When it comes to self-care, we have our own definitions and methods. For some people, it just means maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet and regular exercise. For some, it means taking a mental break from work by playing video games or watching TV. If we need an LED light teeth whitening to look great and feel great, then, by all means, we should get one.
So it’s not surprising that ideas and methods on self-care tend to vary from culture to culture. It’s possible Americans would do self-care differently from people from South Korea. But it would be good as well to learn from each other. By finding out how other people care for their minds and bodies could improve our own methods. So here are the various ways of doing self-care, according to different countries around the world.’
A Break from Work Technology in France and Spain
Sometimes, when we love our jobs or when we have overbearing ones, the biggest challenge is completely disconnecting from work. Unfortunately, we find it very difficult to put our work phones down or to leave our laptops in the office. And this is understandable, especially if we work on jobs that require us to always be reachable. Some jobs, such as being a doctor or journalist, require us to be on-the-go at a moment’s notice when there’s a crisis.
But this attitude, of course, makes it hard to take proper breaks from work and focus on ourselves. This is why, in France and Spain, workers have the right to completely disconnect from work technology after work hours. Employers must negotiate the terms with their employees regarding this policy. And if they engage in a call with their employees after work hours, they must provide compensation.
This is a great example of self-care because it literally forces people to achieve a work-life balance.
Thermal Baths in Hungary
Filling up our bathtubs at home with bath salts and scented oils and then soaking in them is a common way of unwinding after a long hard day. Many of us do that at home already. But the people in Hungary and Japan take it to the next level.
In Hungary, it’s very common for people to visit a gyógyfürdő or a thermal spa. Sure, soaking in a huge communal pool for hours at a time with many strangers doesn’t sound appealing to many people. But the Hungarians value this form of self-care for many reasons. For one, these thermal baths are filled with water that contains minerals such as sodium, calcium, and hydrocarbonate. All of these have, of course, a positive impact on our bodies. Secondly, these thermal baths are a popular place for socializing between the Hungarians.
So instead of drinking our weight in various bars to unwind from work, we could just go to a thermal spa with our friends and have a relaxing night together.
Coffee Breaks in Sweden
Sometimes, in the middle of a grueling workday, we can sneak in quick self-care sessions in various ways. We would spend about ten minutes watching funny cat videos on YouTube to help reset our brains. Some would use that short time to do breathing sessions to help them fight through the building anxiety caused by work. And for many of us, we take coffee breaks with our colleagues.
For many of us, coffee is merely a way to boost our energy and sharpen our minds, especially on tough mornings. But for the Swedish folk, fika or coffee break is a social treat. It’s a way to reward themselves after working so hard all day. They take these coffee breaks so seriously that it’s a popular form of self-care.
For them, as they sit and sip their coffee, they’re resting their minds and bodies. They’re not drinking it for energy. In this way, a coffee break is a form of meditation. Perhaps, by viewing coffee in this way, we could start to remember what we love about it in the first place. It’s more than just for an energy boost.
Because of these varying ideas on self-care, the experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) published a universal definition of self-care. They believe that self-care embodies health and wellness. But it’s so much more than that. It’s also all about our living conditions, social habits, empowerment, and event community-building. It’s rooted in how we care for our physical and mental health, relationships with other people, and fostering cultural beliefs. This is why it’s good for us to be familiar as well with the way other people do their self-care. It’s our way of understanding each other’s cultures.