Health & Beauty

Self-Care in One of the World’s Most Expensive Cities

I believe in the importance of self-care. Having lived all over the world, I’ve seen the power of self-care and the effects of living without it. Throughout the continents and cultures in which I’ve worked, I have observed that there’s no difference in need for self-care across socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, disability/able-body or age lines. Everyone needs find ways to reduce stress and to express self-love. The only differences are in how often and in what ways people are able to self-care.

Living and working in Copenhagen, I consider myself lucky. This is an amazing city with so much to offer. It is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. Spa treatments like a massage or manicure are, for me, prohibitively expensive. Even if I could afford these things, I’m not sure how often I would partake because I have a hard time justifying spending that amount of money on something so indulgent. The price tag of these items is a result, at least in part, of Denmark’s living wage. I’ll never complain about the high cost of labor because I believe in its value.

But this does mean that things I have been able to afford easily (including tip) in other countries are now out of reach. Some things simply get reduced in frequency. I’m not going to start cutting my own hair, for instance; I simply go to the hairdresser once or twice a year. Other things become self-administered, such as manicures and pedicures (I’ve actually only ever had one professional pedicure in my life, the day before my wedding, and it was terrifying).

As is the case with most working people, I don’t have a ton of free time. But I usually have a few open hours each Sunday and I use that as time to refresh mentally and physically. I sit around in something silky and flowing, trying my best to feel care-free and glamorous (this works 60% of the time. Every time).


Rebecca’s Sunday self-care routine:

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

I soften the oil by running the container under warm water. I then work the oil through my hair from root to tip (which takes a LOT of oil when my hair is long). I then twist my hair into a bun, let it sit for as many hours as possible (usually 1-3) while I do other stuff like laundry or vacuuming, then wash my hair in the shower (see list item 4) . Coconut oil can make your hair heavier even after washing, so if you just want a little conditioning I recommend only putting it on the ends of your hair.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask | Scandinavia Standard


Manicure/Pedicure while watching something British (favorites include Marple, Poirot and Sherlock)

I just feel more pulled together when my nails look nice. Because Scandinavia Standard is regularly at meetings, presentations and photoshoots, I feel better knowing if someone is looking at/photographing my hands, they’re at their best. I also like to think of manicures and pedicures as a way to thank your feet and hands for what they do everyday; I clean, moisturize and file before varnishing to give these appendages a little love.

Pedicure while watching something British - By K | Scandinavia Standard


Benonite Clay/Apple Cider Vinegar Face Mask

After I’ve showered, my face is all soft and ready to be cleansed. This powerful mask hardens, resulting in increased circulation to the face. The best part of this mask is that I can’t talk while it’s on, allowing me to simply sit, do my nails, watch my stories, and relax.

| Scandinavia Standard


Hot shower including shaving my legs

Sometimes I don’t shave my legs (like in winter, or when I don’t feel like it), but the extra attention to body in the shower makes it feel a bit more luxurious.

Hot shower including shaving my legs | Scandinavia Standard


A hot cup of tea (or a stiff drink, depending on what kind of weekend it’s been…)

For me, tea is something that enables relaxation. Unlike coffee, tea makes me feel cozy and a bit sleepy; perfect for a wind-down after a long week.

T Town - a hot cup of tea | Scandinavia Standard


To Do list for the week

This one might seem silly to include but it really helps me de-stress. Being a bit of a Luddite, I haven’t yet embraced electronic calendars (apologies to my business partner) and instead use the same model of Moleskine daily diary I’ve been using since I was 18 (and yes, I have them all. And yes, I’m a little bit obsessive). I make my list in the notes section of my diary with little boxes next to each one, ready for the inevitable “checking-off” I’ll get to do as the week goes on. Heaven!

Moleskin Diary | Scandinavia Standard

Because all of these items are multiple-use buys and last for months at a time, I’m getting great value for my money. I need to restock every 6-9 months (tea & coconut oil I buy more frequently, the Moleskine is an annual purchase, Benonite clay I buy every 18 months at most) and spend, on average, 1,000 DKK/year (180 USD) on these Sunday self-care habits. That works out to 19.20 DKK/week (3.50 USD). It’s an amount I feel comfortable spending on myself; my life is slightly better because I allow myself these small comforts.

What’s your self-care routine? Don’t have one and not planning to start? Tell us in the comments!

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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.