Why Fika is the Key to Happiness at Work

fika - coffee and an alarm clock on a table

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

One could certainly say that Scandinavians have a lot of things figured out. They consistently take top honours when it comes to prosperity, education, and happiness ratings, so we’d probably be wise to take their advice. We’ve posted before about the delightful, Danish notion of hygge (or the art of getting cozy). Our new Scandinavian obsession is the Swedish tradition of fika. Read on about why we love the idea, and why we think everyone should incorporate it into their workday.

What is Fika?

There is no literal translation for fika in English, but it is defined as “a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning to have coffee, often accompanied with pastries, cookies or pie.” But ask any Swede, and they will tell you that fika-ing (yes, you can use the word as a noun or a verb) is about more than just grabbing a coffee; it’s a moment to leave work behind. Traditionally taken twice a day (first at 10am and then at 3pm), it’s not a strategy for more meetings with coffee in hand, it’s a chance to actually relax with co-workers. Despite Sweden being the world’s third-largest coffee drinking nation, Fika doesn’t necessarily even have to involve coffee—tea or lemonade are popular alternatives. The point is to slow down and connect.

fika - donuts and coffee on a desk

Photo by Zach Miles on Unsplash

Why Should I Fika?

Work is inherently a social activity. It has to be; even if you don’t work around a lot of people that often, you do work for people. At the same time, people are getting busier than ever, and our work increasingly involves more technology and less interaction every day, so that can lead to more isolation in the workplace. When we’re not connecting with the people we spend so many hours a day with, there is potential for loneliness.

Studies have shown that loneliness and isolation at work can not only lead to depression, they can kill your job performance. Recognition, gratitude, encouragement, emotional support, and camaraderie are all important factors to finding fulfilment at work, and life in general, so nurturing these things with regular personal connection can increase productivity, improve motivation, and foster company loyalty. The stripped down, casual style of fika breaks can even lead to new ideas and more creative problem solving.

So, Ska vi fika?

4 Truly Heartwarming Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

What do you get the woman who gave you life?

Of course she’ll say that you don’t have to get her anything, because “you just being here is enough.” Moms… right? She’s selfless, she’s kind, she’s your biggest fan. Flowers or chocolate just doesn’t feel like enough, so give her something that really says, “Thank you for being you.”

Posters and Collages

She dressed you on your first day of school and she lit up every graduation photo. Mom’s greatest hits and proudest moments are meant to be displayed. Whether you compile the best of the great women in every generation (daughter, mom, grandma), or a series of family vacations, birthdays and holidays, a poster or collage is a sentimental keepsake, and the perfect Mother’s Day gift this year.

Just order a selection of glossy or pearl prints, and pick a collage frame that best showcases them. This kind of frame will also give mom the flexibility to change out the photos periodically with new ones, as the kids grow up, and there are new memories to share.

Or, if you’d prefer to print all your photos as one collage poster, you can do that too! Just choose a size and background colour, then drop your photos into one of our collage templates. Easy peasy.

Photobooks

Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one, or three, or five of your favourite photos. Over the many years of milestones, trick-or-treating and BBQ’s, you’ve filled drawer after drawer and box after box with glossy prints. We can take your photo story and print and bind a photo book, just for her. Flip through memory lane or compile her favourite recipes – either gift will be a hit with your #1.

Photo Mugs

Nothing is better with eggs and toast than a cup of Joe printed with love. Get personal with a Mother’s Day photo mug. You can add the kids’ handprints, or a photo of them shining their pearly whites, plus add a heartwarming message just for mom. To get started, either scan and upload your handprint art or photo at home, or visit us in-store for a little extra help from our LDExperts.

Mother’s Day Cards

Sometimes the little things speak louder volumes than something wrapped and boxed. Personalize a Mother’s Day card with photos of you together, a special message from the heart, and a theme that will fit her wildly individual spirit like a glove.

Be ready with the Kleenex, these gifts are sure to tug at Mom’s heartstrings! Order your gifts online at the London Drugs Photolab.

The Most Beautiful Blossoms in Canada

Despite some setbacks and non-starts this year, we are finally(!) beginning to see visual evidence of spring in Canada. Our favourite sign of spring is the emergence of beautiful blossoms, so we thought we’d better celebrate. Canada, we know you’re pretty. You don’t have to show off!

