some argue that lagom can be negative, because it is based on Lutheran self-denial. But we think that practicing lagom can help you improve your life by embracing ‘good enough.’ In Sweden, lagom can be illustrated by how Swedes seem perfectly happy in homes that are only a fraction of the size of homes in the U.S. Do we really need all that space? Then, you have to fill it with more stuff and clean it, when you could be just as happy in a home half the size . It is also better for the world if we do more with less, and that’s an important part of lagom — making choices that may require a bit of sacrifice to benefit the world. With lagom, less is more, and instead of buying things we do not need, it is about finding pleasure and fulfillment in moderation. It is the belief that extremes on the spectrum are bad. For instance, exercise is good, but none at all is just as detrimental as too much. Cooking at home is good, but not if it stresses you out, whereas dining out for every meal could be a disaster for your budget. Image via Jess Waters How do you embrace lagom? To find your inner lagom, you need to ask yourself one question: is this good enough? Or, is this just enough? If KonMari-style purging feels like yet another set of rules that you have to follow in order to live up to someone else’s standards, stop and ask yourself if perhaps a light spring de-cluttering is good enough for you. If the pressure to hygge-fy your life has turned from taking a cozy moment with a book to the frantic pursuit of the perfect chunky-knit blankets and the best organic candles, it’s time to step back and find a balance between calm and pressure. Image via Bench Accounting Live lagom at home When it comes to the home, the trend is to toss everything out to achieve a simple lifestyle. Lagom guides you to embrace what brings you joy and eliminate what doesn’t. A little ‘ clutter ‘ isn’t always a bad thing – if you get real pleasure from a bookcase full of knick-knacks or a drawer full of your favorite pens, go for it. Just make sure that what you keep is valuable and utilized. A shelf full of books is just a burden if you never read them. The same goes for anything that is cluttering up your space without a purpose. Are you really enjoying that bar cart that you bought because it looked cute on Pinterest? If not, give it away on Craigslist. Then, before adding anything else to your space, ask yourself if things are good enough already. The point is to find a simpler life that still has room for the things that make you happy. Image via Bethany Legg Pencil in lagom at work In your work life, apply lagom by knowing when enough is enough. Instead of putting in extra hours to look dedicated, think like the Swedes, who believe that putting in overtime means that you aren’t working efficiently enough during your regular hours. Accept that work is an important part of life, but find the balance between letting it be the main focus of your life and an unpleasant task you charge through as quickly as possible. Set expectations with your employer: you will give your best effort while you are in the office, but after eight hours, you are heading out to enjoy the rest of the day. Instead of banking those time-off hours, use them frequently to give yourself a mental recharge. Image via Brooke Lark Add lagom to your plate The concept of lagom really shines when it comes to eating because it’s all about moderation — you can literally have your cake and eat it, too. The Swedish recognize that there is a time for indulging in all the delicious goodies that make a celebration great, but there is also a time to moderate. The first step to eating lagom-style is to eliminate waste. If you are tossing out a great deal of food, and your ingredients had to travel across the planet to reach you, you are definitely not embracing lagom. Instead of eating imported fruits all year round, try to find local produce that is in season. When you have a craving for something sweet, do as the Swedes do and take a fika — a short coffee break accompanied by your favorite treat. Not every meal has to be a huge presentation – something simple will do most of the time. The point is not to impress your friends but to have something that you enjoy from start to finish, while being mindful of your impact on the world. Let lagom bring balance to your life Lagom is something that you can incorporate into nearly every aspect of life. Think like Goldilocks: you are looking for the bed that is just right. Embracing lagom will not only simplify everything, but it will ease your stress and help you find the kind of balance that is essential to being happy. Next time you are doing something because you feel like you have to, ask yourself if things aren’t already good enough as they are. And instead of feeling guilty for enjoying things you think you shouldn’t, have them in small doses. Finally, be mindful of what you bring into your life and realize that sometimes the simpler things will ultimately bring you the most joy. That’s the key to living lagom. Lead image via Robson Hatsukami Morgan

