Setting aside time to dedicate to yourself can be easier said than done.
But if you’re looking for an incentive to practise self-care, why not take inspiration from some other countries?
From Japan to Sweden, these places often have simple wellness tips built into their everyday culture…
1. Japan: Go forest bathing
Known as ‘shinrin-yoku’, forest bathing is all about communing with nature. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get wet – the practice calls for walking or sitting in a forest, soaking up the environment, and feeling yourself slowly unwind.
For so many of us living in cities, the calming presence of nature often feels a million miles away. But you might be surprised how hanging out with some trees can recharge your batteries and take you away from the stresses of daily life.
The key to successful forest bathing is to really switch off – ditch your phone and try to focus on your immediate surroundings as much as possible.
2. Sweden: Take a coffee break
‘Fika’ loosely means a coffee and cake break, and it’s a cultural phenomenon in Sweden. It means carving time out of your busy working day to pause, grab a brew and socialise with friends or colleagues.
It feels like we need fika more than ever – with work increasingly bleeding into our personal lives, many of us forget to take a break. A self-imposed fika will help you feel refreshed, more connected to the people around you – even if you’ve just spoken over the phone – and ready to attack the rest of the day. After all, who doesn’t feel better after a slice of cake and a cup of tea?
3. Also Sweden: Hop in a sauna
There’s a reason Scandinavia constantly tops the list for the world’s happiest countries – plenty of self-care tips are ingrained in their day-to-day lives, such as the Swedish obsession for saunas.
Known as ‘bastu’, saunas are everywhere in Sweden – you can go either with others, as a social activity, or solo. Once you’ve sweated out all those toxins, follow the Swedish tradition of jumping in a cold shower – we promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards.
4. Denmark: Get cosy
Hygge had a massive global moment in 2016 – it came second only to Brexit (inevitably) in Collins English Dictionary’s top ten words of the year .
Although it was a brief trend in the UK and Ireland, it’s been popular in Denmark for decades – and we’d argue it’s high time we got back on board with all things hygge. It loosely translates as ‘cosiness’ and is all about making your surroundings as comfortable, warm and peaceful as possible. Whether it’s cuddling up with fluffy blankets, lighting lots of candles or curling up with a good book, sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference.
5. China: Face tapping
Inspired by ancient Chinese medicine, face tapping – the practice of gently tapping key points on your face – has a host of suggested benefits. Skincare aficionados love it because it’s linked to increased collagen production and lymphatic drainage, but it’s also said to help you destress. Regardless, it’s an opportunity to slow down, focus on your breathing, and take some time out of the day for yourself.