I’m Savoring Life the European Way This Summer—Here’s How

From intuitive eating to effortless work-life balance, Europeans have perfected the art of savoring life. Call it romanticizing the everyday or prioritizing joy, Europeans view pleasure as a key part of life rather than an occasional indulgence—it’s not something you have to earn, seek out, or schedule in. In Italy, they call it la dolce vita (the sweet life), while in France, they call it l’art de vivre (the art of living). No matter the language or country, people in many parts of Europe seem to savor life, from the foods they eat to how they care for themselves and prioritize relationships—void of hustle culture, toxic productivity, and diet culture. I could use a little help savoring life and prioritizing pleasure, so I tapped Palak Dave, author of Beautiful Everydays: A Guide to Living in the Here and Now, for her expert advice on savoring life the European way. Read on for European wellness tips I’m applying to my life this summer.

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Meet the Expert

Palak Dave: Lifestyle Expert and Author

Palak Dave is the founder of Embiria, a community designed to help people slow down and savor life. Through Embiria, she has hosted hundreds of events for brands like Google, Nespresso, and Bumble, on a mission to help others prioritize real-life connection over digital noise. She is also the author of Beautiful Everydays: A Guide to Living in the Here and Now.

1. I’m bringing more joy into my weekdays

Raise your hand if you squeeze in a workout before heading to work, rush home to cook dinner, do your wind-down routine, get in bed, and do it all again the next day. Instead of hustling with a jam-packed schedule Monday-Friday, Dave explained that Europeans slow down long enough to stop and smell the roses. Whether it’s the Italian la passeggiata (going on a leisurely evening stroll) or the way the French lunch (long, leisurely, and often with wine), they have rituals that allow them to unwind in their everyday lives. Dave recommended creating your daily traditions so that we’re not just trying to get through the week.

This summer, I’m bringing more pleasure into my life by savoring my morning drink and breakfast while meditating and praying. And I won’t miss a Sunday to gather with my family over a home-cooked meal. When it comes down to it, the simple things in life often bring us the most joy. Whether it’s walking your dog after dinner or having a weekly girls’ night, creating your own rituals—no matter how simple—can “joy snacks” that give you something to look forward to, so you are prioritizing joy every day.

2. I’m living like a tourist in my own city

Do you constantly frequent the same restaurants, workout classes, and bars? Do you do the same thing every weekend? Because we rely heavily on cars to get around in the U.S., and most cities aren’t very walkable, we miss out on sightseeing and exploring local attractions. But European cities are built differently. According to Dave, most areas in Europe (from the major cities to smaller towns) are designed to be walkable and enhance socialization. In other words, Europeans connect with others while taking in the beauty of their surroundings, appreciating all their city has to offer.

I’m taking a cue from Europe and playing tourist in my hometown of Rhode Island. Since I live in the smallest state, I’m taking advantage of every inch of the 1,214 square miles the Ocean State has to offer. Not only am I visiting different beaches and restaurants, but I’m also exploring tourist hotspots I previously overlooked. Case in point? The iconic Watch Hill Lighthouse (fingers crossed I see Taylor Swift in her mansion while I’m down there!). I’m saying “yes” to more adventures, and seeing my state through a new, more appreciative lens will be a major game-changer.

3. I’m spending quality time with people I love every day

Daily socialization is a long-standing daily habit for many Europeans. Take one of the Blue Zones, Sardinia, Italy. According to Blue Zones research, a key habit that contributes to the population’s longevity is laughing with loved ones—particularly, gathering in the streets every afternoon to laugh with one another. Dave agreed that in many parts of Europe, it’s customary to gather in a café after work. “It’s a time to socialize and connect with your community, and you’ll often see multiple generations within families hanging out and enjoying time together.”

I fell into the notion that prioritizing alone time and saying “no” to social events regularly was the key to living well. But instead of feeling happier, I was left feeling lonely and anxious. It wasn’t until I prioritized socialization again that I realized how important social connection is for my well-being; connecting with friends and family regularly brought me more happiness than alone time ever could. Now, I’m having a weekly girls’ night, hanging out with family after work, and spending one-on-one quality time with my husband. Spending quality time with the people I care about every day—rather than just on weekends—nourishes my soul and fills me with happiness.

laurel segrist dupe
Source: Laurel Segrist | Dupe

4. I’m moving outdoors as much as possible

Most Europeans approach wellness differently than Americans. Rather than scheduling time for a Pilates class or weight lifting session at the gym, Dave explained that Europeans move unintentionally by living a more active lifestyle by walking or biking everywhere instead of using a car. I don’t live in a walkable area, and I won’t forego my morning workouts altogether, but I am opting for outdoor exercise whenever I can this summer: Swimming laps in the ocean when I’m at the beach, taking a walk during sunset, and bar-hopping with friends by foot. The best part is that I’ll be reaping the benefits of being outside (such as boosted mood) while doing something good for my physical health.

Think of creative ways you can get more outdoor movement into your day. This could look like walking around a farmers market or local festival, taking an evening walk after dinner, or playing pickleball with friends instead of weekend brunch. Moving in the fresh air will be rejuvenating for your mind and body.

5. I’m setting boundaries with technology

Screens are inevitably everywhere, whether you’re in Europe or America. But while Americans average 7.03 hours of screen time daily, most Europeans spend less than 3 hours per day looking at their screens (yes, that counts scrolling through TikTok and Netflix binges). Dave explained that she rarely sees people in Europe on their phones when in the presence of others, while it’s pretty normal in the U.S. to answer a text or check Instagram, even sitting at dinner.

Life happens outside our screens, and I don’t want to miss out on all it has to offer. So, although I feel the pressure to be available at all times (especially when it comes to work), I’m setting boundaries with technology: not answering emails after hours, using social media intentionally, turning off notifications, and not checking my phone when I’m around friends and family. Limiting screen time can help reduce stress and distraction, making it easier to truly soak in and savor every moment this summer.

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