What Adopting an Ikarian Life-style Taught Me

As a keen observer of different lifestyles across the world, a few months ago I decided to take a leap and immerse myself in the Ikarian life-style practiced on the Greek island of Ikaria. What I learned during my stay there was both surprising and inspiring.

Ikaria is considered to be the “island of longevity,”with many Ikarian residents living well beyond the age of 90. And although Ikaria is no longer an untouched paradise, its embrace of traditional culture and customs is still very much alive. Hikarites, as the islanders are called, practice a unique way of life deeply rooted in self-sufficiency and simplicity.

The greatest lesson I learned while living an Ikarian life-style was the importance of slowing down and appreciating each moment. In our culturally-driven world we are often caught up in wanting the next, faster, better and we forget to savor the joys of the journey. I found this to be true on Ikaria, where there was no sense of urgency; time was relative and did not rule. People there would greet you with smiles and warmth and it was a re-affirmation that life should be enjoyed and treasured, no matter how many obstacles it may present.

I also began to understand the need for focusing on self-care. Being on the island made me realize how digital noise and devices can be a distraction from carving out quality time for ourselves. Ikarians, on the other hand, value the power of nature – from daily walks to tending to their garden. I quickly discovered how powerful the Ikarian concept of “philotimo” can be, which stands for the strong sense of hospitality that islanders show to each other and all visitors.

Lastly, and most importantly, I discovered how important it is to build and and preserve strong relationships with family, friends, and the community. Ikarians believe in helping and building relationships with one another and extending grace and understanding if and when someone falls short. Ikarians trust one another, knowing fully that each person is doing their best and that, in the end, everyone carries their own burden. We can all learn to foster more meaningful connections with each other and ourselves.

Overall, I can say that my Ikarian experience taught me to appreciate and savor every moment, slow down, be kind to myself and others, and rediscover the beauty of nature and life. These valuable lessons struck a chord with me, and I hope they can be of the same help to you.

There’s a modest Greek island in the Aegean Sea wherever in your 30s, you’re however a baby, and in your 90s, you may well continue to have very a extensive highway ahead. Ikaria, Greece, sees more than 30 p.c of locals dwell past the age of 90—in truth, a entire report named The Ikaria Review, was carried out to study much more about the Ikarian life-style, which include their diet regime, bodily exercise behavior, how they socialize, and what makes them satisfied.

What makes Ikaria even extra specific is that it is 1 of only 5 regions in the entire world thought of a Blue Zone, a position wherever people today stay the longest, healthiest lives of anyone on the planet. Finding out this was inspiration more than enough for Julie Nguyen, who was burnt out from functioning her business all through the pandemic, to pack up her luggage and go are living in Ikaria for a person thirty day period. These are the lessons she uncovered from embracing an Ikarian lifestyle for a month.

1. Use your time to prioritize connections in excess of productivity

Nguyen had a single rocky start out to her month-extensive stay. “On my way from the airport, I took a completely wrong transform and practically drove my motor vehicle off a cliff,” she suggests. “Locals came to my rescue, getting a rope from a child’s swing set and shelling out several hours figuring out how to tow my car or truck for me.”

Nguyen, who is the founder of the sustainable food items supply organization, Methodology, says that was the 1st time in her existence she’d seasoned a team of strangers all appear collectively and go out of their way to enable her. “I never realized I could feel so supported and risk-free amongst strangers,” she says. “I collapsed into bed that evening and cried. This encounter taught me about the joy that flows by you when you benefit your time not by becoming as productive as feasible, but by employing it to link, display kindness even to strangers, relaxation, and rejoice.

2. Determine achievements for your self

For the reason that of Ikaria’s distinctive political history—Greece’s government exiled virtually 13,000 communists to the island subsequent the Greek Civil War (1946–1949)—Ikarians really do not yearn for extra, Nguyan claims she discovered from her time there. “Living in Ikaria was the 1st time going through what it is like to stay somewhere where by money is an afterthought,” she states. “They’re completely content accomplishing the same items each and every working day and no a person seriously cares about extravagant garments, houses, autos, or food stuff. This taught me the importance of choosing for you what it indicates to you to have more than enough, be more than enough, and do enough. I now catch and cease myself much more normally when I’m comparing my good results to the achievement of some others. It’s brought me so substantially peace and gratitude for my everyday living.”

3. Do not make it possible for your age to determine you

Even though a good deal of curiosity and talk of Ikaria centers on the longevity of its citizens, it’s not even a subject matter of dialogue among locals. “There’s a independence you feel when you prevent making it possible for your age to outline who you are or dictate what you should or shouldn’t do,” Nguyen suggests. “I no more time feel ‘old’ at 40 and enjoy celebrating existence much more often.”

Though she’s no for a longer time residing in Ikaria, Nguyen (who is currently contacting Paris home) is nonetheless embracing an Ikarian life style in quite a few techniques. “My 10-calendar year-old nephew who lives in Austin, Texas, just despatched me an email inquiring if I’d show up at his birthday bash,” she states. “Initially I was heading to decrease because of the long flight time and how significantly is heading on with do the job suitable now, but then I caught myself and remembered that existence is about connecting with cherished kinds, and factors like this require to be a priority in daily life.”

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