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How lagom the Swedish concept of ‘just right’ can help you live a balanced life

IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

August 14, 2017 by  
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You now have one more reason to love IKEA . By 2020, the Swedish company plans to cut food waste by 50% at its stores — including its restaurants and smaller bistros. To accomplish this, employees will use digital scales to record the type and weight of food sent to the bin. In turn, they will learn the cost of the discarded food and its carbon footprint . Over time, the data will help the company make big changes. In the US and UK, between 30 and 40 percent of all food is tossed into landfills . This conundrum persists, despite the fact that 795 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each evening. IKEA’s new initiative will not only reduce the amount of methane pumped into the atmosphere as a result of rotting produce, it will hopefully encourage other corporations to tackle food waste in their own spheres. Said Ylva Magnusson, communications manager for IKEA Food. “Our ambition is to work together to create positive change together with other organizations and companies.” The new food waste system was launched in 2015 and rolled out to stores in December of 2016. By May 2017, 20 percent of IKEA stores had it installed. As a result, there has been a reduction in nearly 80,000 pounds of food waste. IKEA is now in the process of implementing the system in all of its 400 stores, which serve 650 million customers a year. When an employee enters the type and weight of a food into the new system, they are also required to record why it was discarded. Options include overproduced, expired, spoiled or trimmings (such as the top of a tomato). The process takes seconds, but it will ultimately help the company’s restaurants become much more efficient. As a result of the recorded data, IKEA’s menu is likely to change. If a certain part of an entree is regularly documented to be untouched, IKEA will take this into account to reduce food waste . Said Peter Ho, IKEA U.S. food sales leader, “If we do see a significant amount of waste over a specific period of time–let’s say at 2:00 every day we’re wasting so many meatballs–then that says for us that we’re overproducing, and if we’re overproducing , then we can train our co-workers to minimize that waste.” For the initiative, IKEA partnered with LeanPath – the company that produces the digital scale. The company’s CEO, Andrew Shakman, said, “The moment you start measuring with technology you begin to change awareness levels and you cause people to start to think differently. Whereas in the past they could just throw something in the garbage , now they have to stop and for a moment; they have to record something about it. In that moment, you’re not just collecting data, you’re communicating your values.” Related: IKEA is now selling solar panels and home batteries in the UK “What you’re doing is really engaging your front line and enlisting them as the change makers on this hugely important global issue ,” he added. “They are uniquely positioned to resolve it.” In addition to reducing food waste in its own kitchens, the company will also encourage consumers to waste less. This is critical, as the Swedish company estimates that “plate waste” makes up about 50 percent of total food waste. At a later date, IKEA will also work with suppliers to reduce waste upstream. As Fast Company reports, both plans fit in with IKEA’s larger vision to produce more renewable energy than it uses by 2020 and to offer more vegetarian products that have a smaller environmental footprint than traditional options. + Ikea Via Fast Company Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay , IKEA

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IKEA plans to cut food waste in half by 2020 heres how

Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

August 14, 2017 by  
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There’s a new contender for the continent with Earth’s biggest volcanic region: Antarctica . Researchers found 91 previously unknown, massive volcanoes , ranging in height from around 328 to 12,631 feet. A University of Edinburgh third-year undergraduate student tipped the researchers off to the incredible discovery. Third-year student Max Van Wyk de Vries had the idea to analyze radar mapping data of the continent, and proposed a study to the university. Scientists were then able to verify there are indeed many volcanoes, concentrated in a region called the West Antarctic Rift System, and concealed by West Antarctica’s ice sheet. They say the newly discovered volcanic region is quite similar to East Africa’s volcanic ridge, which currently holds the title for the region with the world’s densest concentration of volcanoes. Related: Colossal landforms discovered under Antarctic ice sheet are 5X bigger than any on Earth Scientists drew on ice-penetrating radar measurements, satellite records, and geological information from aerial surveys to confirm Van Wyk de Vries’ concept. Van Wyk de Vries said in a statement, “Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood. After examining data on West Antarctica , I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally, I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet .” Researchers say the discovery could help them better understand how Antarctica has changed during the varying climates of history, and how volcanoes influence ice sheet fluctuations. They have not determined if the volcanoes are active or not, but the awareness of their presence could help scientists researching seismic monitoring in Antarctica. The research has been published in the Geological Society Special Publications series. Via the University of Edinburgh Images via Cassie Matias on Unsplash and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

