Fika for Life

5:40:00 PM

If I take away nothing else from the Swedes,  I’ll at least have learned about Fika.  Fika is an item, as much as it is an action and a lifestyle.  And I hope to incorporate it, exercise it, consume it, adopt it, and whatever other verbs I could possibly think of!

What is Fika?!
At its base, fika is a coffee break (although never, ever call it 
that unless you want to be exiled from Sweden!). Simply put, it's a cup of coffee accompanied by a snack.  This snack just happens to typically be a scrumptious Swedish pastry- Cinnamon roll, cardamom roll, Semla, waffle with nutella, princess cake…. All things I could gobble up without taking a breath. Plus, coffee over there is pretty amazing.  Not a coffee drinker? Enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate instead.  Sold aleady? There's more.

In Sweden, you Fika every day.  Possibly multiple times. Work places sometimes even incorporate designated Fika breaks! So what makes it different, besides always allowing yourself a treat with your coffee? You'd never put it in a to-go cup and rush off to work.  You don’t sit work on your next work proposal while sipping it.

Fika is about taking a pause from work and stress and chores.  Step away from obligations for a second.  Allow your brain to refresh, restart, and renew.  It’s like stepping outside and breathing in a breath of fresh mountain air after sitting in a stuffy car all day.
Fika is also a social time.  A time to connect with a friend or family member.  A time to catch up on personal qualms with a coworker instead of work tribulations.  A time to say hello to a stranger, or even just relax on your own.

The more I travel, the more I find other cultures incorporating an unwritten rule to take a break every day.  For instance, in Argentina, they mate- a ritual of drinking and sharing yerba mate tea each day. In contrast, living in a big city where business drives people, a designated break every day could be frowned upon as laziness.

 I want to incorporate Fika into my life, and I encourage you to as 
well. I think we can all learn from this idea of Fika as a lifestyle.  Maybe if every few hours we all just stopped and slowed down for a moment, people would be happier and more relaxed.   My brain is definitely sharper and more creative when I do this while working on something.  I'd hope it could also help disconnect from technology and social media for a little portion of the day if you approach fika as a time to connect with others or yourself.  And selfishly, outside all of the benefits, it's just an amazing excuse to treat yourself to something delicious!

So, go Fika!
Give your mind and body a moment to power down and freshen up.

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  1. I like the idea of giving the brain some time to relax and reset and how there's a term for this coffee break! Will be in Stockholm next month and I'll be keeping a lookout for fika moments! =)



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