With an increasing trend of Brits moving abroad to enjoy the changes in lifestyle, we’ve come to wonder – what’s the big deal? Well, let’s look at what is so appealing about life on the Costa Blanca, or retirement on a Spanish Island, and whether or not we might just be getting it right.
The Weather! It has to come top of the list. In the UK, we are often lucky to get a couple of weeks of actual, proper, sunbathing-strength sunshine to enjoy in the summer months. So, the appeal of a warmer climate and all of the enjoyment in brings along with it is certainly a change in lifestyle. But why is this so important? Well, it is great for our mental and physical health. For example, vitamin D from spending more time in the sunshine can lower blood pressure, help muscle strength, improve brain function and may even protect against cancer. Not only that but studies have shown that sunshine actually improves our mood overall and can have an incredibly positive impact on our mental health. Humans were meant to spend time outdoors and the warmer climate allows for this. Social activities that bring us outside are great for our health and wellbeing. So, the appeal of living in a climate such as that of Spain is a legitimate one and, yes, it offers an arguably better, more comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle that that of the UK climate.
Culture. Why is it that the Spanish community, as just one example of appealing locations, seems so much less stressed, more inclined to ‘go with the flow’ and cater to their comfort? Perhaps we’ve got it wrong – is this just an over-generalised statement? Well, if research is correct, no – its actually quite true. The weather has a lot to answer for, as the heat in the summer means that siesta is a must and the pace of life is therefore slowed down somewhat in comparison to the ‘rate-race’ of the UK. On the whole, Spanish culture has a stronger focus on family ties and sociability. According to an article written by a Spanish resident in the UK last year, people living in Spain and amongst Spanish islands talk a lot more to one another that would seemingly be the case in the UK. This culture of having time outdoors, resting in line with wellbeing and having less of a worry about money strains (likely due to affordability in lifestyle) has created a much more relaxed attitude to life and how it is lived. Again, we have to tick this box as it certainly goes in favour of finding a more appealing lifestyle abroad.
Cuisine. OK, we know – it’s a bit of a running joke amongst other countries in Europe and certainly in the US that British food doesn’t quite cut it. While we know this is a bit of a generalisation and that we’re certainly the front runner when it comes to a proper breakfast, there could be some truth in it as a whole. You just have to take a small sample of a more Mediterranean diet to see just how much we could potentially be missing. Again, due to the climate, there is a difference in quality when it comes to fresh and locally sourced produce such as seafood, fruits and vegetables in a country such as Spain. It is also said that a more Mediterranean-based diet of quality fish and vegetables, olives, oils, rice and rich tomatoes sauces can have some excellent health benefits. Food rich in protein, omega three and vitamin C can offer a boost in physical and mental health. Paired with a warm, steady climate such as that found in the Costa Blanca for example, we see the perfect mix for a full, relaxed and enjoyable life outside of the UK.
Of course, there will be other factors to consider – if you’re more of a city-dweller, the UK has a lot to offer. However, the evidence can’t be ignored. When it really comes to enjoying life and an offering of balance for relaxation, health and simply being able to enjoy the outdoors, it could be that moving abroad is just what the doctor ordered.