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Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

Anders Berensson to turn 2 utility towers in Stockholm into picnic platforms in the sky

August 31, 2016 by  
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The Swedish Royal Court has hired Anders Berensson Architects (A-B-A) to breathe new life into 12 disused power towers in central Stockholm. In a creative approach to adaptive reuse, the firm envisions two of the towers as observation decks where visitors can take in 360-degree views of Norra Djurgården , the city’s sprawling national park. There, park visitors could climb high above the treetops to enjoy a picnic in the sky. The 12 towers in question were originally built to hold power lines over the tree canopy of the urban park, so the construction is strong enough to support pedestrian platforms. The architecture firm proposes turning two of the towers into elevated picnic spots, where people can enjoy a snack or meal and take in the skyline of Stockholm . Finding a way for members of the public to enjoy the disused power towers could help draw more people to the park, and the project would provide incredible photography opportunities from the upper decks. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse In order to transform the power towers into park-goer destinations, A-B-A proposes a design that would add stairs and platforms made from wood, rather than steel, to reduce the structure’s overall weight load. Wooden additions would also provide a visual contrast to the original towers, which are envisioned painted in yellow. The two observation towers would also house kiosks in the lower levels that would sell refreshments and serve as gatekeepers for the towers, which would likely have restricted hours. + Anders Berensson Architects Images via Anders Berensson Architects and Lennart Johansson

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Anders Berensson to turn 2 utility towers in Stockholm into picnic platforms in the sky

Solar and the circular economy: A recipe for climate optimism?

November 3, 2015 by  
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Ecological crises are piling up, but Swedish scientist Johan Rockström says the next few decades offer an unparalleled opportunity to undo the damage.

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Solar and the circular economy: A recipe for climate optimism?

ConAgra, Intel and turning corporate sustainability inside out

November 3, 2015 by  
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Suppliers, unions, investors, oh my! Companies are increasingly looking to external stakeholders to help shape governance priorities.

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ConAgra, Intel and turning corporate sustainability inside out

Why it’s time to radically rethink supply chains

November 3, 2015 by  
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Cargill, Fiat-Chrysler and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise help illustrate the evolution of supply chain sustainability.

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Why it’s time to radically rethink supply chains

Sweden’s “most sought after home” was created from Hemnet’s big data

May 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Sweden’s “most sought after home” was created from Hemnet’s big data Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: big data architecture , crowdsourcing architecture design , Hemnet , Hemnet House , Hemnet House by Tham & Videgård , house of clicks , swedish architecture , Swedish house , Tham & Videgård

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Sweden’s “most sought after home” was created from Hemnet’s big data

Swedish Juniper House mirrors its surroundings with a clever vinyl facade

February 18, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Swedish Juniper House mirrors its surroundings with a clever vinyl facade Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: blends with the landscape , camouflage house , Gotland , Hans Wegner , Juniper House , Juniper House Sweden , mirror home , modern architecture , Murman Arkitekter , swedish architecture , vinyl facade home

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Swedish Juniper House mirrors its surroundings with a clever vinyl facade

Utopia Arkitekter unveils gorgeous green-walled plan for transforming a Stockholm neighborhood

February 11, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Utopia Arkitekter unveils gorgeous green-walled plan for transforming a Stockholm neighborhood Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green apartment building , green architecture , green redevelopment , green roof terrace , Stockholm , Sweden , swedish architecture , Tham & Videgård Arkitekter , Utopia Arkitekter

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