Healthy, relaxing, spacious, slow… these are not adjectives we commonly associate with city life. For many urbanites, these words represent a distant or unreachable dream – something we fantasize about as we step onto a crowded subway train or watch yet another cab pass us by. Yet city life doesn’t need to be all hustle and bustle, jam-packed with struggles and stress. Here are a few tips that will help make city life that bit more liveable.
Does your home or office feel lifeless? That may be because it is. If you’ve gone for minimalist or super-modernist décor, the chances are that you’ve overlooked including anything from the natural world in your environment. Consider at least getting a plant. They don’t have to take up much space and can even be suspended from the ceiling.
We humans are not designed to spend our lives in concrete boxes, so adding a touch of nature will do wonders for your stress and anxiety levels. Certain plants also greatly improve the quality of air we breathe – notably snake plants, golden pothos and wax begonias are known to filter out pollutants well, in addition to adding color and character to our surroundings.
Grow your own food
Imagine coming home from work every day in the knowledge that, instead of spending the evening in front of the TV, wolfing down a takeaway pizza or microwave meal, you could be tending to your vegetables and cooking with them. Even the smallest and most cramped apartments have potential for growing something – on shelves, sills, balconies or suspended from the ceiling.
Lots of herbs, greens and fruit and vegetables such as avocadoes, garlic, tomatoes, lemons, mushrooms, chillies, carrots and even oranges can be grown easily in the smallest of apartments. The more sunlight you have access to, the more options you have for growing.
Change your commute
Whether you’re used to fighting your way through the crowds to get on a train, or if you spend hours every day sitting in traffic, one thing is for sure – it’s not doing any good for your well being. The alternatives depend on each situation, but the good news is that there are a wide range of alternatives:
First up has to be walking. Do this wherever you can. It’s true that you’ll have to watch out for traffic and you might not be breathing in the cleanest of air, but giving your body some exercise and making the connection with your surroundings instead of shielding yourself from it is worth the trade-off. For longer distances, use a bicycle for the same reasons.
For some journeys and commutes, the two options above might need to be modified. For example, if you have a disability or an injury, or if you have to carry heavy grocery bags, for example. In those cases, you could opt for an electric bike, a hover board or electric scooter. You can find plenty of these options online, and if you don’t immediately see something that suits you, just keep scrolling further down the page and something is bound to catch your eye.
Cities are full of things to do and places to go in our free time. Galleries, theaters, shops and the like are part of the pull that cities have over towns and villages. However, something that cities also have that are often overlooked, are parks. Rather than being something we simply walk through or drive past, parks should be places where we spend time reconnecting with nature. Have a picnic with your friends, or by yourself, if you prefer. Take a book with you and sit under a tree. See how many species of bird or flower you can identify. Go for a run or a jog, maybe do some yoga. Find a quiet corner in which you can meditate.
We choose to live in cities for the opportunities they give us. It is up to us to decide how we use those opportunities. Remaining connected with nature, animals, greenery and food is definitely all possible for city-dwellers, so let’s take care of the environment around us, and it will in turn, take care of us.