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Self Care: Should We Fika? – The Swedish Brilliance of Taking a Break

September is National Self Care Awareness Month.

This month, West Valley Mom’s Blog, its leadership, and its contributors, encourage you to purposefully focus on self care. Our goal is to encourage you to implement self care as part of your daily routine. Our contributors will provide different perspectives on the many forms of self care through our September Self Care Series.

Mom life is no joke.

Stay at home moms run kids from point A to point B, manage households, and often run side businesses. Working moms hurriedly get kids ready, rush them off to daycare, commute to work, manage office responsibilities, and then rush home to make dinner and get everyone to bed on time. Somehow we manage to squeeze it all in on a daily basis, but what we usually let slide is ourselves.

When we talk about self care, we usually talk about eating healthy and exercising. However, for me, I know that self care needs to include looking out for my mental health, and for me (and I am guessing for many of you), that means taking a purposeful break. As the saying goes, “there is no rest for the weary”, and this weary mom needs a break!

At work, I am terrible at this. I move from one task or meeting to the next, eat lunch at my desk while I answer emails, and run out the door when it is time to leave. I get to my car and realize that the only time I stopped working was when I walked down the hall to the bathroom.

It’s time that we all take the lead from our friends in Sweden and have a daily fika.

What is fika? In their book, Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall explain that fika means “to drink coffee”. I know, you are thinking, ‘Oh don’t worry momma, I have my caffeine needs covered, I just drove through Dutch Bros’. Nope, that’s not what we are talking about here. This is about taking a true break and savoring the moment.

Fika is a purposeful stop to the business of your day. It’s sitting down, alone, with friends, or with coworkers and enjoying a cozy beverage. It could be tea or coffee or even a fancy bottle of water. The point is that you stop, you walk away from your to do list, and you take a mental break.

In my opinion, the Swedes make this even better because they also customarily have a treat to go with their beverage. Typically, this is a homemade sweet, but it could also be an open faced sandwich, a store bought cookie, or anything else your heart desires (perhaps the No Bake Banana Bites featured on the blog earlier this summer or Sara’s Pumpkin Cake from last fall). The point is that you have something you can savor and enjoy.

There aren’t rules about where you fika, what you drink, or what you eat. The rule is that you fika. In other words, take a break. As Brones and Kindvall explain, “Fika isn’t just for having an afternoon pick me-up; it’s for appreciating slow living”.

Works Cited
Brones, A. & Kindvall, J. (2015). Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. New York: Crown Publishing Group.

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