At some point in your life [and maybe that point is right now] you may find yourself having to live in a place that you don’t necessarily love. Maybe you had to move for work, or you ended up staying in a city that you’re totally over after falling in love with somebody new, maybe you’re saving money to buy your dream house on the coast and have a 2 year plan, the list goes on and on.
Whatever the reason and no matter the duration, you’ll need to find ways to survive it. Being miserable decidedly sucks, so it’s best to figure out ways to not hate your life in the meantime.
Luckily, I’ve come up with 5 ways [that have definitely worked for me] to help you get through it.
Get outside and explore the area. I’ve found in my own experience that my safe place is the homestead and would tend to stay home more often because the idea of being out there just seemed dreadful. Wrong. Staying home will never help you integrate into the community or the place itself and being isolated will only depress you, and more than likely, you’ll begin to hate your living situation even more.
Try to integrate the things you liked doing in the places you liked living before– did you used to hit up the farmers’ market every Saturday morning? Did you bike everywhere you went? Try those things here. Surely there’s a nearby botanical garden or a zoo? Find the closest National Park and spend a day tromping around the trails. Camping exists everywhere, even if you need to drive a bit to find a killer spot. Do some research and scout out your options and spend a weekend adventuring around what’s near you. Being outside is one of the best ways to improve your mental and physical health, and the best way to do that is to take advantage of what’s available to you.
I live right by the beach, and beaches, yeah they’re great and stuff, but they are kinda foreign to me. I have yet to learn the ways of enjoying the Salt Life – hashtag: we live where you vacation – Honestly, I’d much rather prefer it to be where I vacation. I’m a redwoods girl! The sand, oh god, it’s all over everything– inside my car and my house and my shoes and my kids hair– it drives me nuts and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Still, I understand too that I have to embrace the changes in order to see the positives. Example: Florida’s warm weather year round = continuous outside time. Even though I still hate the sand, I’ve chilled out a little, and now we’re a family that goes canoeing in the winter and I’m learning to kayak in the ocean and stand up paddle board– because, why not?
2. Do What the Locals Do
There’s no better way to learn what doesn’t suck about a place than finding out what’s cool from the locals. Check your city sponsored website for upcoming community events and definitely hit up the farmer’s markets, the street food vendors, the craft fairs, and open mic nights. Look at the flyers posted on cork boards in coffee houses and local shops, don’t be shy, ask your checker at the health food store, your trainer at the gym.
If you’re more of an introvert and don’t feel comfortable chattin’ up strangers, just Google the general types of activities you love [i.e. outdoor live music, wine bar with happy hour, etc.] and go check them out for yourself. Eventually you’ll have a handful of spots that become your “Go To” spots. That place with amazing vegetarian brunch menu that you just can’t get enough of, that brewery with the outdoor biergarten lined with twinkle lights– now you have places to take your pals when they come and visit, and ways to stay sane and content in the meantime.
3. Stay Busy
When your workday is done and your making that long trek back home, do not allow for idle time to become a space where your mind starts to dwell on what’s not awesome about the place you live and the situation that you’re in. I found myself doing this more often than I’d like to admit when I first moved from a place I adored. I’d wake up some mornings and look out the window and be like, “This is where I live?” Still, try and resist the urge to plop down on the couch and watch endless hours of Netflix streaming. Make a To Do List of things that need doing but also of things you want to do and try to cross at least one thing off per day. Once you’ve hit your one item minimum, then snuggle yourself into the couch for your TV marathon.
Trust me, this really does help! I do my best to make sure that my days are full and that I’m staying busy– whether it be with home improvement projects, trying out that amazing looking tofu coconut curry recipe, or simply just spending good time crafting with my kids or exploring the trails at the park. Being productive in ways that make you feel good will really help to make your days feel meaningful– regardless of where you are.
4. Take Time For Yourself
This goes hand-in-hand with staying busy– and if you haven’t noticed, I’m a list maker so I’m going to advise that you make lists of things you enjoy doing. Do this free style form, just list out the things that make you feel happy and whole and that are only for you [not your job, or your partner, or your kids– just for you], my list would include things like: reading in the park, biking, baking treats, writing, visiting a museum, exercising, making something crafty, etc.
Try to come up with 5-7 items and then schedule at least one of those items per day during your week. Literally write down the activity in your planner on the day you decide you’ll do it. [Are people still old school like me and use hard copy planners?] Put it in your google calendar or in your phone, heck write it on a white board, it doesn’t matter. Actually planning for you time does two things: 1. holds you accountable to really do that thing, 2. gives you a visual of all the things you accomplished, no matter how insignificant it might seem to anyone else it’s so nice to look back at and be like, “Yeah, I really did some stuff this week!”
Taking time for yourself will improve your quality of life and make you feel awesome, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes a day – you need to do it. After all, there is hard proven scientific evidence that links feeling good and having a positive attitude to a far less stressful and more emotionally balanced, healthier life.
5. Make Long-term Goals
If your timeline is to only stay a few years then making mile marker goals, [in addition to staying busy in your daily life], will help to give you something to look forward to and work toward. Examples of this might be: in six months I want to have x amount of money saved, and then make a plan to achieve that goal. Having a light at the end of the tunnel and a solid exit plan really does make the passage of time less painful, because there’s a payoff and potentially something pretty great at the end of your journey.
The same applies if you’re staying where you’re at for the next 10 years, make some long-term goals! Maybe start planning to buy a house, to save for retirement, for your kids college fund, maybe you want to start your own business– whatever your goals are, put those plans into action. If you have to be somewhere you don’t love for a longer period of time, then get excited about the changes you can make in your own life. Those mile markers will give you things to look forward to.
Another way to help get through the longer periods of time is to take vacations. Lots of vacations. Whether you’re the type that prefers exotic trips to foreign countries or short excursions to places nearby, getting away can really do wonders. It’s important to recharge your battery and escape the daily grind, experience new things, and spend quality time with the people you love. Taking time away from your regular life to travel has even been known to boost your creativity, and who couldn’t use an extra dose of creativity?
As I like to say, in the recipe of life the main ingredients are: stay positive, stay focused, and keep on keeping on.
Cheers to making your life a great one!