You would say it’s not possible that the French are stressed. Their ‘joie de vivre’ lifestyle seems to be all about relaxing. I hate to ruin this image for you; the French are pretty good at stress!
Me too. At my job, the summer is very hectic. We get a 100 colleagues extra, some already have a little experience, some are totally new and have zero experience. Now that I belong to the experienced group, I also feel like I have a lot more responsibility in summer. Not that my function changed, but I expect from myself to be at least as good – or rather twice as good – as someone who is new. We have very difficult case files – and ofcourse files who turned into one big drama. Some days I only worked on those, resulting in every call being a difficult call. Even though the client may not be too hard on me in the phone call, it’s a bit of a psychological game. All this, with working extra hours, well.
Long story short: the summers here are very stressful for me. So, this brought me to an interesting question. What to do when you are stressed in France?
The French are masters in wine for good reason. Scientistic research has even proved that drinking wine can reduce your stress! The reservatrol, found in the grapes, stimulates a stress-response protein, PARP-1, which activates a number of genes that repair DNA, suppress tumor genes and promote longevity genes. So it can help you stress less and live longer. – One glass of Côtes du Rhône for me, please!
Beware: don’t drink too much. It can cause an opposite effect.
France has very beautiful landscapes to offer. Your stress levels will reduce immediately when you take a roadtrip – big or even small. Try to imagine driving through those vineyards, lavender fields, the mountains, alongside the beaches and passing by a beautiful castle. Don’t forget to stop every now and then to make sure you really experience the beauty.
3. Watch the sunset
It still amazes me how wonderful the sunsets can get here. Of course, the sun also sets in The Netherlands everyday – but I would lie if I would say it’s worth it to watch every night. In France they are almost every night spectacular. It calms me down to see all the beautiful colors and shapes.
4. Read a book outside
Reading a book can help you focus on different subjects. Even though usually I read at home, I enjoy it more when I sit outside. Where I come from, it’s rather strange to go sit somewhere alone and read. In France I see people doing it all the time! I would call it even a bit inspiring. All those benches the city puts outside, aren’t there just for the looks. Find one in a good spot, depending on what you like. You can choose for yourself if you prefer to be somewhere you see lots of people, or somewhere quiet. In a park, or in the middle of the city center. Open your book and dream away in another world – while enjoying the life around you.
5. Coffee and a newspaper
It seems like a French thing. To start the morning at a café, with a cup of coffee – espresso – and a newspaper. You might add a croissant, if you want. I don’t see myself sitting at a terrace at the crack of dawn, but implementing this peaceful moment before work, will definitely force you not to be hasty in the morning.
You can do this alone, or with friends. Drinks – and some snacks – after work. Use it as a time for total distraction while you concentrate on your friends stories and some laughter, or see it as a perfect moment to vent about your stressful day or week. Both will work, it just depends on your caracter.
You could already guess I did almost all of those in the past couple of weeks! Only the roadtrip is still lacking on the list, but I have that one planned for tomorrow: a (wine) tour in the Beaujolais. Have fun with your own de-stress methods.
Note: all of the mentioned methods will work just as good in every other part of the world. You can use them wherever you want and whenever you want to.
Note 2: if you have some other way of de-stressing – in France – please tell me, so that I can add it to the list!
Note 3: I know the French are also very good in pastries. And I know how we always crave for sweets when we are stressed. But I didn’t mention this one on purpose, eating a lot of sugar and little healthy meals will only make you feel worse.