Why You Need a Swedish Coffee Break

If you’ve ever considered adopting any Swedish traditions—and there are plenty of great ones to choose from—perhaps you should consider adopting fika, the Swedish coffee break.

Why is fika so great? Because it is so much more than a coffee break. Yes, you sip your coffee or tea, munch happily on a pastry, and socialize in a relaxed environment with friends. In that case, it’s a classic coffee break—in fact, that’s the entire premise of the tv show Friends. But fika is a time to slow down and appreciate all that is good and beautiful in life, to enjoy yourself without guilt or stress and relish in the moment. Here in the States, we are a culture in dire need of fika.

Workers in Sweden are among the least stressed worldwide. And yes, they get way more vacation time and work way shorter hours than we tend to do in the States, but a long, relaxed coffee and pastry break is also widely encouraged in the workplace. Eat a pastry, grab a coffee, and relax and socialize.

Fika is a beautiful reflection of a culture that respects self-care and cherishes mindfulness, which sets itself in stark relief to coffee culture here in the States. Here, coffee consumption is all about speeding up—staying awake even though you haven’t slept, grabbing liquid energy in a to-go cup, trying to make your body function at a reasonable capacity even though you’re stressed and your adrenals are wiped.

Here’s a fact: if your coffee is in a to-go cup, your not enjoying it mindfully. (Unless of course you put coffee in a thermos, hiked up a mountain and enjoyed your coffee on the summit. That’ll do just fine.)

Group of happy friends toasting cup of coffee

So, okay, fika is a really special coffee break, but what does it take to make a coffee break a fika? Here are some steps to having a proper, mindful Swedish coffee break…

1. Get comfortable.

No rushing between meetings. No taking coffee on the go. No sitting at your desk. Get comfortable, turn on some music and take some mental space.

2. Get a hot drink.

Traditionally coffee, but tea or hot chocolate are totally acceptable, too. Drink something non-alcoholic that you really enjoy. The break should feel slightly indulgent. For me, that’s good Ethiopian coffee or a pot of yamacha green tea.

Swedish Cinnamon buns

3. Grab a pastry!

Listen up, pastries can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Enjoying a small bun or cookie during a coffee break each day isn’t going to break your healthy diet. It is important to incorporate treats, just follow the 80/20 rule. That being said, if you have dietary limitations (like gluten or dairy-free), it’s still important to continue to abide by them. Unfortunately, fika is not some magical land without digestive ramifications. But, hey, a bowl of fresh berries and coconut whipped cream is nothing to sneer at.

Looking for some wholesome and delicious pastry recipes to pair with your coffee or tea for your fika? Try out a few of our Care2 favorites:

4. Find a friend… if you want one.

Fika is a great time to socialize and catch up with friends. Plan to have an afternoon fika with your friends a couple days a week to fit in some healthy, stress-free social time. But then again, if you’d rather be alone, treat yourself. Your fika is your time. Whether you spend it with others is up to you. Do what you feel will serve you best.

That’s it. There is no right and wrong way to take fika. Choose a pastry. Choose a coffee or tea. Find friends. Sit alone. Go outside. Snuggle up. Practice once a day, twice a day. Doing it is all it takes to make fika a part of your lifestyle. And you’ll be so glad you did.

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77 comments

William C
William C2 months ago

Thank you.

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Mike R
Mike R2 months ago

Thanks

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W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thanks.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson3 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson3 months ago

ty

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Katie S
Katie S3 months ago

"Listen up, pastries can be part of a healthy lifestyle" - thank you!!!

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Jessica K
Jessica K3 months ago

Sounds like a nice down-to-earth way to relax. Thanks.

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Brenda A
Brenda A3 months ago

Thanks

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Sara C
Sara C3 months ago

We love our FIKA here in Sweden 😉

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Thomas Rose
Thomas Rose3 months ago

excellent post.

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