You don't need to vacation on the Amalfi Coast to channel the Italian way of life. Use these 5 simple steps to channel your best Italian energy:
Eat real food
Treat meals as an act of love
Live an active lifestyle and walk everywhere
Cherish your family and friends
Easier said than done? Keep scrolling to find out how to implement these into your lifestyle and to learn why they work.
I haven't had the pleasure to travel to Italy this summer, but feel transported back by the gorgeous photos on my Instagram feed. I spent two weeks in Italy last fall and previously studied abroad during college. I am always struck by the country's beautiful vistas, delicious food, and rich history. Most salient, however, is the way that Italians so fully enjoy life's pleasures and prioritize leisure.
In contrast to the unpleasant feeling that often accompanies returning from vacation (feeling bloated, exhausted, not my best) I somehow always return from Italy feeling great. And it's not for a lack of indulgence. I've heard this same phenomenon from other friends and clients who have visited, as well. And for good reason, too. Italians are some of the healthiest in the world.
So how does this actually work?
Here are 5 ways to incorporate the Italian way of life into your own lifestyle:
1. Eat real food
Research continues to support the Mediterranean diet as being the best way to eat. We're talking mostly plant-based whole foods and healthy fats.
In Italy, food is often locally sourced if not truly farm-to-table. In contrast, so much of the food we are accustomed to eating is ultra-processed containing chemical additives, sugar, and fat that are inflammatory, can drive your body to consume more, and leads to chronic diseases.
A healthier approach is to prioritize unprocessed foods in their natural forms like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, meats, and whole grains. Use your local farmer's market to find in-season fruits and vegetables.
2. Treat meals as an act of love
But it's not just about eating real food. It's also about taking the time to thoroughly enjoy meals. Meals are just as much about the ambiance and conversation as the delicious dishes. And for many of us, we're too busy consuming what's on our screens to use all our senses to consume our food.
Whether you're eating with a group, your partner, or alone, try to put down your phone and focus on what you're eating. This helps you to eat more mindfully and allow your digestive system to work properly.
3. Live an active lifestyle and walk everywhere.
So many of us get into a pattern of sitting at our desks all day even if we've gotten a workout in. While it's great to get any movement in, living an active lifestyle has huge positive implications for our health. Getting up to walk multiple times a day can not only help you move more frequently but also benefits your mental health.
Try to channel the Italian way of living by going for an evening stroll, or una passeggiata, after dinner. This not only helps get you moving later in the day but also helps with your glucose regulation.
4. Prioritize leisure
Living in New York City, I often feel pressured to keep a full professional and social calendar. My free time often gets swallowed by making other social plans, falling down a social media rabbit hole, or being unable to disconnect from work. My inability to “just be” stops me from being able to recharge. However, rest is crucial to my productivity and happiness.
Italians know how to prioritize leisure. They have leisurely lunches and dinners, take long breaks in the afternoon, stroll rather than speed walk, and sit and savor a cup of coffee or glass of wine for more than 10 minutes.
This doesn't have to be elaborate and can look like taking time in your day to read a good book, go for a stroll to a new coffee shop, or finally take a bath. For some ideas on how to get started, check out my blog with tips for what to do when you have nothing to do.
Gain confidence in taking the time and space to fill up your cup, invest in your well-being, and allow yourself to step into the most authentic, best version of yourself.
5. Cherish your family and friends
I'm sure it's no surprise that nothing in Italian culture is more important than the people. Make the time to call your loved ones, catch up with a friend over coffee, and take your partner out to dinner. Don't waste time not sharing how you feel with the people you love.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and use these tips to channel the Italian way of life to keep things in perspective and fully enjoy life's pleasures.
For more personalized guidance and support, email me or book a coaching consultation to get started today.