Let Swedish Concept “Lagom” Bring Balance to Your Life

Mindfulness is a pretty trendy lifestyle choice that truly appears to be effective, though of course different people have different takes on it. Some professionals say that living in a fast-paced world where everything is instant exhausts us, and therefore we must sometimes slow things down a bit. For a person with a mental health condition, acceptance and awareness are necessary tools in order to find ways to live with it—though again, what worked for me might not necessarily be as successful for someone else.

There are many opinions on how to find a healthy and functional lifestyle that is most suited to one’s well-being. But if there’s another word to describe this world other than “fast-paced,” I think it would be “excessive.” We work so hard to buy so much stuff, eat so much food to do so many things, take in so much information in order to survive and then so much media to keep ourselves entertained. We need so much and want so much. This is why I find myself rather invested in the balance of one’s life as described by the Swedish concept of “lagom”.

“Lagom” [celebrates] the idea of “just enough.” It’s the space between minimalism and living in excess . . . 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.

The idea seems exciting, though a bit lofty. So the question now would be: how does one embrace “lagom”? Well, to answer this, you would constantly have to ask another question: is this good enough? Because good enough is the way to go for “lagom”. When it comes to housekeeping, one should learn to keep what’s valuable — don’t hoard every single souvenir, but don’t toss everything out so quickly either.

[B]efore 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.

As for work, you have to know your limits. Decide when enough is enough. Don’t demand too much, but don’t let your employer demand too much from you either.

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.

Another compartment of life that “lagom” works wonders with is your diet. This is because the idea of balance and moderation is best when it comes to nutrition.

[T]here 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.

Not every good meal has to be indulgent and expensive. Buy local. Grow your own produce. As long as it doesn’t take too big a space in your schedule, make time for things that will balance your life.

Like I said, you may read a lot of opinions about the real way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. You may hear from your momma or Aunt Carol about their own take. Then again, every person’s life is so specific, and what you end up doing with mindfulness, slowness, or even “lagom” depends entirely on how you want to live yours. “Lagom’s” only reminder is as simple as this: simple is best.

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Paralyzed Woman Writes Book Using Only Her Eyes

Locked-in syndrome is a condition where the person loses all muscle control or becomes entirely paralyzed, while maintaining most cognitive functions. In simple terms, this means they can still think and feel, but cannot move or speak. Some people, however, have found technological leads on how to help locked-in patients communicate, such as this nanoscience professor who created a computer interface that helps them identify letters and words using only their eyes.

Using a similar device, a woman diagnosed with the syndrome wrote an entire book about her experience. Mia Austin was only 21 years old when she suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed, but now at 29, she finished her book In the Blink of an Eye using only eye movement, a spelling chart at first, and eventually the specialized computer.

Her mother Carole, 62, recalls: “She [Austin] was in the hospital for around 14 months and writing poems and stories kept her alert and occupied. I think the idea [for the book] stemmed from there really.”

According to her father Rick, the book took about a year to write. Meanwhile, Mia’s siblings also helped in her process, especially with the spelling chart, which took a lot of energy and made Mia exhausted. Despite this, Mia just doesn’t seem to run out of achievements.

The book is by no means Austin’s only incredible feat of determination. She completed a criminology course at Wirral Metropolitan College in 2017 before signing up for a forensics course with the Open University. And this year she will begin another course in criminal justice.

Aside from academics, Mia is also incredibly engaged in charity work. She launched a campaign for disabled travellers. She participated in awareness projects for homelessness. She has been on aid missions to orphanages even outside the country.

In an interview with The Mirror, Austin explained her desire to give back to the charities that have supported her. She said: “I love to take part in new challenges to prove I can succeed despite my condition. I also want to support various charities because I have received help myself in the past.”

Mia’s story sort of robs us of any excuse to waste our energy today, doesn’t it? It could just as well inspire us to push our minds and bodies to the limit from here on out.

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Map Shows Literal Translation of Country Names

Not everyone who has walked through the beautiful pueblos of Spain knows that the country is named after rabbits. Likewise, you may have revelled in the sun-kissed beaches of Maldives, not knowing that the natives called their place a garland of islands. A beautiful name for a beautiful place, really. In an awesomely nerdy project that indulges our interest in travel, the Australian company Credit Card Compare created a map with the literal meaning of all the country names in the world.

“Learning the etymology – the origin of words – of countries around the world offers us fascinating insight into the origins of some of our favourite travel destinations and the people who first lived there,” the company says. Zooming in on continents and regions, from Europe to South America and Africa, the map offers a different perspective.

Varied reactions sprung up online, ranging from pure fascination to a personal need to verify the facts and study further, but one thing is for sure: the company’s research provides us with valuable insight to see the places we have been and the places we have yet to be in a new light.

“The interest has been enormous far beyond Australia because of some of the unexpected names. People are contacting us with their positive feedback and reasons for some corrections to one or two names. We plan to release even high-def downloads suitable for big poster-sized prints.”

