Did you know that where you live may be increasing your stress levels, hindering your motivation or even causing depression? Your mental health is an important part of your life, and it is vital that you learn what affects it and how to improve it.
According to the University of Minnesota, living in a busy city in particular can take its toll; the hustle and bustle may increase stress levels and make it more difficult to relax. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost for city-dwellers. If you are looking to move to a new city, here are some tips to finding peace in your fast-paced new life. They may also provide some ideas for how to make the time in your current city more enjoyable.
Choice of City
Before you take the leap and move, do plenty of research on the different neighborhoods in the area, looking specifically for the busy vs. the calm areas. If you love being near the water or find peace surrounded by trees, search out a city that caters to these needs. Helpful resources such as ParkScore, rank the average resident's ease of access to green space by city. Philadelphia, for example, might not have many open spaces, but just a quick train ride out of the city will bring you to more rural areas of Pennsylvania. Love hiking to relax? A place like Denver will provide you with that option just a few minutes outside the city lines.
You can often find reviews of your city online via Yelp!, local community forums, and by connecting with people you've met who live or work there. I have found good connections that can provide a local's perspective through connections on LinkedIn and Facebook, for example.
Location of Home
Once you know where you are going to move, it is time to find an apartment or home in that area that will keep you stress free. Take Chicago as an example. While the city is highly populated and full of action, you can easily find homes that fit your criteria. Start by checking online for available apartments to rent — you may find listings that face Lake Michigan, giving you a scenic view of the water, or overlook one of the many parks in the city. Be sure to read user reviews to find out if complexes attract busy and loud neighbors. If you are someone who needs peace and quiet for your mental well-being, see what the tenants say about the building before making a move.
Think about your commute and other lifestyle elements when you decide where to live - if you like to cycle, living near a good bike path would be helpful. If you plan to commute, make sure you know what you're getting into (distance, time in traffic, options for public transportation or biking / walking to work, for example). This is a good reason to rent for a while before you buy - try they location for a while to see if it is compatible with you.
You can participate in peaceful activities like yoga, meditation or writing in any city. If you don't have a lot of access to the outdoors or quiet places, turn your apartment into a serene oasis. Set aside time each day to meditate to clear your mind and relax. If you are new to the practice, use an app like Calm, which lets you choose the length of your session, voiceovers, background sounds and more. With a pair of headphones and your eyes closed, escape to the peaceful area of your dreams. Try a few different activities and reflect on which makes you feel the most calm, and then stick to a routine to improve your mental state.
Moving to a busy city doesn't mean your mind has to speed up to keep pace. There are plenty of places to relax and find peace if you do your research and set aside time for your mental health.
I like to get out into the country for a hike, horseback riding, or volunteering at charities - all of these are relaxing for me. Your particular relaxation needs might be different, so make a list of "must haves" and "nice to haves" from an activity and amenity perspective, and plan so you have good options for the things that are important to you in your new home city.