Tag Archives: sauna

Home Alone. How to Make Yourself Happy?

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This is how my poor phone looked like this morning…

At 6am this morning I became widowed by football for a week, as my boyfriend headed for Gdansk, Poland, to follow the European Championships.

Mostly for sleeping badly, I’ve been tired all day and the first thing I did when I arrived at the office was to throw my iPhone to the floor so that the front glass broke.

And that was only the start. As the hours passed, my bad mood got worse. My boss seemed a bit negative to my ideas and I had only boring things on my to-do list. I felt so frustrated that I even surfed the web in search of The Perfect Job waiting for me. Well, I found nothing but still: it always makes me feel a bit better to realize that there are other jobs out there and I won’t be stuck in this office for the rest of my life. Well, hopefully not in any office. But still, I get very impatient when I get the urge to move on and feeling that my capacities are getting wasted in what I do.

Anyway, in the end breaking my mobile phone turned out to be the best thing of today. It gave me an excuse to leave the office early and take the metro till Itäkeskus, a big shopping centre and a suburb around it in Eastern Helsinki. My friends told me that there I’d find the fastest and cheapest place for repairing iPhones, iTapsa. And it truly was an excellent experience! My bad mood was wiped away when I stepped in a little room in a “hotel of offices” where this young guy smiled at me and said encouragingly: “it will take only half an hour”. As an extra, I got a new yellow cover for my phone. Pretty.

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Itäkeskus – a multicultural and a bit rusty shopping centre in Eastern Helsinki. Worth a visit, definitely. Credit: Wikipedia.

After that I checked out the shopping centre. I hardly ever go there as I live in the centre – It’s amazing how fast one gets stuck in the same quarters. Well, Itäkeskus, “Itis,” is a multicultural place full of life and people from all corners – like a mini-visit abroad.

This afternoon I also went running, as the weather was perfect – finally! Normally I can only run for 30 mins but today I run around for an hour! I felt proud when resting a moment by the sea in the new suburb Jätkäsaari. For now it’s a huge construction site – and I love it! I have a special feeling for abandoned wastelands… do idea why, maybe they make me feel free.

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Jätkäsaari under construction. I love to run around here at the construction site by the sea. Credit: Helsingin Sanomat.

After the run I went to the sauna of our building, alone. It felt so relaxing and I threw a lot of water to the hot stones enjoying the almost +100C.

A glass of wine after the sauna culminated the evening. And now… I’m watching football! Spain against Ireland, and Spain shall win. I was begged to check out the match and try to spot my boyfriend and his friends in the audience… an impossible task.

Well, what I learned today was that a good trick to enlighten any bad day is to do something completely new and unexpected. Even a small thing. Like taking the metro / bus to a new suburb and wonder around among strangers.

Another well-known trick is to do some physical exercise. The third one is to enjoy a glass of good red wine and the fourth… of course the sauna. All this really works. Now I’m smiling, even if this morning I felt like crying for all the frustration and my broken phone.

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Our tiny Urban Agriculture project makes me happy, too – our basilica growing on the window. The photo is a bit old, today the plants are a lot bigger!

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… and our amazing orchideas make me smile daily! They’ve been blooming for months already and it’s a little miracle for the little care we offer them…

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Simple things – Helsinki, sauna and makkara

Today I found joy in so called small things.

It felt wonderful to go out after a couple of days in bed with a flu and to notice that I can breathe again, the sun is shining and there is a smell of spring in the air already. Today I worked from the home office, as I still felt a bit ill in the morning – which means I was still wearing pyjamas at 5 pm. So I really felt the urge of going out, called up my boyfriend who works nearby and who joined me for a little walk around the centre of Helsinki.

Children with their toboggans in Koff Park "Koffari" in Helsinki. Credit: Helsingin Uutiset

Of course everything was still in its place in the city, after a couple of days of my absence, and I loved to see all the familiar corners once more. We passed Koffin Puisto (Koff Park or “Koffari”) on Bulevardi, where children were riding their toboggans down a snowy slope and continued to the West Harbour, where the big cruises were starting their trips to Stockholm or Tallinn – as they do every evening.

West Harbour near my home in Helsinki. I love the old cranes - which are luckily objects of protection today.

In the end we visited our familiar supermarket to buy soya milk – and sausages, as it was sauna time tonight. I taught my (Spanish) boyfriend how to cook sausage on the stones of the sauna. It’s easy, as every Finn knows! Just wrap a sausage in a folio, add perhaps a bit of strong cheese and throw some beer on top of it – maybe vegetables too, and voilà! In half an hour you’ll have a tasty sausage waiting for you- while you are enjoying the hot sauna. This is a very typical Finnish thing, and some people make real gourmet experiments inside the sauna…

Getting professional! I found out that one company has even created a "sausage tube" for preparing your sausage, "makkara" in Finnish, in the sauna. Credit: Sauna-aitta

While the boyfriend went to have sauna with his friends, I enjoyed quality time with myself in the sauna of our apartment – in Finland almost all the apartment building have a common sauna, and you can get 0,5 – 1 hour a week of sauna for yourself by buying a small amount for maintenance.

A happy Finnish family having a sauna in the Oulu region, Northern Finland. The feeling of euphoria is always the same... Credit: Everyculture.com

I didn’t have sausages – as I’ve decided to spend the month of February without eating meat (more about that later). But naturally I had some nice red wine from Chile waiting for me.  Ah, it feels so good to be healthy again!

Not for vegetarians. This is how makkara-lovers like it - with mustard and ketchup, of course. Credit: HK Sininen - the most typical makkara trademark in Finland!

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How to do Finnish sauna?

Sauna…. aaah. The best ways to finish a busy, snowy January day. We live in an apartment building in the centre of Helsinki, but no problem: almost all the buildings have a common sauna in Finland. Our sauna turns are on Wednesday evenings and every second week on Thursdays. We have one hour, which is JUST enough.

Today my boyfriend could not join me, so I called a friend to join me in our sauna. In Finland you normally don’t have to ask twice to get some sauna company…

Sometimes foreigners ask me how they should behave in the sauna? This is quite a funny question for a Finn, as it seems so free and we are so used to everything sauna involves, but there are some relevant instructions and unwritten rules. On Cankar.org you’ll find FAQ on sauna. I also found the photo above there – Finns really love to have sauna everywhere, this time in a mock sauna during a summer festival.

But ups, one relevant advise is missing! Me and my friend just enjoyed the famous sauna beer – it tastes just perfect after a lot of sweating. And you can even take a beer with you in sauna and throw a bit on the hot stones – it smells like fresh-made bread. Just try it!

So here come some instructions published on cangar.org…

Try this first, and once you’ve tried it out, you can change it to suit your taste:

  • Start by taking a shower. This helps to keep the hot room clean.
  • Enter the sauna and sit on the upper bench. You may want to use a small towel to sit on.
  • Sit back for a few minutes and let the heat permeate your body and open the pores of the skin.
  • You may adjust the air moisture by throwing water on the stones of the heater. The steam will make the room feel hotter.
  • Step into the changing room to cool down, maybe take another shower.
  • You may go back to the heat a few times, taking your time to relax and enjoy the warmth.
  • Finally shower to clean yourself from the sweat.
  • Allow yourself to cool and dry properly before clothing yourself.
  • Follow the sauna with a peaceful rest and a drink.

To get the most of the sauna, you will need:

  • At least half an hour of time, preferably an hour or more, so you have ample time to relax.
  • A large towel to dry yourself

You may also want to consider these:

  • A smaller towel to sit on
  • A moisturising lotion for after the sauna
  • A bathrobe to wear while cooling down
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