Whatever self-care looks like to you, whether it’s meditation, journalling, hot baths, long walks or deep conversations with a friend, it’s safe to say that how you choose to take care of yourself is a deeply personal thing. We looked at different countries and cultures from around the world to see how they practice self-care, and how we could shake up our own routines.
Nothing screams ‘self-care’ like a good old soak in the tub! Japanese Onsen refers to the natural hot springs where women come throughout their entire lives to socialise, regroup and recharge. They’re peaceful places that aim to be calming for mind, body and soul, and the waters of Onsen are believed to have powerful healing powers. Sounds like self-care perfection to us!
Coffee has become a part of most Western lifestyles—and Sweden is certainly no exception. The way they do it, however, is with intention and self-care in mind. Their tradition of ‘fika’ is about slowing down, practising some mindfulness and taking some time out of your day to connect with those that you care about. It’s about sitting down and enjoying a cup of coffee and a pastry, as opposed to grabbing one on the go in the desperate hope that the caffeine hits by the time you reach the office. Fika for everyone!
Danish and Scandinavian Hygge
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have read about—and seen all over Instagram—the warm, cosy movement that is Hygge. Hygge stems from an old Norwegian word for wellbeing, and as a practice, it’s about enjoying warmth and goodness in life all year round. It comes in the simple moments of enjoying the company of others or the company of oneself; reading a book by candlelight, taking a warm bath or sitting around a fire with good friends. Sounds like wintery perfection to us.
The entire realm of Ayurveda is rooted in self-care and it promotes practices that enhance wellbeing and health. Whether it’s daily self-oil massage with oils, meditation, tongue scraping, drinking lemon water, yoga or warm baths with oils—Ayurveda is the origin of many self-care rituals that have gained popularity in numerous cultures.
Hungarian people turn to gyógyfürdő, or hot baths, in order to resolve various needs within their daily lives. The hot baths boast a range of health benefits; as the waters contain healing minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, fluoride, hydrocarbonate, metaboric acid and sulphite—which are believed to create a healthy physical experience for all. It’s also a social form of self-care, as the baths are somewhere that people go to catch up.
If you’ve seen Eat Pray Love (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?!), you’ll have seen depicted the time and care that Italians take over eating meals. Instead of being regarded as a necessity that is to be rushed through, meal times are about talking, connecting, and deliberately not rushing.
Dinners in Italy usually take at least two hours—creating space for people to get away from the nitty gritty parts of their day and enjoy delicious food surrounded by the people that they love. The intention and focus on slowing down sounds utterly glorious to us (especially if it’s accompanied by pizza or pasta!). Enjoy Aperitivo time (happy hour) in the form of a pre-dinner drink (along with some light snacks, of course) before moving on to dinner.