France, stress, Uncategorized, wellbeing

Why the French August shutdown is good for me

Goodness feels like a very long time I haven’t written something here but then that’s not surprising as this is the first year, after 20 years in France, that I decided to join the french in their annual shutdown.

The world gets infuriated that they cannot do business with the french during the month of August, they can’t reach anyone and everything takes forever. Indeed, living in France, forget a doctor’s appointment, lawyer, builder or whoever, theres’ no one home! August is THE perfect place to visit Paris, as there is NO-ONE! The whole of Paris has whizzed off to Bordeaux, Noirmoutier ou the Cote d’Azur.

It used to infuriate me, seeing how many cafés and shops close during this period in France, (How DO they make any money?). Now, for the first time I get it.

This year, I decided to join the french and cut off. I still did my English teaching work of course, but I spent absolute minimum time on Social Media, barely put up a post on Facebook. I DID things, like going to the local beach, the lake, going to the restaurant, visiting places. Of course this was triggered by meeting my soul mate in July and I decided to make some real quality time together.

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The energy in August here goes flat. You FEEL the country wind down, almost no traffic on the roads. In Nantes there are festivals, all free, there is SO much to do, and people take the time to be together. The end of the month you feel the energy begin to rise, like a machine suddenly beginning to turn its cogs as the motor starts up, as “La Rentrée”looms ahead, with schoolchildren strolling the supermarket with lists in hand to buy all their endless supplies for school, and of course a new school bag go with it.

For me, taking a step back from all my work, helped me take a distance, without having the head in the handlebars or “tête dans les guidons” as they say here. It gave me the time to think, take a break. Meeting my soul mate just before this period, has opened so many doors, with plans to move country, and set up a Bed and Breakfast (for those who know me well, will know that this has been a dream of mine since I was 12).  It helped me to see that life isn’t just about work and forging ahead, but also spending time with those you love, and at last having someone by my side who sees life like I do and fills it with love is a game changer for me.

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The french have got it so right here. We all need to take a break (which is also why I love the fact that shops are closed on Sundays here), we take a distance, and enjoy the small things in life, it recharges our batteries, helps us find new ideas and with the surging energy that comes in with he start of the school year, we also start back with loads of renewed energy.

 

How was your summer?

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