Tip 1: Identify the dimension(s) of your wellbeing that feel most unbalanced
Take a look at our 8 dimensions of wellbeing page. Are there any areas where you are not feeling balanced? Are there any areas that are skewing the time available for the other dimensions? Are there any dimensions currently missing from your life?
Once you have identified the imbalances, you can take small steps to address them. You can identify what you can you start doing, or probably, more importantly stop doing, to bring the balance back to those areas of life.
It is also important to recognise the reason for the imbalances. Sometimes there are external factors causing these. We can, however, always take some action to address the situation, even if only small. Sometimes a small change is all that is needed.
The great thing about lagom is that it is personal – it is what feels good and balanced to you. It is just the right amount for you and what makes your life balanced and content.
Tip 2: Focus on the wellbeing dimension that is the easiest to tackle first
Now you probably thought we’d say tackle the most unbalanced dimension first, but the thing is, it is probably unbalanced because you’re not sure where to start – and starting is the hardest part. So our advice is find something easy to tackle first – once you’ve taken the first step you’ll find it easier to take actions elsewhere in life.
When we started our journey in 2018 our most unbalanced dimension was actually Occupational, but the changes that were needed there just felt too overwhelming to start with. So we started by focusing on Environmental, specifically our physical environment – home.
Home was adding to the stress felt from work because home wasn’t feeling like the safe haven it should be. Home was feeling messy, cluttered, small and run down. We had too much stuff and it was making a good size 3 bedroom house feel small (and there is only 2 of us and a cat that live here). We were considering moving to a bigger house, which would have cost us more money to rent (money we didn’t have) to accommodate the stuff we had. The lack of perceived physical space was impacting our mental space. So the first thing we did was start to de-clutter. We called it #projectminimalist – check out how we started on our Instagram account.
Tip 3: Make a plan and start small
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Once you’ve identified the dimensions of well being you want to tackle first you may feel energised to fix it all and fix it fast. The problem with this is that the energy doesn’t last – you become overwhelmed – and soon enough it starts to feel too difficult and so you stop.
With tackling our physical space we took the approach of focusing on one room at a time. There are plenty of other theories out there for how to tackle de-cluttering – Marie Kondo’s Konmarie method is probably the most famous which focuses on tackling categories rather than rooms – but this didn’t ‘spark joy’ in us. We wanted to start small and see some quick wins so we started with the smallest room in the house – the bathroom.
Tip 4: Enjoy the process and acknowledge your progress
Often we focus on the outcome – what it will feel like when we have accomplished X,Y,Z, but in focusing on the outcome we forget to enjoy the process. For us, seeing the space appear before our eyes was the encouragement we needed to keep going. The realisation that it wasn’t the house that was too small but the fact we just had too much stuff. After each room, or cupboard or drawer we de-cluttered, we knew that there was still more to do, but acknowledging the action we had taken and the progress we had made was knowing that we had made another step towards our end goal.
Be mindful and intentional in the small changes that you are making – recognise the actions you are taking to create a more fulfilling life for yourself. The act of de-cluttering a room might not be the most exciting activity, but the process of decluttering is making space for you and your family, reducing the amount of things that need cleaning and organising, freeing up time which can be spent with your family – these are accomplishments to be celebrated.
Why not do what we did and share your progress on a social media page? It might help you keep committed to taking small action and you never know, you may encourage someone else to have a go when they see the positive impact it is having on you.
Tip 5: Don’t feel guilty
When you start making changes it is very easy to feel guilty for not having made changes earlier – for spending time on activities that weren’t serving you or distracting you from things that matter – for spending money on things that you now no longer need, use or add value to you.
It is important to recognise that we can’t change the past but we can leant from it. We can commit to do things differently in the future. We can agree to not let the guilt hold us back from making the changes we need.
We can also look at ways to ease the guilt which will naturally be felt. Here are some ways we ‘eased’ our guilt whilst de-cluttering our home:
- We looked for ways that items could be re-used or re-purposed
- We offered up unwanted items to friends, family and neighbours (using Facebook market place)
- We sold some more expensive items and added the proceeds to our saving pot
- We gave good quality items to charity
- We removed any waste items as sustainably as we could – anything that couldn’t be home recycled we took to our local recycling centre
How will you start your La Vida Lagom?
We hope that our top tips have encouraged you to think about the areas of your life that might be feeling unbalanced and take some small actions to get started.
We’ll be posting more blogs on other top tips and lessons learnt, focusing on specific wellbeing dimensions and more generally about the concepts of lagom.
Please feel free to comment with constructive feedback on this post or any topics you’d like us to blog about in the future. And if you want to reach out to discuss how lagom can be applied to your life please drop us a message using our Contact page.