After living abroad for almost 5 years, coming back to Canada is both a relief and a little frustrating. I am suddenly aware of the consumerism attitude that North Americans are so well known for. I feel like everyone drives a huge car, eats tons of food, and watches too much television. I never realized the difference in culture until I left and lived overseas. Now that I am back in Canada, for now, I am trying to find ways to continue the European lifestyle that I grew to love while I was living in France. Here is my list of ways to live like a European in North America!…
1. Downsize your car. Do you really need to drive that huge SUV? Trade in your gas guzzler for a smaller more compact car. You will be happy with your gas bill and you can also feel good about doing something for the environment! Extra bonus points if you ride your bike instead of driving.
2. Visit your local farmer’s market. The French love their markets and tend to do most of their grocery shopping there. Find a local market near your home, and stock up on fresh local produce, cheese and other specialties that the sellers may offer.
3. Always have fresh flowers in your home. While you are shopping at your local market each week, remember to pick up a bunch of fresh flowers and place in a vase on your kitchen table to brighten up your home!
4. Turn off the television. Listen to music, read a book or sit quietly and talk with your family. As North American’s we tend to park ourselves in front of the t.v. each night after dinner and loose out on valuable family time. Take this opportunity to talk to each other, or even play a board game. You will be surprised how you will come to look forward to this quiet time in the evening, and you won’t miss the t.v. at all!
5. Eat smaller portions. Overeating is a being a huge problem in North America, and we are all guilty of piling up our plates with way more than we should have in one meal. Downsize your plate, so you cannot physically fit a big amount on the plate. You will not feel stuffed after eating, and your waistline will thank you in the long run.
6. Go for a walk. Do you drive to your grocery store that is only 5 mins away? We are all guilty of doing it, but why not start walking instead. If you only need to pick up a few things, grab your canvas shopping bag and head out the door. It is a great way to work some exercise time into your day, and enjoy the fresh outdoor air. If you don’t need anything at the shops, just walk around your neighborhood. Doesn’t matter where you walk, just get outside and get going!
7. Treat yourself to fancy desserts from a local bakery. Stop buying those bland grocery store pastries and visit a local bakery to get a special dessert once a week. They are a bit expensive, but definitely worth the splurge.
8. Dress up! Ditch those yoga pants and Ugg boots that are only acceptable if it is snowing out and you are on your way to the gym. People in Europe always seem very well styled and put together no matter what time of the day, or where they are going. In Paris, it is highly acceptable to get dressed up to go for a walk in the park. You will be surprised at how much more confidant and put together you feel if you look your best at all times.
Overall, if you want to live more like a European, slow down, take time to enjoy life and enjoy a nice long stroll through a park on a nice sunny day!
Follow these easy steps and you can live a much longer, healthier and happier life, just like the Europeans! What other steps would you add to the list? Let me know in the comment section below!