Minimalist Designs That Will Promote A Stress-Free Life

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The 2019 Real Estate Conference discussed the latest trends in real estate today. One of the topics which stood out was how minimalist movement is taking over the world of design. According to experts, aside from the freshness, it provides our homes, it also offers a cleansing to the soul. The reason behind this is that it promotes a stress-free life if applied.

With these in mind, here are some minimalist designs that you can adapt to your home.

Declutter

The best way to start with transforming your house into a minimalist zone is to declutter. Set aside a day or two for this. Everything that you know is not essential to your everyday living must be stored in your basement. Then, you should adequately arrange the things that leave in your space.

Make sure to do this at least once a month or whenever you feel the reemergence of clutter. Having a clean space will make you feel relaxed as compared to a messy one.

Buy Space Enhancing Furniture

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If you’re just two people at home, do you need a dining table for eight guests? Do you also need a three-piece suite for this? The answer is no. These things will only take up unnecessary space and will make your room smaller.

So, how do you do this? You may purchase dual furniture. For instance, a table that you use for your work can also be attached to the wall when you’re not using it. Managing your space will lower your stress since you don’t have to worry about regularly rearranging to make way for other furniture.

Simplify Color Schemes

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Believe it or not, color schemes are essential when creating the best look for your interior. Putting too many contrasting and bright colors will only transform the space into a cluttered and inhibited one. The best way to go about this is to apply two to three colors at most. This technique will ensure that the room will create a vibe of focus and relaxation.

A minimalist mindset is difficult to achieve at first. You might be too hesitant to let go of some things that contain some of your memories. However, science proved that minimalism has the power to reduce the anxiety and stress you feel. Try it out before stress takes hold of you.

The Flat Life – Hello, COVID-19!

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COVID-19 has led everyone on this planet to stay at home and not go out. It is the only way to lessen the spread of the virus – stay at home, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and self-quarantine. It would have been a better situation for everyone if we all lived on a farm with a huge green space, a suburban home with a garden, patio, and balcony, or a huge apartment that has space for everything. But what if you live in a flat, a tiny place that you share with three other people?

Continue reading “The Flat Life – Hello, COVID-19!”

Finding Home Away From Home

The 2017 Migration Conference tackles how the changes in our constantly shifting world move people away from their homeland to foreign lands surrounded by a different society. Millions of people travel miles looking for a new home as circumstances force them to migrate.

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Different people move houses for various reasons. Some simply want a change of scenery. Meanwhile, for some nations and their people, they have no choice but to flee as their lives are threatened by war, violence, and unrest in their very homeland. They are forced to migrate to other countries hoping for a better life. However, multiple issues may arise from this:

Safety In A Foreign Land

Escaping from violence only to run into another hostile and discriminating community is a collective experience and problem for immigrants. Many societies are aggressive toward them, and they are often seen as threats and outsiders who do not belong. Immigrants often get threats to their safety when they are merely searching for a place to live in peace.

Fitting In

No man is an island. We all live in a society with different cultures and practices, and we tend to conform to these norms to fit in. Perhaps as a response to the threats they receive, immigrants attempt to change to fit in better and belong in their new settlement. In turn, this leads to the last but equally pressing issue.

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Cultural Identity

Each society, nation, and group in human civilization has its own cultural identity that makes it unique to others. For displaced people, spread far and wide, away from their homeland, and surrounded by foreign culture, it can be challenging to hold on to your nation’s dances, rituals, beliefs, and practices. Losing this may mean losing your connection with your homeland and for others, their selves.

With these problems faced by displaced nations, is it still possible to find their home away from home? The world is vast and full of different people. Many are violent and discriminating; some are forceful and threatening. However, there are also plenty of open arms and welcoming smiles. Settling in a different country is filled with challenges, but it is not impossible. Be brave, move forward, and never forget who you are and your nation’s story.

I Choose To Live In An Urban Area Because Of These

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I understand that not all people are like me who find complete happiness in the toxic and stressful parts of the city. But honestly, I like it that way. I respect that some individuals find it more relaxing and calm to live in rural areas. There are trees everywhere, and the sound of nature is very amusing. But for the likes of me, I can’t live being away from the busy streets for long.

Reasons Why

I prefer to live and stay in an urban area because I do not like the feeling of being alone. Yes, there is stress and pressure in the city, but that is what makes it challenging. As much as I want to calm and keep my mental and emotional health intact, I appreciate the way how the city is making me susceptible to overall damage. That is because I can allow myself to think through things for the sake of physical, emotional, and mental survival. I can say that the toxicity of the city helps a lot in creating an adaptive personality that can withstand stress and anxiety.

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However, I fully understand that some of the elements of stress in the city do not contribute to improving overall health. In unfortunate cases, even if the goal is to become mentally and emotionally healthy, the city’s toxicities cause more damage than benefits. But regardless of those possibilities, I prefer the city because of the help I can get. Yes, in every instance of emotional and mental pressure, the city allows me to seek aid. Whether it is a professional or merely a friendly one, I can quickly get that.