1. Almost There

These delicate little guys in Langely, BC are raring to go, now that the temperatures are finally cooperating.

2. Canadian Tulip Festival

Every May, Ottawa is home to the Canadian Tulip Festival, and this year’s crop is getting ready to strut their stuff.

3. Forever Cherry Blossoms

Vancouverites know that right now is the best time to take advantage of the gorgeous cherry blossoms blooming on streets and in parks all over town.

4. Butchart Gardens, Of Course

No visit to Victoria, BC is complete without a trip to Butchart Gardens, especially in the spring. Don’t you just want to get lost in there for a couple of hours?

5. Walking on Clouds

This little critter is hard at work, so we’ll stop and smell the flowers for him.

6. Wild Mountain Beauty

 

Along with their spectacular winter vistas, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta is also famous for their spring wildflowers, and they even celebrate with a Wildflower Festival every June. Half of all wildflower species found in Alberta grow in this park, and of those, 175 species are listed as rare in Alberta, and 20 are only found in Waterton. Worth the hike, to be sure!

Did we miss your #BeautifulCanada blossoms photo? Link to it in the comments or tag us on Instagram @LondonDrugs so we all can ooh and ahhh!

5 Simple Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Tips to Sleep Better London Drugs Blog

Sleep is essential for both our physical and mental wellbeing. And yet, so many of us are sleeping poorly. Experts say adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to feel refreshed. In 2017, Statistics Canada released a report stating that one third of Canadians sleep fewer than the recommended hours.

Insufficient sleep not only leaves us tired, but it can also be linked to health issues such as weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. So what can we do to combat common sleep issues?

Limit Caffeine, Alcohol, Eating, and Liquids at Night

Sleep Habits Coffee in Bed London Drugs Blog

While we might love our afternoon java, it is not doing our sleeping patterns any favours. The stimulants in caffeine and alcohol can impair our sleep when consumed up to six hours before bed. Experts recommend sticking to decaffeinated coffee at night and limiting alcohol intake. Drinking too many liquids after dark might have you rising often to empty your bladder, and eating late at night can leave you feeling too full or make it uncomfortable to sleep.

Maintain a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Studies have shown that maintaining a consistent routine helps keep our sleep rhythms on track. As tempting as those weekend lie-ins are, it may be messing with your circadian rhythm. If you’re struggling to fall asleep on Sunday nights, try adjusting your weekend sleep to be more similar to your workday routine.

Create the Right Bedroom Environment

London Drugs Homedics Soundspa EnlivenTemperature, noise, and light in your bedroom may be affecting your ability to fall asleep—and stay asleep. We all know how hard it can be on hot summer nights! Similarly, if your bedroom thermostat is set too high in the cooler months, it can impact your ability to sleep. Keeping your bedroom environment dark is also recommended for a good night’s rest, and if you are hearing traffic noise, consider using a fan or white noise machine. Try the Homedics Soundspa Enliven from London Drugs with eight soothing sounds and an auto-off timer to gently relax.

Consider a Sleep Supplement

Better Sleep Habits Sleeping Dog London Drugs Blog

Melatonin is a very popular supplement to help with falling asleep, and is often used to treat insomnia. Alternative options are Ginko-biloba, Magnesium, and Lavender. You can find a full range of sleep supplements at London Drugs.

Talk to an Expert

Visit a London Drugs location near you and speak to one of our friendly pharmacists who can provide expert advice on improving your sleep habits. Also, are you having trouble getting your baby to sleep? Read our Q&A with Baby’s Best Sleep for answers to some common questions. Sweet dreams!

Tips for Beautifully Organized Drawers

It’s easy to let your drawers fall into chaos. They’re only open for a few seconds at a time, and they’re easy to hide. But you know they’re there–whispering behind your back, just waiting to explode. We’re here to help you wrangle the clutter with these easy and satisfying tips for beautifully organized drawers. 

Tidy T-Shirts

Image from tiphero.com

If you have a big collection of t-shirts, you know how quickly your drawer can turn into a mess. To save time in the morning, and prevent wrinkles, stack your t-shirts upright in the drawer instead of flat. Your drawer will hold more, you’ll be able to see them all at once for easy choosing, and they’ll stay neatly folded.

Folding skills a little lacking? Here’s everyone’s favourite domestic aunt Martha Stewart to teach you how to fold like a pro:

 

Compartments, Compartments, Compartments!

