I was chatting with a friend on Friday about how relaxed I felt on my holiday and how I'm sure that had alot to do with having a break from the blackberry (I'm pretty disciplined about not reading my emails on holiday).
I'm sure many of you find the fast pace of London life pretty tiring, and one of the great things about holiday is just enjoying a slower pace of life. Even in Paris I think the pace is slower than London and a bigger emphasis is placed on work life balance - as a consequence people don't seem to be rushing about as much or with such tense facial expressions as you see in the morning commute.
This slower pace has alot to do with why the French live longer and seem to have a greater joie de vivre ... if you don't give yourself a second to rest and relax it's unlikely you're going to be enjoying life and stress is one of the biggest factors in ageing and health deterioration.
This slower pace also applies to food - the French eat much later than we do (I'm always starving by the time dinner is served) but they also take alot longer over their meals ... courses are more spread out and usually punctuated by grand debates, food is chewed more slowly and savoured and wine is sipped throughout the meal, rather than downed in a bar after work as you often see on a Thursday in the city!!! This is not only more sociable and civilized than whizzing through a meal, but also allows more complete digestion and gives your body time to detect when your appetite is satisfied.
I think sharing a good meal with friends is actually one of life's great pleasures and certainly something I'm going to make more time for, but even if you're eating solo, take time over your meal, enjoy your food, enjoy a bit of peace and quiet and let yourself sit and digest for at least 10 minutes after you've finished eating ... you may find yourself in a much better mood than when you started.