The city can never promise me anything. It can never secure my improved mental and emotional health, as well. But one great thing about living in it is the growth and development of my interpersonal aspects. It allows me to experience interaction, solidarity, love, affection, and social connection. There is room for improvement and commitment. Yes, these things can never ensure a great combination of enhanced skills too. But the idea of knowing and understanding myself through the pressure of fixing my interpersonal aspects, the city elements can become a great help to that.

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The city is not at all peace-friendly. A lot of times, it creates and triggers more drama. It causes too much mental and emotional instability that instantly makes me weak and vulnerable. But even if that is the case, the city allows me to become a better version of myself. I get to experience a lot of hardships, struggles, and negative vibes, which makes me more dedicated to things I want to achieve. The city offers opportunities that help in building not only my character but taking my life views to a whole new different level.

Not all people will agree with my beliefs about living in the city. Some people will never understand my enthusiast for keeping city life. But I don’t care. I still prefer to choose to live in an urban area regardless of the circumstances.

Are Cities Worth Our Emotional And Mental Health?

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Modern cities are not like a typical environment where all of us feel the need to get involved. We know that for a fact, but it seems like there is nothing we can do. We know we like peace, but we agree with the noise. We hate toxicity and stress, but we try to learn to adapt to it by all means. So honestly, what are the issues that we have to solve in this particular scenario when we can alter the design of our physical, emotional, and mental health, and force it to stay in contact with city pressures?

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Are Cities Making Us Sad?

Honestly, it does make us sad. That is because of the population density where there are tons of people cramming to fit into a tiny space. At first, we might not be able to notice that. But with all the people that can potentially surround each other, social stress can grow significantly. It can make us feel uneasy and hard to breathe. There are constant complaints and unsolicited opinions that can become an emotional and mental threat. People with different personalities clash, and that often results in the desire for isolation. In some unfortunate instances, too many people in a particular area lead to indecisive character build-up. So imagine how things can become a lot stressful for individuals who only want to have a better life?

If the cities are full of people, then expect it to have more pollution. Primarily, pollution comes in many forms. We experience the endless roar of combustion engines day and night. Chemicals are in the air from vehicle exhausts. There are even noises of different people everywhere and trash all over the streets. Honestly, you can name a lot of pollution for as many as you want. These things can entirely affect someone’s mood. With the mess we see daily, we can say that stuff in the cities is a bit too much. There are many adjustments that we have to deal with.

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Can City Issues Cause Depression?

Apparently, yes!  A lot of issues that concern city toxicity can cause anxiety and depression. The increased brain activity in forcing itself to comprehend, adjust, and compete with the environment is way too much to handle. Yes, there may be those people who can potentially escape the outcome of city toxicity. Unfortunately, there are those city dwellers that cannot handle it. With that, they become more prone to anxiety and depression, associated with agitation, exaggeration, and exhaustion.

Honestly, we, humans do not entirely understand how social interaction and adaptation means. We only know we need to engage with different individuals for survival. That is, regardless of the space we are at seems compressed a little. It is a mechanism that we understand and believe to be the way for us to survive. But with the reality of stress and pressure we get from the city’s overall demanding ways, there is this sense that it is sometimes not worth our mental and emotional health.

Surviving Stress In The City

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When you try and navigate the city and deal with its rush and business, there are lots of internal thoughts that could go in your head. That is where you experience stress at a different level. With all the toxicity and pressure from a single goal, such as surviving and breaking through, the process of keeping up with the city’s way of life is sometimes exhausting. That is the reason why you have to follow simple guidelines that will help you manage and deal with stress in the city.

New research published a few weeks ago in the journal Nature shows that the brains of city and country folk respond differently to stress. Specifically, when put in a stressful situation, those who either grew up in the city or currently reside in heavily populated areas showed increased activation in areas of the brain responsible for processing negative emotions relative to folks in less populated areas. — Sian Beilock Ph.D.

Learn To Adapt

The city is a busy area where peace and quietness are seldom. If you choose to stick around to the nature of the environment, you have to learn to adapt. There is no way you can make people stop doing what they regularly do. You cannot silence the children on the street, or even stop vehicles from honking. One better way to manage all those things that makes you feel uneasy is by adapting to it. Learning to adjust does not mean you have to contribute to the stress also. Instead, changing means, you have to find better ways to resolve things without throwing a single complaint.

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 Cognition in its many forms is an evolutionary trait that develops complexity when it provides an advantage. — John M. Marzluff Ph.D.

Find Your Fortress

If the city is where your heart belongs, then you sure know where your fortress is at. One thing that enables you to fight city stress is finding the right spot that allows you to appreciate the busy streets. If in case it is your apartment, then looking at the people crossing down the streets will give you pleasure. If it is the bars, then hanging out with friends and co-workers might be a great moment. If in case it is your job, then being able to do your task can become worry-free with or without you on the field. Finding your fortress in the city allows you to distress yourself with the help of focus and appreciation.

