Updated: Jan 7
Well as a Swede I’ve known about this saying for a while now, however NY Mag and other publications have started covering it – which I believe (admittedly biased) to be a great thing.
Fika really means to enjoy a cake, coffee or something sweet; in Sweden it is used for much more than that. It’s a time of day, a time for enjoying time, taking a break and just being. I have also recently started studying Secular Buddhism which focuses a lot on being present; I relate this to my meaning of Fika and have built it into my daily life and have found many benefits from doing so.
When I get too focused on the details of a photo shoot, or setting up a new client, editing photos or practicing new techniques and building presets – too focused on the little specifics – that yes, we need in order to be great at our jobs and life in general (especially as perfectionists), it’s so important to take the time out of your day to just be and enjoy. Not to reflect, not to think of how you could have done something better, not what you should of – could of –would of – to Just Be and Enjoy.
In Sweden Fika is something that people also say to each other – as in ‘let’s grab fika later!’ This means to stop and enjoy time to socialize together, without the cellphone, without the distractions. Just be with someone and talk the good things in life.
How to do it… Well it actually took me a ton of practice. As someone that could just keep going and getting things done, checking more crap and to-do’s off of my daily checklist, I had to physically schedule and mentally remember to build this into my life at first. I started with writing it in my day planner as well as setting an alarm on my phone. When it went off I would take 15. 15 minutes of just sitting down, having a glass of water or coffee, a healthy snack if I was hungry, a walk in the park, something that was close by where I could check in with myself and clear my mind.
At first my mind always wanders – this is normal but it’s more important to realize when it happens and to bring yourself back to not overthinking. Try focusing on your breathing, or something in nature, and just keep refocusing on it each time your mind goes back to thinking about work or what task you should be doing next. Not only does this support good mental health but it really gives you the time of day to allow new thoughts into your mind when you get back to work. It also has allowed me to become more grateful for the small things in my life and to remember to enjoy what I have.
So I challenge you to fika this week. To take the time out of your day to just be, breathe, reset your day, or to just socialize positively with someone (without the distractions!) and see what happens to your mental health and how you feel each day.