Sunday, June 4, 2023
HomeRetire HappyHow Rural Living Boosts Your Health and Wellness

How Rural Living Boosts Your Health and Wellness

Many people fear the idea of living off the grid because they think they won’t have access to the basic necessities of life. Some might even believe living a life of relative isolation in a rural community could deteriorate their health. After all, without hospitals, medicines, and therapy at arm’s reach, how could they possibly stay mentally and physically strong?

By building a life of isolation, you can live a healthier life. It won’t always be easy, but the rewards over time are well worth the effort. Below are some of the skills you will need to learn to survive in isolation and how rural living can boost your wellness.

When you live in a rural community or a home that is miles away from the next neighbor, you must learn to fend for yourself. By doing so, you could become physically stronger and mentally tough. Although you will likely have access to shelter, water, and some of the other necessities, you will still need to learn several survival skills to keep yourself safe and strong. These necessary skills include the ability to practice first aid, navigate through the wilderness, and build a shelter.

You will also need to learn to build a fire. Doing so is essential for boiling and purifying your drinking water, cooking most of your food, and keeping warm during the fall and winter. Building a fire is a bit of a process if you aren’t familiar with the task. You will need to gather food, kindling, and tinder and place it all strategically into the fire pit. Then, you can use matches or a lighter to ignite the flames. If you don’t have modern fire-starting tools, then there are several ways to build a fire the old-fashioned way. Tactics include:

Whatever tactic you try, know that it may take some time. However, once that flame ignites and you can create fire day after day, you will feel incredibly validated. Starting something from scratch can be incredibly rewarding, and that feeling of accomplishment is excellent for your mental health.

Other tasks also allow you to create something amazing from scratch, including gardening. Without access to a local grocery store, you may have to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in a garden on your property. Watching your fruits and flowers grow from meager seeds can be incredibly fulfilling and a great motivation to continue your rural life. Plus, gardening requires movement, squatting, and lifting heavy weights, which can improve your physical health.

Wherever you live, following the cornerstones of proper self-care is important. The necessities of proper wellness include:

The good thing about living an isolated life is that you likely will not have access to fast food restaurants and dessert shops, so you already have a good starting point for your healthy diet. Since a garden will need time to grow, it is a good idea to stock up on brain food before you move. Avoid bad snacks and stick to foods that will keep you strong and healthy, including leafy greens, fruit, nuts, whole grains, and coffee that you can prepare with hot water.

When you plant your garden, you will want to grow many of those same foods to continue your healthy lifestyle. When you are farming or gardening, consider a regenerative or sustainable approach. While you will already be using less electricity than a typical city home, you can also grow good food and prevent harm to the water supply by avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers and by pulling weeds and cutting plants and trees by hand instead of using gas-powered or electrical devices. By living as sustainably as possible, you’ll know that you’re doing your best to help the planet, which can also be mentally fulfilling.

When you live far away from the craziness of a busy world, you’ll likely spend more time alone or with your immediate family. While many people may consider that type of life to be boring, the actuality is that this abundance of free time allows you to learn many new hobbies that can be fun and physically and mentally fulfilling.

There is a hobby out there for everyone, regardless of your interest. Hobbies could include projects like building model planes and cars, taking nature photos, and even learning to dance. Some hobbies are entertaining but can also help you to thrive in your life in the wilderness, like cooking or baking. You can try woodworking which will give you the skills to build your own tables, chairs, and cabinets. Knitting is another great hobby that will fill some time and help you save money. Instead of going to the store or ordering online, you can knit your own socks, sweaters, and more at home.

Picking up at least one hobby is also great for your mental health. Research shows that folks who spend time every day doing something that they love are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. Taking a break from your work is essential to let your mind rest. Hobbies can also help to expand your mind and become more creative and imaginative, which are attributes that can help you thrive as you go about your rural life.

Whether you’re building a new shelter on your property, riding your bike to town, or taking a leisurely stroll through the forest, you’re doing wonders for your mental health.

