If the last few years have taught us anything about our home life it’s that spending as much time doing the things we love is essential for our happiness. When reflecting on the things we enjoy, many of us have concluded that our homes should be the launchpad for those activities.
Perhaps, then, this is why the great outdoors is influencing those who are seeking pastures new as they want unrestricted access to nature on their doorstep. And who can blame them? Not only can a move to the countryside or within proximity of nature spots make you feel better but, because you don’t need to load up the car, you can lower your impact too!
Connecting with nature
The elephant in the room is the clear connection with nature that living rurally provides. In busy urban regions of the country space is at a premium, with green areas being even less common.
Those living in flats or apartment blocks may not have a patch of green land they can enjoy, causing a disconnect between us and the natural world. Moving to a place in the great outdoors flips the script and we can go from having no greenery to being surrounded by it.
There is more land available, whether you wish that to be part of your property or somewhere to roam. With nature on your doorstep, you can even enjoy seasonal foraging for treats to share with the whole family or to make a cake or preserve with.
Engaging in regular exercise
The great outdoors can be a little like nature’s playground if you have an adventurous spirit. Those moving away from urban environments can swap the gym for national parks and countryside locations that provide ample opportunities for hiking, running, cycling, horse riding and swimming. Even the chores you may find yourself doing can act as a workout, from mowing a large lawn to hedge trimming and chopping wood for your open fire or wood burner.
With so many trails close by, you can find yourself getting lost as you wander alone, providing some headspace or a chance to catch up on your latest podcasts or audiobooks while letting you fit exercise around your schedule. You don’t have to worry about relying on anyone else for an active lifestyle, it’s just you under your own steam.
Furthermore, exercise in the great outdoors doesn’t come with the heavy clouds of pollution you may face when jogging or strolling around a city. Instead, you can pull on a pair of wellies or walking boots and breathe in nothing but fresh country air – including some of those less pleasant fragrances from farms and wildlife!
Mental health benefits
Those stepping out of the bright lights of the city will remark at the quiet that nighttime brings in the countryside. Not only can you hear yourself think but you can actually see the stars as light pollution is greatly reduced in remote areas.
There is also the added benefit of being in nature itself, and the restorative powers this has on our minds and bodies. Nature has an overall positive impact on our mental health. It helps generate positive emotions such as joy and creativity while lowering feelings of depression and anxiety.
People living in rural locations can also enjoy more privacy than those in urban or suburban homes, where they no longer share many, if any, walls with neighbours. That lack of noise allows for a more peaceful way of life, allowing people to create a more private home that is just for them.
Remote working makes it more possible
People are no longer forced to go into the office five times a week and so they are more willing to move further away from urban areas at the expense of visiting the office less frequently. If jumping on a train one day per week for a couple of hours each way means we can spend more time at home with our family, walking our dogs or just avoiding a commute the rest of the week, then many may believe it is worth it.
Thanks to remote working, people can perform just as well, if not more productively, than they do when traipsing into the office every day. And with companies more willing to offer remote or hybrid working patterns, casting longing glances at a house in the Cotswolds is no longer something to covet from afar. Selling up in the big city can afford people more freedom to roam and explore while upsizing their homes as they avoid the trap of city property prices with their limited square footage.
What might be holding people back?
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate moving to a rural setting but for balance, there are some hurdles that are too much for people to overcome. For example, it can be an isolating experience living with so few people around, particularly if you have moved from a busy urban location. That lack of convenience can take some adjustment and it isn’t for everyone.
However, many who do move into a rural community can find they are part of a closer-knit society than those living with neighbours all around them. Remoteness doesn’t necessarily equate to loneliness, and those who live in the countryside find themselves in regular contact with their neighbours, those in their village and nearby towns.
Problems gaining fast internet in rural spots is another potential drawback for some, and while it is essential for many people who work remotely, 90% of UK homes have access to fibre broadband.
Is it time to move closer to the great outdoors?
Whether the time is right for you to move closer to the great outdoors depends largely on your situation. If your job provides the freedom of remote or hybrid working patterns and you are simply growing tired of the relentless pace of urban or city environments then it might be a smart move. However, with financial uncertainty likely to linger throughout the UK for the foreseeable future, decisions should not be taken lightly.