Here are 17 French lifestyle tips you can adopt right now to be healthier and happier this year (that have nothing to do with starting a diet or burning calories). Every year, January brings renewed optimism for change, for a better life, for a better you. There is definitely something about the fresh start of the new year that brings a sense of motivation to reinvent our lives and ourselves.
And instead of heading into the new year with lofty, far-off, or unachievable goals, I come to you today with something a little bit different. Indeed, last year I noticed that adding small changes to my routine helped me to reinvent the way I live and to improve my wellness. Here, I’m not talking about completely overhauling your life either making drastic changes to your routine. Instead, I’m sharing with you a few French lifestyle tips and small steps you can take (that you’ll actually be able to keep) to be your healthiest and happiest self this year. And you know, small changes can lead to a big impact! So keep reading below to know the 17 best French lifestyle tips to make this new year more balanced and joyful.
17 Things You Can Do Right Now To Be Your Healthiest And Happiest Self
1. Checking In With Yourself Regularly
Depending on the kind of stresses that you are facing and the emotions that you’re experiencing, it’s important to checking in with yourself daily. The same way you might work out to take care of your body, you have to “work out” your mind, too. And checking in with how your body feels, how stressed or anxious you might be, what your mood is, how well you’re sleeping, is a great way to be kind to yourself, and to stay connected with yourself as well as others. The more you are attuned with your emotions and thoughts, the easier it is to live a happy and healthier life.
And I think, it’s especially helpful during very stressful times as it’s a step toward being gentle with yourself and practicing good self-care. During the last few months, I had a lot of time with myself and I asked myself questions like: “What are you ready to let go of? To say yes or no to? What do you want more of? And what makes you feel complete?”
2. Let Go Of The Relationships That Don’t Make You Feel Good
3. Feel Whole In Where You Are Right Now
Let’s be honest, we’re never very satisfied with what we have, who we’re, and where we’re right now. It’s never enough and we tend to always focus on the future. When you need to satisfy a condition in the future in order to be happy it is called “conditional happiness” (or the “I’ll be happy when syndrome”). And it’s probably one of the biggest reasons people are so depressed these days. We’re always be chasing something: a relationship, a promotion, a number on the scale, which prevents us from feeling fulfilled and living life fully. Instead, have dreams and goals for the future but your happiness shouldn’t depend on whether or not you’ll reach them.
4. Find What It Means Caring For Yourself
I think we need to get rid of the idea that caring for ourselves looks the same as it does for anyone else. Personally, I don’t like to listen to podcasts, I get bored when trying to meditate, yoga feels more painful than relaxing for me, and listening to soothing music feels weird. Instead, going for a walk, spending time cooking a fancy lunch, being home alone (in silence), or drawing a bath feels like caring for myself. And what is working for me to calm my stress level might not be the same for you. If you haven’t done it yet, this year, try many different activities and find the ones that work the best for you.
5. Take More Time For Yourself
Since we’re in our homes most of the time (due to the pandemic), physical boundaries of work for many of us are gone. Personally, as I’m working from home, I find it very difficult to close my laptop at the end of the day. And being “off” is now even more difficult for me.
That’s why taking a moment for yourself (even if it’s just 30 minutes in your day), has never been more important than today. Try to prioritize yourself by adding a mindful act of self-care to your routine will help you with anxiety. And it can be something as simple as making a cup of coffee, drawing a bath, or cooking a fancy lunch. Indeed, by taking the time to do so, you are saying you deserve a moment reserved for yourself. So, whether it’s meditation, tea, a bath, a walk, reading a book, playing music, or whatever you dream up, finding something small to do will give you a moment of peace.
6. Find A Workout Activity You Love
Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. Exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. However, you don’t have to do any kind of exercise program with high intensity and high-frequency (which are often unsustainable in the long run and lead to failure) to stay healthy. Instead, you should try to figure out what activities you really enjoy that you’ll want to stick with.
While there has been a surge in gyms and yoga and spin studios opening around Paris in the last few years, the workout culture in France is quite different from in the United States. French people are not being workout addicts and usually prefer to exercise in ways that are exciting and fun for them (tennis, bicycle, running, swimming, dancing, etc.). The French exercise because they enjoy it, not because it’s something they have to do to stay fit.
7. Get Fresh Air And Go On More Walks
If you’re working a lot from your computer make sure to take breaks and just get out. Go walk your dog (if you have one) or just walk to the park, in your neighborhood, or on the beach. When I was living in Paris I used to go for a 30 minutes walk along the Seine. Now I’m walking (nearly) every day along the canals of Amsterdam. It really helps me relax and calm down. I always come back with fresh ideas and a better mood.
8. Buy Yourself Flowers
Roses, lilies, orchids or peonies, any types of flowers that make you feel good!
