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#MicroblogMondays 46: Coffee Break

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I recently read about fika, the Swedish coffee break tradition.  Like British tea, it sounds like something missing from my life: that purposeful break in the middle of the day with a good beverage and something small to eat.

I drink coffee and tea, and I eat meals, but I rarely take a break.  I am much more likely to consume the beverage while working.  Part of it is that my work day is both truncated and spread out — I work from about 9 am – 3 pm and then again after 8 pm.  When your work day is broken up like that, you tend to want to use every minute to its fullest.  Part of it is that it isn’t part of my culture; the break in the middle of the day.  I don’t know anyone who takes a break in the middle of the day on a regular basis.

But maybe I need to do this.  I need to declare from 1 pm to 1:20 pm, regardless of whatever else is happening, as my fika.  I especially like the idea of getting a cookie to boot.

Do you have any breaks built into your day?  And do you keep them sacred?  Or do they only happen when you can find the time?

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1. Tas IVFer 16. Parul | Happiness & Food 31. Mali (A Separate Life)
2. Rachel 17. Kimberly 32. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
3. Lori Lavender Luz 18. The Doglady’s Den 33. Queenie
4. Jen (Days of Grace) 19. torthú il 34. Infertile Girl
5. Lisa 20. Shail 35. Geochick
6. Solo Mama 21. One and Done? 36. Journeywoman
7. illustr8d 22. Daryl 37. Charlotte Gellar
8. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 23. Mary Francis 38. Traci York, Writer
9. Inconceivable! 24. Microblog Mondays: A blogger’s challenge? 39. Jamie
10. Mahathi Ramya 25. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess) 40. Jessica
11. Good Families Do 26. deathstar 41. Shilpa
12. Just Heather 27. Kasey 42. Sweet are the uses of Adversity
13. Isabelle 28. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 43. Vinitha
14. A. 29. Stacie
15. Teacups & Typewriters 30. Mali (No Kidding in NZ)

37 comments

1 TasIVFer { 07.13.15 at 6:30 am }

Being Swedish-Australian, it’s fika. That and logam are the best things about Sweden. Here, fika translates to taking a break at 10 am to walk to the coffee shop on days I’m at work. On days I’m at home with my son, we go to our local cafe for a coffee. Sometimes I’m allowed to drink it there, but sometimes I need to take it to the playground. Always I order 2 Jaffas with it, which my son gets. On weekends fika is home with my husband and home baked pastry.

2 Rachel { 07.13.15 at 6:35 am }

I take a lunch break at work sometimes, but sometimes I eat while I work too. I think I would benefit more if I did actually take a proper break, turn away from my work, and relax for a few minutes. Maybe I’ll do fika too!

3 Jen { 07.13.15 at 7:18 am }

I work compressed hours (full time over four days) so I always feel squeezed. It would be good for me to build in a scheduled break, and probably more productive too!

4 Middle Girl { 07.13.15 at 7:41 am }

I am in a traditional work place environment, an 8 hour day with mandated 30 minute lunch and 15 minute break periods. While I always take the lunch (though I don’t always eat) I rarely take the break anymore. I find I am more effecient when I just power through. I do indulge if I am feeling particularly tired or stressed–but not for coffee. I stand in the kitchen area or take a walk around the block. Weren’t work breaks here in the US called “coffee breaks” at some point. I haven’t heard the term in a long time.

5 Lindsay | Solo Mama { 07.13.15 at 8:59 am }

I do an absolutely TERRIBLE job at giving myself breaks at work. I just don’t take them, and often inhale my lunch while sitting at my desk at work. I keep promising myself I’ll do better, and go out…but then I don’t. I really, REALLY need to get serious about it!

6 illustr8d { 07.13.15 at 9:17 am }

This is something that I’ve wanted to include in my life. I’ve had the thought of a break in mid-afternoon. Just sitting and having a cup of tea or coffee and having a break from whatever the day has held.

I thought the idea of this was absolutely magical as a child. Not sure why I haven’t incorporated it as an adult.

7 Lisa { 07.13.15 at 9:19 am }

Pbtttt. I don’t even get lunch anymore. Yay “Merica.

8 Katherine A { 07.13.15 at 9:26 am }

I think that the idea of a deliberate break is a really good one. It’s a small step towards slowing down and living intentionally.

Can’t say I’m good at it, however…

9 Mahathi Ramya { 07.13.15 at 9:30 am }

I am not a coffee person, but take many breaks while working. I like this as i can stretch, walk, chat with colleagues and read newspaper, which will reduce stress in office. So, Melissa, i believe its really good to take deliberate breaks and i follow it 🙂

10 JustHeather { 07.13.15 at 9:58 am }

Definitely have a coffee break at work: 10 minutes, twice a day. (Plus a 30min lunch). But then again, I’m in Finland. 🙂

11 Jenn { 07.13.15 at 10:00 am }

I try to designate nap time as my not-mom time. I eat sitting down, maybe sit outside with a book or crochet, and refrain from doing tasks if I can. Naps aren’t long so I sometimes can 40 minutes if I’m lucky. Sometimes I eat ice cream.

