Every year, millions of people around the globe leave their countryside homes for the city. Though rural areas are known for being much more peaceful, they don’t usually offer the same perks, such as employment opportunities, as urban areas prompt many of their residents to make the move. And sure enough, the moment they step foot onto a big city like Melbourne or Los Angeles, they’d be facing flourishing real estate, multi-national corporations, prestigious schools, and high-class recreational areas.
However, if your livelihood in the countryside depended on farming, for example, you might find the migration pressure rather challenging. But with proper preparation, research, and awareness of what lies ahead, you can thrive in the city in no time, and wholeheartedly call it home. Below are some pointers for gradually adjusting to urban living:
Know the Challenges
As much as you’d like to focus on the positive, it won’t hurt also to find out the potential difficulties you’d face. It will break whatever notions you have about the city, and see it with a realistic perspective.
By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to dwell in urban areas. As such, the threat of poverty and environmental degradation rise.
Intensive urban growth can increase poverty rates because the local governments might not be able to keep up and provide the necessary aid for the people. And of course, with more people, more energy will be consumed, aggravating air pollution and health hazards.
Likewise, the high volume of automobiles on the roads pollutes the air, and so do tons of uncollected waste. Urban development, meanwhile, exhausts trees, animal habitats, and food sources, leading to flash floods and other environmental hazards.
- Mental Health Issues
The hustle and bustle of city life can take a toll on your mental health. At first, it may be fascinating, but once you register the pressure it comes with, you’d be overstimulated. And according to Camille Dieterle, assistant professor of clinical occupational therapy in the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, overstimulation causes fatigue, stress, being overwhelmed, mood swings, and irritability.
- Drug Addiction
According to the Pew Research Center, drug addiction is the top pressing problem in urban communities in the U.S. A third of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more report that drug addiction is a major problem in their community, while those in upper-class communities aren’t as concerned about it. Meanwhile, 50% of lower-class adults say that drug addiction is also a major problem where they live.
Be a Responsible City Dweller
The challenges above aren’t a reason to give up your city dream. You can definitely enjoy urban life; the key is to be a responsible citizen and to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
- Opt For Cleaner Transportation Methods
Instead of driving your own car, consider ride-sharing or using a bicycle. You can also opt for walking if your workplace is just nearby. Doing any of those causes the streets to have one less car, improving traffic and reducing the impact of emissions.
- Consider Green Structural Parts for Your Home
When building or renovating your city home, consider green roofs, which capture rainwater and help cool your home and the street. Add more green features around your property as well, such as trees and sidewalk gardens.
- Conserve Energy
If you don’t have the budget for a cleaner energy source yet, practice turning off your lights when not in use, keeping the thermostat in efficient levels, regulating the use of your air conditioner, and choosing energy-saving appliances. But even if you have a cheaper energy source, it’s still crucial and economical to control your energy consumption.
- Grow Your Own Produce
If this is something you did in the countryside, bring it to the city, and lessen your high demand for big corporate agriculture. In turn, you can improve the working conditions in community farmers’ markets and gardens.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
You can de-stress in a number of simple ways, such as turning off the TV, putting down your smartphone, and taking a break from answering work emails. If you deal with several appointments in a day, try rescheduling them at a more manageable time so you can have a full day for yourself.
Unplug periodically as well by taking a stroll in the park, or anywhere close to nature. Take it as an opportunity to exercise, jogging just lightly, or walking around to burn off calories and release happy hormones.
Don’t feel guilty for sleeping in; if you need to get up early, make it a habit to sleep earlier at night so that you can get sufficient sleeping hours. Stock up on sleep essentials if you’re having a hard time dozing off, such as blackout window shades or an eye mask.
Managing your mental health will keep you balanced, preventing you from giving in to the temptation of alcohol and drugs. Coupled with being a responsible city dweller, you’d thrive in urban life and contribute a positive change to your new community.