Even in the new year it may feel like we’ve got so much to manage. Whether it’s our jobs, school, relationships, or a global pandemic, we can’t seem to catch a break. We’ve all got our own ways to cope with stress but sometimes we may reach a point where we don’t know how to de-stress anymore. If you are in this situation, you can turn to your favorite characters in Korean dramas. They are unexpected masters at finding ways to burn off the pressure. Check out these self-care practices we’ve compiled from K-dramas! 

Spicy Food 

We know that not everyone can handle the heat when it comes to spice, but for the lucky ones that can, this tip is for you! From ramen to toktokkie (spicy Korean rice cakes) to spicy chicken feet, Koreans have a wide range of piping hot foods they can turn to. They’re clearly onto something since spicy food is known to contain an active component called capsaicin which causes a burning sensation when consumed. In a study that evaluated the effects of capsaicin—it was found that eating spice releases endorphins, a hormone that relieves stress and positively impacts depression in response to the brain mistaking the heat for pain. Regardless of the health benefits, spicy food can become a distraction when we’re upset as it overwhelms our senses. Nam Jiah (Jo Boah) explains this exact sentiment to Lee Yeon (Lee Dongwook) in Tale of the Nine Tailed (2020) as she chows down on some spicy chicken feet to relieve her stress. 

Face Masks 

The Korean beauty industry is well known for its developed techniques and advanced products that can perfect the skin. Face masks, a K-beauty favorite, have a wide range of benefits. Most commonly they soothe and hydrate the skin, aiding in stress relief. Even after a long day of school, work, or fighting bad guys, our skin needs a break too. It’s not a rare scene to see characters in K-dramas putting on a face mask at the end of a long day as a means to unwind. In The K2 (2016), we see Kim Jeha’s (Ji Changwook) male co-workers sleeping over at Anna’s (Lim Yoona) house after becoming too inebriated to drive home. The girls force all the members to put on face masks after a night of drinking. Although all the coworkers grumble, they can’t help but find the mask soothing and perk up at the promise of becoming better looking after use. 

Late Night Snacks 

On those especially tough days, food can be a source of solace and comfort. Being emotionally distressed can lead to a greater desire to eat sugary or high-fat foods. By ingesting the foods we crave, we reduce our levels of cortisol, a hormone that controls our mood. This is why we so often find K-drama characters sneaking a late-night snack as a temporary fix to their troubles. For example, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bokju (2016) gave us many mukbang scenes (in which a person eats a large amount of food) throughout the series. As Kim Bokju (Lee Sung-kyung) and her friends ate to their heart’s content, we could see the visible distress melt off their faces. 


Going to karaoke and spending time with friends can be a memorable moment. As seen in many K-dramas, going to karaoke with a group of friends after school is a great way to hang out with each other and have a good time. As you watch your friends sing and dance around you, you realize how happy you are to be having fun with them. In A Love So Beautiful (2020),  a group of students from Chun Ji High School are in a karaoke booth singing and dancing around. You can see Cha Heon (Kim Yo-han) watching his fellow classmates enjoying themselves which puts a smile on his face. 

Visiting the Beach 

Being outdoors and getting fresh air can be helpful when it comes to having stress or discomforting thoughts. Just by viewing the ocean or playing around by the water with friends or family, you can release negative energy. During a rain scene, the drama Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021) shows how to have a good time at the beach. In the drama, Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Min-a) feels uncomfortable being outdoors while it’s raining. Hong Doo Shik (Kim Seon-ho) says “Let your hair down and just feel it” and they proceed to play out at the beach.


Finding different methods to cope with our stress will benefit our health and well-being in the long run. Remember that cherishing and caring for ourselves first will let us do the things we want. Although these tips might not resolve our initial problems, they can hopefully alleviate some of the pressure. 

Want more Act!on content? Read Year of the Tiger K-Actors and Actresses here!