12 Working mom of 2 { 07.13.15 at 10:25 am }

I’m an exempt employee with flex which means 15 min lunch so I can leave early…I usually work as I eat then spend the time doing stretches and exercises.

This post reminds me of two former work places long ago…at one, we in our little unit would all take our morning coffee break together and sit and chat and laugh…way past 15 min usually…good thing our boss was with us. At another job we all took our morning break together and played hearts…again the boss was there and it often went over 15 min. I miss those days. Where I work now there’s a break room but it’s small with 2 chairs and no one actually breaks there. We all eat at our desk or those that like to blow their $ go out to eat.

13 Isabelle { 07.13.15 at 10:39 am }

I don’t usually take a break, but I do sometimes take a few moments and have a cup of tea. This break thing reminds me of what I learned about construction workers in Hong Kong. The construction industry has a tradition and built-in break at 3:15pm for afternoon tea. I always admire that tradition and would like one for myself. However, my work schedule doesn’t allow it most days.

14 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.13.15 at 10:41 am }

When we lived in the Mediterranean area, I, too loved the afternoon break. Of course, there, the reason is that it’s so hot at that time that you can’t even move. Probably a different thing in Sweden.

RE the article: yes to cinnamon buns and not-so-much to rhubarb cordial.

15 Misha { 07.13.15 at 11:56 am }

A tea and a cookie break sounds like a magnificent idea!

16 loribeth { 07.13.15 at 12:30 pm }

I had never heard the term “fika” before I saw that article, but my grandmother was Swedish & always had a pot of Folgers brewing in the kitchen, & there were always neighbours dropping by for a cup & a chat. I don’t drink much coffee myself (I prefer tea) but the smell of coffee brewing always takes me back to her kitchen. 🙂

When I was working, I had two 15-minute breaks (morning & afternoon) plus one hour for lunch. In later years, it got harder & harder to take a full hour for lunch — I would generally zip down to the cafeteria or food court for some takeout & eat at my desk. But unless I was really, really busy, I would always take my breaks, generally around 10-10:30 & 3. In later years, I even set an Outlook alert to remind me to go. 😉 I used to go with my coworker(s) & we would sit down for a few minutes with our teas/coffees & chat in the food court, which was really nice. After they all left/retired, I would usually just go down & bring something back upstairs — but just getting away from my desk for a few minutes was a nice little break in the middle of a busy day.

These days, I still have a cup of tea right after breakfast & then again around 2:30. With a cookie. 😉

I wrote a #MicroblogMondays post about tea/coffee awhile back:

http://theroadlesstravelledlb.blogspot.ca/2015/04/microblogmondays-good-to-last-drop.html

17 Sharon { 07.13.15 at 2:27 pm }

Yeah, I do take a break most (though not all) days for lunch, but that’s the only one. In my job, it’s not so much the hours I am physically present as the amount of work I get done that matters, so that makes it even harder for me to take breaks. . . but I often think I’d be less stressed and more productive if I took the time to meditate for 10-15 minutes each afternoon.

18 Debbie D. { 07.13.15 at 2:45 pm }

Germans have a similar ritual, “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake). It’s usually between 3 and 5 pm and especially big on Sundays. It was a weekly habit when I lived in Germany, but life is more hectic here in North America and such little niceties of life tend to be forgotten. Pity!

19 Valery Valentina { 07.13.15 at 2:49 pm }

At my last workplace in the Netherlands we always went out for a lunchwalk at noon. Out in daylight, get our long legs stretched, DP, HB & me. To the supermarket, buy some breadrolls and on sunny days sit down in the park to eat and talk.
Also when working in New Zealand I remember going for lunch walks with coworkers, sometimes we circled the volcanic crater lake.

And i take mini tea breaks many times per day, working or not. With cookies!

20 torthuil { 07.13.15 at 2:59 pm }

One of the best things I started doing at work (teacher) in the past 2 years was NOT working through lunch. I would leave my classroom, go to the cafeteria, sit with people. Eat. Wehad 30 minutes for lunch. By the time I got to the staffroom, prepared food, and sat down before having to get back to classroom to prep for whatever was coming next, I would have 10, 15 minutes max to sit and eat. That doesn’t sound like a lot but it made such a HUGE difference in my mood and in the amount of food I would eat and enjoy. I would say my mental and physical health were so much improved. I hope I can keep that up when I go back to work. Right now, my breaks happen while baby sleeps. 🙂 My day is much less structured, so if she has a nice long nap the break can go on for quite a while, lol. I have to remind myself that there are tasks to be done. Sometimes it’s worth it to do them and sometimes it isn’t. 🙂

21 Jennifer { 07.13.15 at 2:59 pm }

I need a break! I feel like I am going going going all day long with my toddler.Nap time is often me deciding between eating lunch, doing housework, and taking a nap. I think tomorrow I shall try taking a break to decompress!