When the greenery of trees and plants surrounds you, your stress can start to melt away. Studies have shown that simply looking at trees can reduce your blood pressure and the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline. Living near wildlife and away from the hustle and bustle of the city can also help to improve our focus. When you don’t have horns and music blasting all around but, instead, you hear insects, birds chirping, and the wind blowing through the trees, it puts your mind at ease and helps you to think.

There is also incredible power in sunlight. When you are under the sun all day, the light and warmth increase the serotonin in your body, which can help ease your anxiety. Plus, sunlight can help to fight off the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can include feelings of irritation and despair and can cause disinterest in the daily activities you used to enjoy.

Sunlight also helps with your physical health. The vitamin D produced by the sun is an essential building block of our bodies. It helps to reduce inflammation, promote cell growth, and control infections. Sunlight is also important for your bones. Failure to get enough vitamin D is linked to diseases like osteoporosis, and the last thing you need is to have weak bones when you need to be physically capable of living off the land. Finally, sunlight can be instrumental in lowering your blood pressure. When sunlight hits your skin, your body releases nitric oxide, which brings down your blood pressure and improves your heart health.

In addition to living in a natural, green atmosphere that helps you to feel relaxed, time away from the city also takes you further from the air and noise pollution that causes many health issues in the city.

The pollution in a city can be incredibly harmful. The exhaust and emissions from cars and buildings can cause adverse health conditions if you always breathe them into your system. Health issues can be severe and include respiratory infections, lung cancer, and heart disease. Ailments like these can be especially harmful to children and the elderly. When you are living in isolation and breathing fresh air, those concerns are greatly reduced.

Then, there is the noise pollution that fills urban areas, including the sounds from cars, construction work, music, and the constant talking of people around you. Suppose the sounds we hear in cities rise to dangerous decibels. In that case, it can cause physical and mental issues, such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Also, being constantly around noise can disturb our sleep and cause stress, which can lead to high blood pressure and other dangerous conditions.

When you live in a rural community, you don’t have a constant barrage of sounds. However, you must still be careful to use proper ear protection when using loud tools like chainsaws, circular saws, drills, and other loud equipment you may use to build your furniture and gather firewood.

One of the most incredible things about living an isolated life out in the country is the fact that you have a ton of space to move, build, and play. If you have a dog, horse, or any other animal that loves to run and explore, they can truly feel at home in a rural setting. When you have a more oversized backyard or endless trails for you and your furry companion to enjoy, then you will both be much happier.

If you don’t own a dog, this is a great time to get one. Pets make people happier. Just the fact that you have a puppy by your side can boost your wellness in significant ways. The bond you share and the joy you have when you are with your dog can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and symptoms of PTSD.

Caring for a pet also gives you purpose. Dogs and cats require care and attention. They need to be fed, groomed, and they love to play with their owners. Caring for a dog can also bring meaning to our lives. Living in isolation has plenty of perks, but it can get lonely if you let it. By having a dog or cat by your side through thick and thin that you can always count on, you can feel better about your life.

Plus, a pet can help you with some of the tasks you face in this rural life and be a co-worker of sorts as they help you hunt, control pests, and herd livestock. Show your dog love and they will be your faithful companion until the end, and that kind of friendship will improve your mental health and make your heart glow.

A great perk of living an isolated life on a larger property with fewer neighbors is the privacy you rarely experience in a city. Nosy neighbors and constant phone calls can drain us mentally and distract us from our true priorities. When your next-door neighbor is a walk or a short drive away, you can avoid distractions and focus on yourself and your personal needs.

While you moved to the country for isolation, having someone to speak to is crucial and social relationships are essential for happiness and improved mental health. That said, rural life is also great for building a sense of community if that’s what you desire. When you aren’t constantly bothered by your neighbors, and you’re ready to make a new friend, you can knock on their door. If you are polite and friendly, you can create a meaningful relationship. Rural neighbors will also be more willing to lend a hand if you need help on your property, and you can return the favor at a later time.

Folks who want a change should consider the move. If you are used to living in the city, building a life of isolation can take some time as you learn the ropes and create your own routine. However, a life of self-reliance in a rural world surrounded by greenery and peaceful living can also do wonders for your mental and physical health.

[Note: This was a guest post.]

Damian Brindle

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *