What is ‘lagom’?


Written by Annamaria

14 Feb 2024

As you embark on your academic journey in this beautiful country, there’s a word that might just as well become your mantra for navigating through life in Sweden – ‘Lagom.’ This word encapsulates the essence of balance and moderation that is so typical for Sweden. So, let’s look closer into this Swedish concept to uncover how you can use it to make your student life more harmonious.

Lagom – definition

Lagom, pronounced ‘lah-gom,’ is a unique Swedish term that roughly translates to “just the right amount” or “not too much, not too little.” It’s the art of finding a perfect balance in all aspects of life – work, study, socialising, and even relaxation.

Lagom in Socialising

Connecting with other students and making friends is a huge part of university life. Lagom in socialising means finding a balance between solitude and social gatherings. This can be pretty hard when you come to Sweden because all we want is to meet new people and have new exciting experiences, right?
Know that enjoying the company of others without neglecting your own needs or wants is key to a Lagom social life. Some tips on how to find Lagom in your social life:

  • Choose quality over quantity – instead of socialising with as many people as possible, invest time and energy into making deeper connections with fewer people
  • Don’t feel pressured to constantly fill your time with social activities – if you’re tired or you need to do something else, just stay home
  • Take time for activities that recharge you and bring you joy – hobbies, calling your family, exploring places, etc.
A group of diverse friends are gathered outdoors, enjoying each other's company in a sunlit, casual urban setting, engaging in conversation with expressions of laughter and happiness.
Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Lagom within Academics

In Sweden, Lagom is more than just a word; it’s a way of life. You can incorporate it into your academics by maintaining boundaries. It’s about studying hard without burning out, socialising without neglecting responsibilities, and appreciating downtime without falling into the trap of procrastination. Don’t overburden yourself with excessive work; find a level of study that allows you to grasp concepts effectively without sacrificing your well-being. Lagom study habits promote efficiency and long-term success, some examples include:

  • Take regular breaks during your study sessions
  • Reward yourself for completing a task
  • Seek support if needed (study group, study counselors, etc.)
A hand holds a pen poised over a lined notebook, surrounded by study materials.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

Don’t forget about ‘fika‘ – the Swedish coffee, tea, or pastry break (whatever you prefer). 😋 It’s the perfect example of how you can introduce work-life balance into your life. Just find time for fika every day, whether it’s indulging in fika with your new friends or enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee on your own.

Find your own Lagom

As you navigate through your student journey in Sweden, take the time to discover your own Lagom. What feels right for you? What strikes that perfect balance? It is a personal journey, and embracing it means aligning with what suits your unique rhythm. In a world that often pushes for extremes, Lagom offers a refreshing perspective. It’s a gentle reminder that sometimes the middle path is the most fulfilling. May your student years be Lagom – just right!

Lycka till! (Good luck!)


Written by Annamaria

14 Feb 2024