22 Shail { 07.13.15 at 3:02 pm }

Fika has a lovely ring to it. 🙂

23 Daryl { 07.13.15 at 3:31 pm }

I NEED breaks, and I can tell when I get to the end of a day when I haven’t had one. Of course, being with my toddler all day, I only get a break when she naps, and after washing dishes, cleaning up toys, and anything else that needs to be done first. Having a time built into the day sounds heavenly…

24 Mary Francis { 07.13.15 at 4:18 pm }

I am retired now, but taught for over 35 years. The morning and lunch breaks were a real bonus. They were important for re-energising, mentally preparing for the next lesson, reflecting on what had just happened, socialising with colleagues, and eating and drinking of course! When I employed staff, I insisted they took their breaks, often standing in for them if necessary. This wasn’t just philanthropy – the staff appreciated being looked after and the school benefitted from their loyalty and commitment.

25 Jess { 07.13.15 at 5:05 pm }

During the school year, no breaks…no middle-of-the-day coffee, just wolfing my lunch down hopefully before my students come in. Although I do like to get a coffee on my way home, before dinner, to kind of restart me for the evening. In the summer, I set my schedule unless I have trainings (and then again I decide if I’ll take those trainings most of the time), and so any work that I do is generally gardening or housework with some writing, reading, or playing my violin mixed in, and none of that really needs a prescribed break. I think I’ll institute this in August though, when I start working several days per week on revamping my units and prepping for September. It would be nice to have a Coffee Fairy show up in the middle of the afternoon at school, during a rare quiet moment… 🙂

26 Kimberly { 07.13.15 at 5:10 pm }

Whenever I make myself a cup of tea, I sort of disconnect from everything. Those few minutes while I wait for my water to boil are my moments. Relax and process the day ahead of me or whats left of the day. It might be all of 5 minutes waiting for the water to boil, waiting for the tea bag to steep, adding my cream and making my way either to the door on my way out or to my desk to do my work for the day, but those moments are mine to just process and decompress. If I need more time, I bake because baking is incredibly therapeutic for me.

27 Kasey { 07.13.15 at 6:07 pm }

Working from home while my kids are at daycare/school – I’m really bad at scheduling myself on fully home days, sometimes I feel like the whole day becomes a break. Then I have a day of back-to-back-to-back meetings and then there is no break at all. Grading AP exams a few weeks ago I loved that there was a scheduled break time and want to do this for myself. And if there is coffee and a cookie, that might do the trick.

28 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 07.13.15 at 6:50 pm }

Those do sound like lovely traditions. Some Latin American countries have a late afternoon merienda, which is similar.

I used to be very scheduled – including with breaks. But since I’ve been in such a weird, topsy-turvy transitional state, I’m still trying to find my new rhythms.

29 StacieT { 07.13.15 at 7:33 pm }

I’ve built “quiet time” into our daily routine. Everyone goes to his (or her) own space and does something quietly. I consider that time my sacred down time. 🙂

30 Mali { 07.13.15 at 7:51 pm }

Wow. I’m stunned that these breaks are no longer (or have never been?) part of US culture. We think we’re very similar, then a simple post like this floors me! Loving the discussion. I’m going to have to post on this – morning and afternoon tea breaks have always been part of my life, though much less so when working from home, and much less formally in workplaces too. But a lunch break in the middle of the day? That’s almost compulsory!

31 Laurel Regan { 07.13.15 at 7:58 pm }

I don’t take set breaks while at work, but since I don’t start work until 11 a.m. I normally enjoy my coffee while I’m checking out my usual sites and blogs when I first get up. So I suppose that’s a sort of break!

32 Queenie { 07.13.15 at 9:37 pm }

Nope, no breaks. I tend to work through lunch. It gives me a bit of extra time so I don’t have to stay even later!

33 Geochick { 07.13.15 at 9:53 pm }

I need a structured break…because with my smartphone and a myriad of other distractions, I sometimes wonder how much “work” I actually get done. My attention span is shot. Maybe taking tea or coffee at a certain time will help me be more disciplined.

34 Charoltte Gellar { 07.13.15 at 11:01 pm }

I love tea in the early morning when I wake up or at the end of my day it’s a nice way to reflect, unwind, get ready, etc. It’s a great reminder to sit and savor.
Linked up for my second microblog post!

35 Traci York { 07.13.15 at 11:11 pm }

Hubby and I used to something similar at the end of the day – after dinner, we’d have tea and some small sweet (chocolate hazelnut cookies were a favorite) while we watched one of our favorite shows. It was a nice way to relax and unwind after a long day.

We still do something similar, but lately our drinks have been alcoholic, and our snack is something salty. I really like the idea of doing something during the day, without the television. I’m going to try to incorporate it in my day, and see if it carries over into his weekends.

36 Shilpa { 07.14.15 at 1:15 am }

I m not a coffee or tea addict but I do take breaks from my work, those mini ones to refresh my moods

37 Cristy { 07.14.15 at 4:03 pm }

Yes, this is sorely missing from my life. Sorely.

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