Healthy everyday Mediterranean habits
Embrace the Mediterranean way of life and become a real Spaniard with these tips.
Living life like a Spaniard is so much more than afternoon siestas, paella and sangria.
If you have ever visited Spain, you will have experienced first hand that the art of living like a Mediterranean has roots that lie much deeper than that. This week on the blog, we look as some lesser talked about healthy habits we live by day in and day out.
Prioritising time with loved ones
It has always been the Mediterranean way of life - family comes first. While residents of many other first world countries are finding the stress of everyday life is taking away from their time with those they love most, Spain won’t budge on its commitment to maintaining healthy relationships.
For many, the ritual of the long afternoon break in the middle of the working day is a time that Spaniards return home to eat, bond and spend time with their their friends and family. While the last decade has seen job prospects plummet for young people across Spain, experts have pointed to strong familial bonds as what has got them through the tough times.
In fact, young people statistically don’t move out of home in Spain until their late 20’s or early 30’s.
Breaking up the working day
If you have ever visited Spain, one of the first thing you will notice is how time is an entirely different concept in Spain to most other developed countries.
The start of an average Spanish working day looks like many others around the world. Clocking in at 9am, many break at 1:30pm onwards and head home to enjoy a late lunch at around 3pm. Around 4:30pm to 5pm they return to work, and work until 8pm.
This long, relaxed, afternoon break is a quintessential part of Spanish culture, and allows for workers to commune with friends and family. However, while still popular, the famous ‘siesta’ is actually on the decline in many major Spanish cities, with many opting to work typical 9-5 hours to free up their evenings.
And don’t expect to eat out during your visit to Spain before 10pm! Spaniards are notoriously late dinner eaters too, and it isn’t uncommon to see the streets come alive late into the night as restaurants serve up local favourites.
Taking our time
Another part of Spanish life that’s hard to ignore is how taking your time is an important part of every single day.
While other Western countries stress levels are at an all-time high, Mediterranean’s low-by-comparison stress and anxiety levels can be learnt from. Although animated people, you’ll rarely visit a cafe in Spain where a barista is stressed at the amount of coffee orders coming in or see a highly-strung shop assistant. We Spanish folk take our time and don’t allow everyday stressors to dictate our lives. Our health is more important than that!
Eating healthy - but treating ourselves too!
The Mediterranean Diet has been lived by in Spain for generations, but it is only now that the endless benefits of undertaking it as being talked about by more far-flung countries.
A diet rich in fruit, vegetables and non-processed foods is an important everyday Mediterranean habit. Whole grains, legumes, fish and poultry, red wine in moderation and of course, olive oil, are all key players in our way of life.
In fact, the Mediterranean Diet was recently found to be the most effective for overall physical and mental health, so we were ahead of the times!
Listening to our bodies
While many other countries are finding it more and more difficult to prioritise themselves and their health over everyday demands, the Spanish are renowned for living their lives in moderation and prioritising their own inherent needs and desires. Feel like having a nap at 3pm? We do it. A midweek dinner with friends that stretches long into the night? Yes please! A glass of fantastic Spanish rioja with a meal? Of course!
By implementing some simple, healthy and life-changing Mediterranean habits into your own life, you can overhaul your physical and mental health one step at a time.