Your silverware drawer is pretty organized, right? Knives, spoons and forks all in their right places? That’s because of the organizer that’s in there! You probably already have one in the kitchen, so why not get one for your other drawers that need some TLC? Cutlery trays are inexpensive, and great for keeping cosmetics, junk drawers, craft drawers and other small odds & ends tidy.

Image from Pinterest

Contain Your Containers

Photo from Real Simple

It’s your kitchen’s dirty little secret. It’s the drawer that you don’t open when there’s company over. It’s your…FOOD CONTAINER DRAWER! (Eeeeeek!) Don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone. Everyone’s is a mess. But it doesn’t have to be! Despite food storage containers being bulky, awkward, and mismatched, your drawer can actually be a soothing place of zen organization.

First things first–recycle any tubs or lids that don’t have a mate (or use the orphan tubs to organize another drawer–see below). Ahhhh. Feels good, doesn’t it? Next add a drawer divider or two and separate items into size/shape categories. Start with the largest items in the corner and add smaller ones around. Lastly, stack your lids horizontally so you can ‘file’ them instead of digging through the pile every time.

Pro tips: Nest plastic containers together, and turn them on their sides if the stack is too tall for the drawer. Don’t nest glass containers together, as they could get stuck together and break. And store plastic containers and lids separately, since a seal can trap moisture and create a stale smell.

Upcycle

We love a good upcycling tip! Keeping a messy drawer organized can be as easy as re-using old stuff from around your house. Have you got things collecting dust around your house like old gift boxes, egg cartons, muffin tins, or food containers without their lids? (Really, who doesn’t?) Well then, you have an organized junk drawer!

Image from zillow.com

 

There, another spring cleaning item checked off your list! Share your best drawer organization tips in the comments.

3 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Garage

At London Drugs we’ve shared tips for cleaning your computerkitchen, vehicle, and more. What’s next to declutter? Your garage, of course! The garage, after all, is the place where items from all these spaces, and everywhere else, often end up.

We get it. It’s a big space. But that doesn’t mean you should just put everything in there, wherever it fits, and look away.

Don’t worry, we can help you organize your garage in three easy steps:

1. Make a Plan

Image from morgansladephotography.com

First, consider the space and how to use it best. Already stumped? Start by hand drawing a floorplan, taking some measurements, and deciding where you’ll put the big stuff. For the rest, be sure to plan on putting what you’ll use most where you can get it easiest, as well as the opposite. Leaving space for a workbench and tools is also ideal, when possible. It’s just as important to consider what to remove. Remember: garages are often unheated, poorly insulated, and accessible to outdoor critters. So certain items should be kept elsewhere, including: plugged-in refrigerators (inefficient in high/low temperatures), paint cans (last longer indoors), pet food (too tempting for critters), paper products (ruined by humidity and mold), and noxious or flammable chemicals (better off in a shed).

2. Get Organized

After that, begin mentally or physically creating piles. One for things to keep, one to give/throw away, and another of things to sell. Take care of the non-keeper piles first, and do it fast. Many second-hand stores take bulk donations, and some accept unused building supplies. Then schedule a garage sale or list your sell-able items online right away. After that, begin dividing the keeper items into categories of similar objects, like “tools,” “camping stuff,” “clothes,” “kids stuff,” “holiday items,” “keepsakes”…the list goes on. After that, break those groups down more. Whose is it? What’s it made of? What’s it for? Let your organisational impulse run wild and never be afraid to use COLOUR coded bins or stickies. Once like is grouped with like, and you know where you want it to go, it’s time for some exercise.

3. Get Moving

That’s right, the physical portion of garage decluttering. You knew was coming, right? Don’t worry, it can be fun too. The key is having a place to put everything. So after leaving space for the big stuff, get to work creating perfect little spaces for everything else. Just take it one pre-organized category at a time. Of course, it helps to have enough containers, cupboards, hooks, shelves, jars, and boxes (just not paper ones, remember).  One thing you should really focus on is utilizing every inch of the wall space to save floor space for vehicles and walking on. You can stack, hang, shelf, peg, or hook a lot to garage walls, which are usually ten to twelve feet tall. Finally, make sure you have plenty of small or partitioned organizers, containers, and jars. When decluttering a garage, remember that it’s always okay to sweat the small stuff.