A while ago, I wrote about the many different ways you can maximize your weekend. It could be difficult—though definitely not impossible!—to cram an exhilarating getaway in that two-day window. But sometimes, when you cannot go out there yet and travel, relaxing at home and making discoveries about the places you dream to explore could suffice. Make yourself a hot chocolate or a mojito, cozy up, and start with this map.

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Taco Bell’s Education Support to 210,000 Employees

As individuals, we can all act even in little ways to alleviate the condition of people who do not have the same resources as ourselves, like perhaps helping underprivileged kids gain opportunities through donations or planned skill-training sessions. However, it is undeniable that more action from institutions is necessary for greater societal change. States like New York and Los Angeles have been responding to this truth through community projects such as providing free lunches to hundreds of thousands of children and making library books accessible to low-income families.

A groundbreaking move on the corporate side has come from a famous fast food chain as Taco Bell helps all 210,000 of its employees towards educational opportunities.

On March 15, Taco Bell announced that employees at the chain’s 7,000 stores nationwide are eligible for education classes at 80 online universities, as well as tuition assistance and college credit for job training at the restaurant.

Other chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks also offer support to some employees through programs like this. Employees with a high school degree or less need the above-mentioned benefits to have better career prospects in the future.

“When we surveyed our employees, education support was one of the top three things they asked for,” Frank Tucker, global chief people officer at Taco Bell, said in a statement. “The barriers to achieving their education goals were time, money and support.”

Beyond this, the program also seems to be mutually beneficial to Taco Bell and its employees, as 98% of the people who participated in the pilot batch stayed in the company for more than six months. It’s a win-win situation for now, with even larger potential in the long run.

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Sustainable Ceremonies Top Wedding Trends

When it comes to weddings, it’s all about the bride and groom. No matter the price tag, food and decor are all up to the lovebirds. However, receptions can be wasteful, and newlyweds are starting to do something about it. For one British couple, it was all about serving up a zero-waste feast. But sustainable ceremonies aren’t the easiest to pull off — at least not without the help of Day Maker Events.

“Many ask for a green wedding these days. People show concern over the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials for the decorations. So, we thought why not go back to the past and our valuable traditions!”

To start a new age of wedding trends, the Kochi company in India provides a slew of charming decorations made entirely of coconut products. From grand arches to leaf plates, Day Maker Events knows how to keep it green. And definitely pretty.

“It is environment-friendly and it benefits farmers, too… Above all, the cost is very less compared to other types of decorations. Disposal after use will also not be an issue.”

The best part? Hiring them won’t cost you over a thousand bucks. Interestingly rustic, it shows us one thing: sustainability can come with style!

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Mediterranean Diet Prevents Heart and Brain Aging

Many people have different concepts of the best diet habits and what the best diet consists of. Here at our blog, I have written before about my personal stakes in maintaining a healthy diet and a co-worker has also said her piece on vegetarianism. Now, I consider myself far from a diet skeptic as I truly believe in having an eating regimen, but some fads just seem quite absurd, like surviving only on lemonade or grapefruit or baby food for weeks. A growing body of research agrees with me.

Scientists continue to affirm that this certain type of meal plan seems to be best: high consumption of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats; then low consumption of processed foods and refined carbs like white bread. This comes in various versions and labels as some people are completely vegetarian, while others choose to include eggs and dairy, or meat and fish, or all of the above, in their meals. But the base principle remains the same.

This Mediterranean diet or “plant-based” diet (or another label that you prefer) seems to be the healthiest.

In the latest issue of the Journal of Gerontology, scientists outline six recent studies of one version of the diet – the Mediterranean meal plan – and suggest that the eating regimen is closely linked to healthy aging, better mobility, a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, and improved cognitive function.

One study says that a “plant-based” diet may help slow cognitive decline among people who’ve had a stroke, and provide protection of the brain against neurodegeneration (seen in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). As for the more physical benefits, this Mediterranean diet provides protein for the muscles, fiber for the digestive system, and vitamins for tissues and bones.

This balance is also key to keeping you full after a meal and energized throughout the day so you don’t feel the need to overeat, Nichola Whitehead, a registered dietician in the UK, previously told Business Insider. “You need to have a balanced meal — things like whole grains, fibre, and vegetables — in order to sustain your blood sugar. Empty calories [like white bread or white rice] give a temporary fix,” she said.

Her use of the word temporary echoes with me as I think about other dieting plans. A “crash diet” doesn’t sound as good when you focus on the word crash, doesn’t it? For me, dieting is best when planned well and executed mindfully. Science can attest to that.

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Donkeys Bring Books To Rural Zimbabwe

We all know rural communities hardly get their fair share of basic necessities. However, recent changes such as solar roofing and drone deliveries have been making life easier for them. For this humble town in rural Zimbabwe, donkey-pulled mobile libraries are making their way to schools and other establishments.

Dr. Obadiah Moyo, the founder of RLRDP (Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program), credits the organization with creating the world’s first donkey-powered mobile libraries . . . These small, roofed, two-wheeled units are divided into lockable compartments, with space for up to three rider-drivers.

