The Joy-Sparking Wellness Rules We're Borrowing From the Mediterraneans
Ever find yourself daydreaming of a summer spent by the Mediterranean sea without a care in the world? Us too. It's no wonder over two-hundred million tourists flock to the area in search of a soul-enriching experience filled with long, sunny days and the freshest food and wine you could ever imagine.
The people living along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea have long been known for their simple yet effective take on life, leading many to adapt their own version of the Mediterranean lifestyle in search of less stress and more joy. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out the wellness rules that Mediterraneans swear by.
Foster social connection
If you've postponed a dinner catch up with a friend so many times that the whole plan just dissolved, raise your hand. Anyone who passed the test may already be ahead of the curve when it comes to this Mediterranean wellness trend. Research conducted by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in Spain suggests that by ensuring you engage in at least one positive social interaction a week you can lower your risk of depression and other chronic health issues. Making time in your weekly schedule for a coffee or meal with a friend or family member really makes a difference to your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Incorporate exercise in a natural way
Cycle classes and circuit training aren't commonplace in the Mediterranean. The way in which we tend to schedule in our daily exercise is actually quite a foreign concept altogether. Instead, people here are more active in general, opting to walk to the market or for part of their morning commute. Overall, they tend to spend a lot more hands-on time outdoors which means more sun exposure and less screen time. Double tick. Think about any chances you have to move your body throughout the day, even if it's only for a few minutes.
The Mediterranean diet
Maybe you've heard of it? Mediterraneans have been following a simple and flexible way of eating for generations, with a major focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. For a snack, a handful of nuts or whatever fruit is in season that month are favoured over processed treats. You won't find any super-sized meal deals, with plates served up with just enough to make you feel full and satisfied. The best part? A glass of red wine after a meal is encouraged.
Focus on giving
The Mediterranean and the people that call it home are a generous bunch who prefer to give than to receive. Expect your dinner guests to show up on your doorstep with a bottle of wine or a baked treat to show their gratitude in this part of the world. This habit of giving takes the pressure off ego-drivem desires for material possessions and opens up an opportunity to help out our loved ones in much more meaningful ways. It's amazing how much even a friendly smile to a stranger can reframe your state of mind.
On this side of the world, we've become a bulk-obsessed society. Bigger is better and "stocking up" is meant to save us time and money, but does it really? When was the last time you used every ingredient in your fridge without the need to throw anything out? Maybe then, it's time to shop like Mediterraneans and buy only what you need, when you need it. It might mean that you visit the supermarket more often, but you'll be shopping with purpose, leading to fewer products going to waste at home.
'Busy' has become a glamorous word in our culture, synonymous with someone who is successful and smashing goals. Sometimes, though, we value being busy over actually listening to what our body and mind are telling us. It can be as simple as making a conscious decision to not check your emails at meal times which will allow you to be present and enjoy your food and the people in your company without being constantly inundated with messages. One thing Mediterraneans are big on is the quick afternoon nap, something we are total advocates for.
It turns out that while the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start, the secret to the longevity and overall happiness of these seasiders is much more of a holistic lifestyle that has been inherited over generations. All this talk of sunny days and fresh food has us dreaming of a Sicilian getaway, but for now, these wellness rules have got us in a Mediterranean state of mind.