The Nordic Way of Mindfulness Series PART 6: Shall We Fika?
Have you ever wondered how the Nordic people have cultivated a timeless tradition of mindfulness, finding tranquility and joy in the beauty of nature and the simplicity of life’s little pleasures? Join me as we embark on a serene journey through the heart of Nordic mindfulness, exploring cherished concepts like “Inre Frid”, “Mys,” the bond with nature and “Allemansrätt,” the celebration of seasons, the art of balance in “Lagom,” and the mindful pause of “Fika.” In this series of articles, we will delve into the wisdom that has shaped the Nordic way of life for centuries, inspiring a mindful and harmonious existence.
FIKA: The Swedish Coffee Break Tradition – Embracing Balance, Mindfulness, and Connection.
As coffee cultures around the world abound, few traditions hold the charm and significance of Sweden’s coffee break, known as FIKA. More than just a moment to refuel with caffeine, FIKA has embedded itself as a vital social custom, promoting happiness and connection in both personal and professional realms. In this article, we delve into the significance of FIKA in Sweden, its workplace and cultural roles, its link to mindfulness, and how you can embrace this practice in your own life.
The Essence of FIKA:
FIKA goes beyond mere coffee breaks; it encapsulates an ethos of embracing life’s pleasures amidst daily routines. The term FIKA, created by rearranging syllables from the Swedish words for coffee, “kaffe” and “kafe,” signifies a cherished pause in the day. While coffee is the usual choice, tea is equally acceptable during these interludes, making FIKA a customisable practice.
More Than Just a Coffee Break:
Beyond its role as a social event, FIKA has legal stature in Sweden, offering employees a dedicated break to relax and connect. This custom has proven effective in reducing stress and enhancing workplace harmony. Many companies have institutionalised FIKA, enforcing short breaks around 10 am and 3 pm, which have contributed to Sweden’s reputation for having a highly productive yet minimally stressed workforce.
The Link to Happiness and Productivity:
The introduction of FIKA breaks wasn’t arbitrary; it aimed to reduce accidents by addressing peak incidents around 10 am and 3 pm. This focus on safety laid the foundation for a culture that values both well-being and efficiency. The conversations that flourish during FIKA extend beyond work topics, fostering genuine connections and, subsequently, a happier work environment.
Mindfulness in Every Sip:
FIKA, however, isn’t just a coffee break; it’s a window to mindfulness. In a world consumed by digital distractions, FIKA offers respite. It’s an opportunity to be fully present: savoring the warmth of the cup, inhaling the fragrance, and relishing each bite. The communal nature of FIKA elevates this experience by promoting deeper connections and momentarily transcending daily pressures.
Introducing FIKA into Your Own Life:
The allure of FIKA isn’t confined to Sweden alone; anyone can adopt this practice to cultivate balance, mindfulness, and connection in their life. To introduce FIKA into your routine, consider the following steps:
- Create Space: Dedicate a specific time for FIKA, whether at home or work. Designate an area free from distractions to fully immerse yourself.
- Choose Mindfully: Select your preferred beverage and treat. Whether it’s coffee, tea, or even a healthier option, ensure it’s something you truly enjoy.
- Disconnect: Put away devices, mute notifications, and give yourself permission to be fully present during FIKA.
- Engage the Senses: Focus on the sensory experience – the aroma, taste, and texture. Allow yourself to enjoy each moment.
- Share the Experience: Invite a friend, family member, or colleague to join you for a FIKA. The act of sharing enhances the sense of connection.
- Embrace Conversation: Use this time to engage in meaningful discussions beyond work or obligations. Foster connections by exploring diverse topics.
- Mindful Pause: Use FIKA as a chance to momentarily step away from the demands of your day. Allow yourself a mental reset.
FIKA transcends its roots to become a universal practice that embodies mindfulness, balance, and connection. By understanding its significance, its link to happiness and productivity, and the simplicity of its introduction, you can embrace FIKA as a daily ritual that enriches your life. So, as you sip your coffee or tea, consider how a pause in your day can infuse it with a touch of Swedish tranquility and well-being.
I Frid, Madelaine.