Britain is moving back to normality, but not without some difficulty. People across the country are reporting anxieties about heading back to the office, dealing with stagnant friendships that couldn’t survive via video call, or even about simply interacting with people.
The language and cultural experts at leading language app Babbel (www.babbel.com) want to step in to help Brits adjust to ‘the new normal’. It’s time to worry less about returning to normal, and instead time to embrace the way of life that coronavirus has thrust upon us.
Introducing the next big Swedish lifestyle trend (as reported in Stylist) that we all need to be bringing into our lives: ‘Ensam är stark’
Linguistic expert at Babbel, Elin Asklöv, said:
“‘Ensam är stark’ translates in English to ‘Alone is strong’, which reflects just how important the value of independence is in Sweden. Striving for financial independence from the age of 18 and moving out of your parents’ home, making your own living and not being dependent on a spouse as an adult, nor children as you grow old, are principally all part of this Swedish concept. The motto is embodied in a high percentage of the nation’s single households (40%), with one in five people living by themselves, the highest number in Europe.
“So deeply ingrained, you can find the idea of being happy in yourself within the Swedish language itself: Take the proverb ‘Själv är bäste dräng’, which means you do better without help (lit. by yourself is the best farm worker), for example. The phrase ‘Man är sin egen lyckas smed’, translates to being ‘the smith of your own luck’, or creating your own luck. ‘Bra karl reder sig själv’ – a good man takes care of himself, ‘Ju fler kockar, desto sämre soppa’ – the more chefs, the worse the soup. The list goes on.
“While actively choosing to take time for yourself is a typically Swedish trait, doing so, or living alone doesn’t mean that you’re totally constrained to not meeting friends or family. It’s more that the option to spend time alone it’s not frowned upon, which may be the case in different cultures. With various mental health benefits, being just with yourself can provide relief from social pressures, increase mental happiness and improve stress management.
With social isolation on the rise in Sweden however, and four out of ten reporting involuntary loneliness, it’s perhaps best to live by the wise proverb, “Lagom är bäst (the middle ground is the best), to reap the full benefits of ‘Ensam är stark.’”