Donkeys are abundant in rural Zimbabwe and are used to carrying heavy loads, making them perfect drivers of the project. (Hee-haw!) A few of the carts also sport solar panels for charging gadgets as well as providing Internet and a printer. The upkeep is difficult, but covered mostly by various benefactors.

Moyo estimates that it takes about $150,000 a year to cover the operating costs of RLRDP, and the charity has received financial support from the Latter-Day Saints and Save the Children. As for the books themselves, many of them are supplied by Book Aid International.

Since the arrival of the donkey-mobiles, educational passing rates have risen. And hopefully, children and teachers alike remain inspired.

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Contact Lenses that Adjust to the Sun

The medical industry does not lack developments specific to addressing eye conditions. Some particularly interesting examples are the world’s first synthetic retinas and a teen-made AI system that diagnoses eye diseases. Today, I bring good news to my fellow four-eyed people: you can now wear FDA-approved contact lenses that adjust to the sunlight.

“This contact lens is the first of its kind to incorporate the same technology that is used in eyeglasses that automatically darken in the sun,” Malvina Eydelman said in a statement. Eydelman is the director of the Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The light-reactive lenses, which Johnson & Johnson calls Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology, are for everyday use and lasts up to 14 days. While it might not yet be available for purchase, it could hit the stores soon enough, as it has already been approved by Food and Drug Administration last week.

The contact lenses contain a photochromic coating that adapts to UV light exposure. Johnson & Johnson says the lenses will automatically return to a regular tint when exposed to normal or dark lighting conditions.

The company also reassures future buyers that wearing darkening lenses does not mean having to look like a demon or an alien; a gray tint just appears, which is nearly imperceptible in brown eyes and just the slightest bit noticeable in lighter eyes. So no worries there, pal.

Now I can barely wait for summer to try this one out.

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Permaculture Farm Is Feeding Families In Australia

At present, some 795 million people don’t get the proper nourishment they need. While the number is staggering, only a few farms and soup kitchens are taking action. This Australian family is playing its part, feeding dozens of families with produce from its 1-acre permaculture farm.

At Limestone Permaculture Farm, they grow organic produce, raise sheep goats and chickens, keep bees, and even build with recycled materials. Much of the farm is powered by energy from wood, water, and the sun.

In essence, permaculture pays homage to natural ecosystems and how they function. Instead of growing a single crop in large-scale, permaculture integrates symbiosis so different plants may flourish. Owners of Limestone, Nici and Brett Cooper, believe that permaculture is the future of food.

“We feel there has been an awakening across our beautiful country, self-reliance is on the rise again; urban and rural homesteading has people taking their food and energy supply back into their own hands.”

To encourage the unique farming technique, the Coopers offer workshops, internships, and permaculture design programs to tourists. As it seems, permaculture is opening doors for rural communities and, in turn, also helping out the needy.

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Can You Build The World’s Best New Phone App?

“There’s an app for that,” must be the expression of the century — after all, it’s true. You can spy on your partner, keep track of the places you’ve taken a dump, and seek cuddle buddies. Some apps demonstrate explosive popularity but only remain on the hot list for weeks, if not days (looking at you, Pokemon Go). So how exactly do you craft the next best phone app and remain trending?

Think about what people want. What is everyone’s latest obsession? Which apps have endured the test of time? Games such as Candy Crush maintain a steady amount of users and rake in a lot of credit. Consider how and why. You’ll soon figure that the answer is simple. Anyone can play it. Its features are addicting. It’s free but also tricks you into spending an occasional buck for that extra life. Here is where market research may come in handy.

But before getting your hands dirty, consider your audience. Do you want to build an app that caters primarily to millennials? Or do you want a few Gen X heads to turn? Making an “app for everyone” may seem like the way to go, but it isn’t always the easiest.

When brainstorming, play to your strengths. Sure, you can make an app for pretty much anything. But why not create something you are already well-versed in? After all, a physical therapist working on an app for 15-minute exercises does make a lot of sense.

Once you’ve established a general sense of what your app is going to be, it’s time for the nitty gritty. Give your app multiple functions. But focus, of course, is important. You can’t throw together a photo editing app that also allows you to order a pizza. Figure out what makes the most sense and deliver real value.

An app that can do a lot of things may seem the way to go, but not with a complex design. Make your app user-friendly. Windows loyalists may often tease Mac users for being technological dummies. But the truth of the matter is, Mac will almost always remain on top for the simple fact that it is easy to use.

A seamless beginning doesn’t always make for smooth-sailing in the long run. Keep track of bugs and when the going gets tough, communicate with your users. Just because something seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is. Take customer feedback seriously. What might make sense to you may be someone else’s worst nightmare. Troubleshoot with grace, like a virtual ballerina.

Most importantly, stay current. In order to remain relevant, keep up with the times. Upgrade your app to suit prevailing trends. Mermaid hair and rompers for men may eventually go out of style, but you don’t have to. Adjust to change, even when it means taking risks. Nothing ever comes easy to those who play it safe.

App-making is treacherous business, even for experienced entrepreneurs. But with consistent batting practice, any smartphone user could hit a home run.

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