The reason that there are so many unhappy people scurrying around in western countries is that they’ve got their lifestyle priorities completely wrong. They spend most of their time dedicating their efforts to furthering their careers and increasing the profits of their company, and in so doing, neglect their children, their parents, their partners and themselves. They don’t get enough sleep, they don’t see enough sunlight, they don’t exercise enough and they lack any real connection with their neighbors or the environment around them. As a result of this, they become unhappy, out of shape, jaded, cynical, and out of touch with humanity and reality in general. They develop anxiety disorders and depression. Their lives and families gradually become more and more dysfunctional. Their friends don’t really like them, but they dislike themselves even more.
Compare this kind of life with the lifestyle people live in traditional areas of Andalusia, Calabria or Minorca. People there don’t sweat the small stuff. They take time over the things they enjoy. They have a healthy balance between work and family time. They are able to appreciate all the small things in life because they don’t have their head in the clouds or allow themselves to be consumed by ambition and greed. Put simply, those guys are doing it right, while you are making a huge mess of it without even knowing.
So let’s have a look at a typical Mediterranean day and see what you can take from it to adapt into your lifestyle. The day starts early for most, often at the crack of dawn. It’s at this time that folk will let their animals out and perhaps pick a few figs to eat with breakfast while they still have the morning dew on them. After that, they’ll take a shower and get half ready for work. Breakfast will be something simple like a cortado and perhaps a sliced baguette with olive oil and crushed tomato, maybe a slice of cheese. All the family will eat together and discuss their plans for the day.
After that, those who work outside will go off to their jobs and those who stay at home will get on with the daily chores of cleaning, washing, cooking and looking after the animals. At lunchtime, the workers return home and might enjoy a glass of freshly made gazpacho– you can make it yourself with a blender like these at Mixer Picks.
Lunch is a family affair and even neighbors and distant relatives will often join the table. There will be different courses – salads, fish, paella, cold cuts and so on followed by lots of fruit, especially watermelon. To drink there will be water, cold beer and red wine. Lunch may last over two hours as people take breaks between eating, chat with one another and take their time to enjoy the food. Once the meal is over, everyone will help clear up and then they’ll settle down in their beds or on the couch for a siesta. The ideal siesta is said to be two winks, but in reality most people will sleep at least twenty minutes. This is great for reducing blood pressure during the middle of the day. After the siesta they might go out for a walk or visit a friend until it’s time to go back to work, were they’ll stay until sunset.
After the day’s work is done, people return home again to their families for supper which is much lighter than lunch. It’s really just a snack after work so you don’t have to go to sleep on a full stomach. Again, friends and family might join in as everyone sits around together, perhaps half watching a game of soccer on TV, discussing local politics or things that have happened during the day.
While you might not get the climate, it’s not impossible for someone who lives in London or New York to be able to live a lifestyle similar to that of the Mediterranean. You just need to stop taking your career and yourself so seriously, spend time outdoors, do some light exercise, take care of what you eat, get enough rest, discuss what’s n your mind and spend time with your family and friends on a regular basis.