The Cambridge Dictionary describes the meaning of joie de vivre as “a feeling of great happiness and enjoyment of life”. Not only do I believe this is one of the most beautifully spoken statements in the french language, I believe the French live and breathe this statement as a way of life – and we need to take notes!
When I visited Paris some years back with a very dear friend, we immersed ourselves in the city of Paris, and created our own version of joie de vivre. We would visit a local cafe down a cobbled laneway and order croissants and cafe au lait and watch Parisians going about their daily lives. We meandered the streets of Paris and rode bikes around the city taking in all of the sights and sounds of Paris. We visited the Tuileries Garden and sat in the sunshine, and rode on the ferris wheel, and as it stopped at the top, we looked over this magnificent city, and in those moments, would feel such joy and contentment. I remember an evening where we picked up some cheese, wine & baguettes, and sat by the Eiffel Tower as the sun dipped below the horizon and watched as the tower would light up in all of its luminous beauty. I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world to be in that city, experiencing that moment with such wonderful friends…and it made me so happy.
I know what you’re thinking…”this is all very good Deb, but we can’t all go to Paris and create joie de vivre”. Perhaps you may not be able to go to Paris, but you can absolutely create a life of joie de vivre anywhere you are in the world.
Here are my top 10 tips on how to create a life filled with joie de vivre:
1. Enjoy your food. Create a beautiful dining experience at home – even if you are on your own. Light some candles, play your favourite music, sit by the fire (or, if your home is sans fireplace then type “Fireplace” in the search bar in Netflix and you’ll have your very own fake crackling fire) – the perfect ambient mood lighting for a romantic night in without the heat and need to continue stoking it up. Set the table, pour yourself that glass of wine, cook something or order in some delicious takeaway. Take your time to eat your food, chew it, relish the flavours in your mouth. Make the simple act of eating your dinner a really meaningful and sacred moment in your day.
2. Think about what activities you did as a child that made you so unapologetically happy and carefree and get more of those experiences into your adult life. It could be as simple as riding a bike, roller skating, dancing, painting, playing cards or board games, cooking a chocolate cake…the opportunities are endless. Do more of what brings you great joy.
3. Wander. If like me you walk as part of your commute to work, leave a bit earlier than you would normally need to and meander, take your time, and explore. Go down different streets, take in the sights and sounds around you. Say good morning to people you pass (I know right, scandalous), and most importantly – smile and enjoy the opportunity to be outside getting some exercise on your way to work.
4. Get outside. Pack a picnic rug, some wine, cheese, baguette, and go to your local park or beach area and have a late afternoon picnic with your family or group of friends or even just yourself.
5. Take yourself out for a date to a local cafe – order a coffee and read the newspaper. Take time for you.
6. Sit outside and get some sunshine and fresh air and just watch the world go by. It’s good to slow down and rest in the sunshine.
7. Compulsory coffee in bed. On a weekend, when you wake, go out to the kitchen and make yourself a coffee, and then get back into bed and savour having your coffee in bed. It’s one of my favourite ways to start my Saturday and Sunday.
8. Watch a film, tv show or listen to music that makes you feel joyful. My personal favourites that make me feel joyful are –
Movies: Paris When It Sizzles, A Good Year, Under The Tuscan Sun & Amelie
TV Shows: Schitts Creek, Sex & The City, The Golden Girls & Friends
Music: The Beatles, Elton John, Led Zepplin, David Bowie, Queen & Fleetwood Mac
9. Watch the sunrise. It’s quite simply a beautiful thing to greet the sun, and watch it wake up the world.
10. Spend time with the people you love. These are the people that love you, make you laugh, make you feel supported, and you couldn’t imagine life without them. Being with people you love is so incredibly important. This is essential for your joy.
The things on this list aren’t hard to do, and don’t necessarily require money. Really think about what you can do in relation to where you are living and certainly make sure you’re following the current Covid-19 guidelines for your area. Think about what brings you joy, and make time to purposefully bring those simple and joyous moments into your daily life.
Until next time,