More Extra Clever Tips & Tricks

28 Brilliant Garage Organization Ideas (via Listoric)

49 Brilliant Garage Organization Tips, Ideas and DIY Projects (via DIY & Crafts)

Time To Sort Out The Mess – 20 Tips For A Well-Organized Garage (via HOMedit)

Good luck, and happy organizing!

Here are just a few items at London Drugs that can help you organize your garage in no time. Well, okay. Maybe in time for fall! [CLICK PRODUCTS FOR INFO]

 

 

ALSO: LD’s BEST HOME CLEANING TIPS & TRICKS

You can speak to an LD Expert any time, in-store and online. Or check out the latest flyer for our brilliant spring deals!

8 Easy Ways You Can Celebrate Earth Month

Earth Month is upon us, and to celebrate, we’ve put together 8 easy ways you can be a sustainability superhero all year long.

1. Recycle

Thankfully, recycling is now just a part of daily life here in Canada, and we here at London Drugs are happy to help you divert some of your unwanted items away from the landfill. Curbside recycling programs are of course the most convenient, but we accept some items that your local program might not. You can find a full list here of items that can be brought into London Drugs for recycling.

Packaging is a big part of landfill waste, so as part of our commitment to reduce waste, our Take Back the Pack program will accept packaging from any product we sell in our stores–whether it’s a tube of sunscreen, or a flat-screen TV. From plastic packs to cardboard, plastic wrap, and even Styrofoam, just bring the packaging to Customer Service and we’ll collect it and send it to local facilities for responsible processing. It’s easier on landfills, convenient for our customers and better for the environment.

2. Delete the Disposables

Disposable cups and food packaging are one of the biggest environmental problems we have at the moment. Here are some facts:

  • More than 1.6 billion paper and polystyrene cups are thrown out by Canadians each year
  • 2.5 million cups per day are thrown out in Vancouver alone
  • 114.5 million kilograms of paper cup waste—the equivalent of 22,900 elephants—is dumped into the landfills each year.
  • 10 kg of cups are saved from entering the landfill each year when a 1-cup-a-day coffee drinker uses a reusable mug instead of a disposable cup.

London Drugs carries a wide range of re-useable mugs and water bottles that will fit your lifestyle. Tossing one in your bag or backpack before leaving for work or school could save loads of landfill garbage each year. You can even get a custom photo carafe from our PhotoLab to keep your caffeine and your memories close!

4. Save Water

Canadians are already doing what they can to save our precious water. We turn off the taps while brushing our teeth, we take shorter showers, we don’t water our lawns on restricted watering days. But there is even more we can do to cut down on our water consumption. Did you know that a family of three can save up to 11,000 litres of water or more a year just by installing a high-efficiency showerhead? The Waterpik EcoFlow 3 Mode Handheld Shower Head can not only save thousands of litres of waste water, it can also save you money on your water and energy bills.

5. Reduce Household Energy Use

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

There are many small ways you can reduce the energy you use in your home that really add up. Here are just a few:

6. Shop Locally

Shopping locally is a great way to keep things green. Buying goods produced close to home saves the fossil fuel and emissions from things shipped from far-off countries, and bonus do-goodery – it helps the local economy! London Drugs supports local entrepreneurs and companies by carrying many products manufactured in Western Canada. Check out our Green Deals blog to see a full list of quality Canadian products that we sell.

7. Purchase Fair-Trade Products

If you can’t find what you need from a local company, the next best thing is shop for products labeled as Fair Trade. This designation tells you that these items were produced using sustainable methods  and that local people are receiving fair prices for the goods they produce. Many of the coffee brands London Drugs sells carry the Fair Trade designation, including Earth, Ethical Bean, Kicking Horse and Salt Spring.

8. Use Eco-Friendly Products

You can make a difference to the environment easily just by choosing gentler, greener products. Well, how do you know when a product is ‘green’ exactly? It can mean things like it has third-party sustainability certification, reduced or recyclable packaging, reduced synthetic chemicals/toxins, and many other factors. London Drugs is proud to carry hundreds of green products. There is no such thing as a ‘zero-footprint’ product, but we’ve got a full list of all of the eco-friendly products we carry on our GreenDeal.ca website, along with other tips on recycling and sustainability education.

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