When I reminisce about my time in Paris, I reflect on the relaxed, chic and liberating attitude of the French. Each morning begins with a trip to the cafe for a latte and the boulangerie for a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant). Leisurely lunches last two hours and consist of a fresh baguette, artisan cheese and a glass (or two) of wine. I have no guilt about the excess carbs...or the fact that wine has somewhat replaced water. Life seems to move a bit more slowly and each decision seems more deliberate. Yes, this is the point of a vacation but many locals choose this as a way of life. The feeling is incredibly liberating, yet I always return home only to be rushed back into my daily routine of juggling multiple projects, hustling from one meeting to the next, drinking my coffee on the go, steering clear of carbs and sneaking in early morning workouts. One of my new year's resolutions was to SLOW DOWN and incorporate a little French attitude into my daily routine. I crave those pleasure-filled moments and have found little ways to incorporate them into my hectic schedule. A few tips on how you too can breathe a little more deeply each day:
- Choose one meal each day that you eat sitting down. My husband and I always eat either breakfast or dinner at our kitchen table. Even if we only have twenty minutes, we try to enjoy our meal without distractions. Do not read the paper, respond to emails or make a ‘to do” list as you chew. Instead, relax and enjoy the scenery or conversation.
- Spend less time on social media. Yes, it is important to stay caught up with your friends and family, but is it truly necessary to read every tweet or status update? So much of your time on social media is spent reading trivial posts. Instead, spend that time reading a chapter out of a new book, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, meditating or catching up with a close friend.
- Walk or ride your bike as much as possible. The extra activity will not only burn more calories but will also help you think more clearly.
- Schedule your meetings further apart. Give yourself twice the needed time to get to each meeting or appointment. This will give you more time to notice your surroundings, relax and leisurely go about your day.
- Rid yourself of guilt. Sometimes you DESERVE a treat - an extra slice of pizza, oodles of carmel topping on your sundae, a towering plate of pomme frites (French Fries), sleeping until noon, taking a day off from the treadmill or sneaking in a pedicure over the lunch hour. As emotions go, guilt is pretty futile. It is an icky, discouraging force that rarely does any good and is usually self-inflicted. Your ‘crimes’ are victimless, so rather than reviling indulgences, relish in them without stressing about everything that doesn’t seem “perfect” in your mind.
I think I have finally figured out why French women are so desirable and thin. They live each day rather than just surviving it and they don't let guilt weigh them down. C’est la vie!