For the Swedish fika is the gentle art of taking a special break. Each day, time is set aside to spend time with a hot drink, often accompanied by a tasty snack and a chat with friends or colleagues. But fika is so much more than just a coffee break. 

In Sweden, fika is a state of mind. It’s time and space dedicated to relaxing, taking stock and refilling your reserves. It’s an oasis of calm purposefully built into your day, allowing you to (quite literally) switch off and savour time away from the distractions of technology, work and TV. If you can share it with a friend, so much the better. 

This is not about dashing around the corner to pick up a coffee and muffin on-the-go, or grabbing an instant cuppa. Fika should evoke the same sense of occasion and ritual that in days gone by was associated with a British afternoon tea. When you fika, you take time to make your drink special, whether you’re sipping a rich, creamy hot chocolate, a special fragrant blend of loose-leaf tea or a freshly brewed, aromatic coffee. A snack is optional, but in Sweden it’s usually a small homemade cake or miniature pastry

You can share fika with friends or fika on your own. You can fika at home, in a special local coffee shop, or take your hot drink outside in a flask to enjoy the natural surroundings of a park or garden. It’s the spirit that you bring to your break that makes it fika.

This custom of taking a mindful break isn’t just good for your wellbeing. It clears your head, helping you to make a fresh start afterwards with better focus and attention. 

This week, set some time aside for your fika and develop your own daily ritual.