With more and more jobs going online, and the cost of living increase across the board, plenty of people are finding themselves moving out of cities and into the countryside. You may be one of them. For those of us who have spent our whole lives in urban metropolises, this transition isn’t always easy!
Although rural life has plenty of benefits, it won’t surprise you to learn that many people experience difficulty adapting. While you may long to escape the obvious stresses of city living, the challenges that come with living in the countryside can come as a shock.
The key is being prepared. If you’re planning to move away from your city, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you enjoy it. This article is meant to help you anticipate and overcome some of the biggest challenges you’ll face.
Why Leave the City?
As we all know, the basic costs of living rurally are far lower compared to living in a city. However, rural jobs often don’t pay the same wages. You may be like countless others who, due to the pandemic, have found the sweet spot: remote work! With the same salary you have now, your expendable income can increase dramatically just by leaving an urban center.
To go one step further, given the possibility to work online, leaving the city even lets you consider changing your career. Some of the highest-paying data entry jobs, for example, are less intensive than a traditional career and can allow you to focus more on your family.
Other obvious draws include fresh air, nearby nature, and opportunities to engage more with the outdoors. In addition, you can say goodbye to cramped apartments and noisy neighbors. The thought of sitting outside, in your own backyard, with few people around is dream-like for anyone who’s ever lived in a city.
However, there are plenty of hidden dangers that can undercut your ability to enjoy everything that rural life has to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones, and how to avoid them.
How to Avoid Cabin Fever
If you’ve moved to the countryside to work from home, it’s very easy to let your job consume you. This is simply because of a dramatic lack of distractions or alternatives! Even the best work from home jobs can wear you down if you can’t ever step away from them. This leads to cabin fever, and soon you’ll be clawing at the walls.
The trick is to factor in this possibility, and make a concerted effort to fill your day with things outside of the ‘office’. On a small scale, this means going for walks or working in your garden. In the bigger picture, you’ll need to find something other than work that you’re passionate about.
Goals that you can work towards are invaluable, especially when the overall tempo of your daily life slows down like it does in the country. The sense of accomplishment and achievement that you earn through pursuing your passions are an excellent antidote to cabin fever.
Making New Friends
Unless you’re moving to an Arctic research station, chances are you’re not going to be totally alone. There will be other people nearby, and finding friends among them will ease your transition tremendously. However, in the countryside distances between people are larger, so socializing is far less spontaneous than it is in cities.
If you’re trying to make new friends, don’t expect to find them in the local grocery store. Instead, you’ll have to take a more direct approach and go to where the people are. Here are some options to consider:
- Try a sport you’ve never tried before. Look up basketball, tennis, or racquetball courts and try to go regularly!
- Small towns typically have plenty of competitions and events. Go to the town website and see what they have planned.
- Bars are always a good place to socialize. Don’t be afraid to go alone – you’ll meet people eventually.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your neighbors one by one. A good first impression goes a long way, and you’ll certainly find yourself needing their help and advice as you settle into your new home.
Keeping the Door Open
From a psychological standpoint, adapting to a change in environment can be a lot harder if you put pressure on yourself to enjoy it. The fact is that there will be things that you miss about the city, and that’s okay! Simply accepting that this isn’t always easy will help you keep an open mind and a positive attitude.
It’s important to remind yourself that, if this doesn’t work out, you can always go back. You may flinch when you think of the logistics involved in reversing course, but it’s not impossible. While it’s unlikely that you will want to, keeping that mental door open can relieve a lot of the pressure you may feel while you adjust.
Most importantly, don’t forget to keep up with your friends from the city. Don’t let them slip away! Maintaining those relationships is going to take more effort than it did when you lived in the same city, but it’s worth it. The truth is that there is bound to be a period during which you haven’t yet found a circle of friends in your new home. The loneliness of the countryside can be jarring to even the biggest introvert – don’t underestimate it.
Ultimately, much of who we are is determined by our environment. When you relocate to a completely new place, you’re bound to find things about yourself that you never expected. Embrace it! There are plenty of things you never thought you’d find yourself doing, or find yourself enjoying. The key is to go out and find them.
With a positive mindset, and a concerted effort to try new things, you’re going to do fine. Good luck!