A Beginners Guide: City Living versus Country Living

If your heart is now – or has ever been – in the country, it can be a big adjustment if your job, business or family obligations require you to move to the city. You can make the transition easier and ease your stress levels and anxiety by finding ways to take advantage of the favorable features and alleviate the less favorable conditions. Change isn’t always easy, but making the best of change is a sure way to increase your satisfaction.

Embracing the Favorable Features of City Living

1. Broaden your cultural horizons. Cultural attractions are what many people love most about city living. Become a member of your local museums and / or art galleries. Subscribe to theater and concert programs, and look up their performance schedules online to get a sneak peek of upcoming events. Browse community calendars for lectures and street fairs, and if you have the time, consider volunteering with a non-profit organization to expand your cultural and personal circle.

2. Sample the local fare. You may forget all about your former favorite foods once you give yourself permission to taste something new. Many cities have loads of inexpensive ethnic eateries that serve generous portions. Look for specialty markets where you can buy the ingredients to make your favorite dishes at home, and look for recipe cards or sheets posted near the ingredients. Frequent your local farmers markets for fresh produce and back-home country flair, and ask the vendors if they also have favorite recipes made with their own produce.

3. Spend more time out of your car. You may no longer need to own an automobile, depending on what city you move into. Get more daily exercise by walking everywhere you can. Some rental services let you pick up a car for a few hours and drop it off when your errands are done. Exercise is a terrific mood-booster, and you’ll also enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence by building physical stamina and strength.

4. Enjoy shorter commutes. If you’re lucky enough to be moving closer to work, you’ll now have lots more free time. Take more family outings or sign up for piano lessons in your new community.

5. Find more career and business opportunities. Even in an increasingly digital world, some companies still want to locate their headquarters in major urban centers. Check out new professional opportunities – you could learn a new skill, find a new, more advanced position, or use the increased opportunities to start a business of your own.

6. Make a fresh start. If your hometown still thinks of you as the kid who won the spelling bee, you can reinvent yourself in new surroundings. Think about what you want to be famous for in the next stage of your life, and create a plan to help you get there in your new locale.


Mitigating the Challenging Features of Leaving Country Living

1. Manage mental stress. Studies show that urban residents display more symptoms of mental stress than their rural counterparts. To handle moving at a faster pace, get plenty of rest. Try relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, and schedule time to de-stress as you adjust to your new surroundings.

2. Downsize your belongings. You’ll probably be living in tighter quarters with less storage space. Be slightly ruthless when getting rid of stuff you seldom use – this will help you feel like you have more space.

3. Prepare for sticker shock. You may be paying higher prices for food, furnishings, clothing and other necessities. Look for store specials or use more coupons to lessen the negative impact on your budget.

4. Reduce the noise level. Give yourself a break from traffic sounds or upstairs neighbors. Wear earplugs or keep a fan running part of the day to drown out the city noises and help you feel like you have some peace and quiet. Listen to music on ear buds while you take the train to work, and ask if you can play music or “white noise” at your desk.

5. Monitor air quality. Many cities have cut down on air pollution in recent years. You can protect yourself further by watching the air quality readings in the daily weather forecast and limiting your time outdoors on the worst days.


Additional Suggestions to Ease Your Transition

1. Hold on to some precious keepsakes. Bring along memories from home like photographs or childhood toys. They can help you feel connected to what you know and love.

2. Stay in touch with old friends. If you move far away, video calls (i.e. Skype) are the next best thing to being there in person. Use email, social media and other technology to maintain long distance relationships and stay grounded.

3. Make new friends. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Join a club or take a class where you can meet people who share your interests. A schedule of neighborhood events can also help you to get out and meet new people in your local area.

4. Locate the necessities. Wherever you settle in, you’ll feel at home faster if you take care of the daily essentials. Ask your coworkers for suggestions for a good dry cleaner or child care service, and let them know they were recommended to you when you visit the first few times. Building connections with new resources is another great way to settle in and feel more comfortable.

City living and country living both have their advantages. Keep an open mind so you’ll enjoy both the stimulation of your new city and fond memories of your old country home.