When I travel, I like to try typical local foods and attempt to adopt the culinary traditions of the country I’m visiting. To become even more immersed in the culture, I also try to get a feel for the pace and lifestyle of the locals to better understand the country and its people. Unfortunately I haven’t yet had an opportunity to visit Greece, but I had fun researching the distinctive features of the Greek lifestyle so that I could present them to you here. Let’s take a quick look at what I discovered.
A typical day in Greece starts very early, i.e., around 7 a.m. after a quick breakfast. The morning is usually quite long and finishes with the “mesimeri,” a midday meal break lasting from about 1 to 3 p.m. This break is followed by a nap, which lasts until at least 5 or 5:30 p.m. After a few more hours of work during the period called “apoyevma” (afternoon), which lasts until about 8 p.m., it’s time to relax with friends or family while munching on a “meze” (hors d’œuvre). Dinnertime is around 9 or 10 p.m. Occasionally the evening ends with a trip to a café for pastries, ice cream, or cakes.
This routine definitely has its advantages—it helps cultivate the “social” side of life, as much time is devoted to meals in groups. Solitude is frowned upon in Greek culture, where the lifestyle is conducive to socializing. One of the greatest benefits of this lifestyle is most definitely a nap in the middle of the day. Some studies seem to show that an afternoon nap may improve learning and subsequent performance. Another study has established that a midday nap could reduce the risk of death associated with heart disease, likely by reducing stress levels.
If your daily schedule permits, I encourage you to try adopting some of these Greek habits. You may see a positive impact on your work, social life, or performance throughout the day!