9. Enjoy Great Food
One of my favorite French lifestyle tips is to always prioritize pleasure as the key to healthy living. And as a French woman, I do really think that one of the greatest pleasures in life is food! If you truly enjoy what you eat, it will leave you satisfied and content. Forget about constantly counting calories, fat content, and carbs, just eat whole nutritive food more intuitively and with self-love. By maintaining a diet where you eat nourishing foods that you enjoy and make you feel good while also allowing yourself the occasional indulgence, you avoid a state of deprivation.
Personally buying expensive, organic, and more tasteful food feels like caring for myself. And each time my budget allows, I’m willing to pay more for quality. For me, it’s a way to prevent illness and to stay healthy as quality food means pleasure in the short-term and health in the long-term.
10. Plan Your Doctor’s Visits
Prioritize your health by going to your doctor’s office for a routine checkup at least once a year. With COVID-19, if you cannot go to your doctor’s office you can take advantage of telehealth services if they’re available to you. Do not forget about your teeth and eyes for a checkup and any specialist like a gynecologist or dermatologist.
11. Sleep More
Sleep is a powerful stress reducer and following a regular sleep routine calms and restores the body, improves concentration, and regulates mood. And if you struggle with sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times (and even during the weekend). After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm. Also, try to go to bed earlier and create an end of an evening ritual to fall asleep faster -avoid watching Netflix or consulting your social media 1 hour before going to bed-.
Finally, try to optimize your bedroom environment which is one key factor in getting a good night’s sleep. Minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. And make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
12. Have A Healthier Relationship With Social Media
Social media overconsumption can bring about negative effects such as sleep disruption, anxiety, and depression. And if you’re looking for ways to have a healthier relationship with social media here are a few of my tips.
- Turn off notifications
- Unfollow or mute every account that doesn’t make you feel inspired
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom
- Avoid social media an hour to 30 minutes before bed
- Try to avoid checking your phone before 10 am
- Be more careful about who you follow on social media
13. Create Pleasure Rituals
No matter how busy your life is, you definitely need to create and practice pleasure rituals. Long baths, facials, massages, any type of treatment for the body are not luxuries; they’re essentials. Rituals denote something as important and worth repeating. And it’s the repetition that helps us with anxiety! Just create a moment and a space that’s calm, quiet, and comfortable. Feeling good is even more important than looking good.
14. Keep Making Plans To Manage Pandemic Stress
Because by thinking about the things we’ll able to do again once the pandemic will end feels good, really good! Keep making plans, with or without putting dates and times in your calendar, and thus even if they turn out to be futile. Doing so can help you stay in a positive mindset and keep you from being overwhelmed by stress. Also, you can make a list of the activities that you want to schedule when things become more predictable. It’s enough to acknowledge the things you’re intending to do, you’ll notice the anticipation of something good is really powerful.
15. Declutter, Clean, Organize
It’s probably the last thing you want to do in your spare time but it has been proven that decluttering, cleaning, and organizing reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Indeed, we’ve evolved a preference for order and symmetry because, presumably, those things conferred an evolutionary advantage back in our ancestral environment. Personally, I do think that mess is often about unhappiness and that tidying up our home can be a kind of psychotherapy for us. If you’re not sure where to start, I really recommend the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō. It’s the perfect practical guide to tidying up your home.
16. Redecorate Your Home
If you’re craving a little more serenity in the day-to-day, some simple decorating tweaks can make your space more relaxing. The French are firm believers that it’s the little things in a space that make a big difference. Once your home is properly organized, you can start updating your decor, here are a few French lifestyle tips:
- Embrace soothing shades that are more comforting like beige, creamy ivory or greige (a warm, gray-tinted beige)
- A fresh coat of paint can be the biggest mood-changer in a room
- Add scented candles in the different rooms of your home (scents brings happy memories)
- Add plants in your home (it has been proven that indoor plants can reduce stress and give a healthy breathable environment)
- Create an ideal setting for a good night sleep with good sheet set
- Surround yourself with meaningful objects and décor elements you love
- If you’re up to you can make your home look Parisian
17. Be Grateful For Small Things
Another one of my favorite French lifestyle tips is to appreciate and be grateful for the small things in life. A tiny but delicious éclair au Chocolat, a new perfume, a walk in the streets of Paris, a coffee en terrasse, the French appreciate that the small things in life are just as important as the big ones. It’s the small pleasures that help boosts your mood by reflecting on the good in your life rather than the negative. Just be grateful and appreciate who you are, what you have, and look ahead in an optimistic, more productive way.
Did you like this article? Which one of these French lifestyle tips are you going to implement in your life? I would love to know! Please add your comment below.
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Bonjour! I’m Leonce, I’m French and I’m a Parisian expat currently living in the city center of Amsterdam (I previously lived in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on the Ile-Saint-Louis). I created Leonce Chenal back in 2018 when I was living in London and missing my home country way too much. Because I truly believe you don’t have to be French or to live in France to experience the French art de vivre, Leonce Chenal is a French digital magazine to help you live your French life, wherever you are. Enjoy <3