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Investigators believe the need to continuously process multitudes of fleeting but compelling stimuli can impair mental processes like memory and attention and leave us mentally exhausted. — Rick Nauert PhD

Allow Time For Yourself

Even if the city can become one of the most toxic places on Earth that throw stress and pressure, it can also become an area for improvement. Stress in the city is everywhere, and one thing that can make you handle those pressures is by allowing some time for yourself. Meaning, you need to break free even once in a while. Yes, responsibilities matter, and priorities are highly in demand. But once you manage to allow time for yourself, you will be able to refresh everything and make a better start. From that, things will become different and a lot easier.

Try To Ignore

Well, the stress in the city is quite exhausting. With all the damage it can cause to emotional and mental health, everything negative about it leads to an unpleasant ending. However, the best practical way to deal with all those pressure is by ignoring it. Meaning, you have to ignore stress in a way that you will still make use of your time productively. Therefore, those little things that don’t matter should never matter at all.

Surviving stress in the city is quite hard to do. But once you get a hold of the techniques of how to do it, things can run smoothly.

Perks Of Living In The City

Your love for nature, silence, and peace is something that you should not always set aside. Honestly, it is a good thing because you can get to feel the serenity in an area where only your well-being matters. However, as much as you want to live in a small town that often does not have toxicity, the life there is limited. With that, the urban places take some of the credits. Yes, it is nice to stay in the countryside. However, there are perks in living in cities as well.

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Fresh Start

One thing that the city allows you to have is, of course, a fresh start. It is where you receive chances of getting the right career. Though there are cases that the city may not give it all to you due to the competitions you would have to undergo, the possibility is endless. The city offers a wide range of opportunities that allows you to build your skills. With that, you will have the option to do more things that you never thought you could do. Every struggle in the city is different, but everything about it focuses on learning and discovery.

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Convenience

The city offers a comfortable way of living. There are transportations everywhere that allow you to travel to different destinations. There’s the subway, taxis, and buses. There are stores available everywhere, as well. It contains almost all the things you need, and you can get it without a hassle. Aside from that, food, shelter, and other stuff necessary to your daily living come at reasonable prices. There is less hassle of searching for things you need when you live in the city.

Bigger Network

Reaching new heights is possible when you are living in the city. There is an excellent chance of meeting people who are beneficial to your network’s growth. You can develop your connections by staying close to professional individuals who can significantly impact your career decisions and life. These people can promise you more financial stability. In fortunate instances, most people in the city offer opportunities that are beneficial not only to your job but significantly impact your social strength as well.

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Self-Improvement

When it comes to self-development, the best thing that the city can offer is discoveries and learning. Yes, sometimes the opportunities are limited only to what you can do as of the moment. However, the more you engage in the city’s way of living, you will feel more energized and alive. You get to think about responsibilities often disguise as stress. You can get to experience different jobs, and get to meet different people. You can also get the chance to discover your talents and skills that you never once thought you have.

Living in the city has always had its ups and downs. But when the focus is career growth and development, self-improvement, and social strength, it becomes the right place for that. The city will continuously allow opportunities and learning, and that is something you don’t usually find in towns.

Psychologists Advise: 6 Pre-Moving Tips You’d Rather Remember Than Get Depressed Over

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The course of moving to your dream home has its ups and downs according to psychologists. The upside is that you can finally stay in a house that you have been saving up for since the day when you have started earning. The downside, on the other hand, is that you have to box up all of your belongings and haul them over to the new residence.

In reality, this can get catastrophic if not done right. Some people lose important objects and send them off to the Salvation Army on accident. Others break furniture and need to spend the money that they don’t have to replace it. In the end, the event that’s supposed to be celebrated brings stress and sometimes even depression to you.

Assuming you already have too much on your plate to entertain such a possibility, here are some of the things that should be on your pre-moving home checklist.

1. Make An Inventory Of All Your Possessions

At least a week before you begin packing, you should scrutinize every furniture, collection, or random object in the house and take note of their distinguishing factors. For instance, you know that you have a box of silverware and a collapsible ladder with a tiny dent on one rung. If possible, you can also take a photo of them.

Doing this will ascertain that you know the current state of your stuff. You have proof of which ones are still in perfect condition or already have stains or scratches. Thus, in case something gets mishandled during the moving process, you can quickly pinpoint the issue and get some reimbursement from the moving company.

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2. Figure Out The Value Of Each Object To You

The next thing that you should do is stick small pieces of paper on every single thing that you own. On each one, you can write words like Keep, Donate, or Throw Away to know which items should be hauled to your new house, go to the donation centers, or get dumped in the garbage, respectively.

Not many people feel the need to do this, especially if the plan is to hire professional movers. The truth, however, is that moving people ideally do not know you that well to realize the value of your possessions in your heart and mind. They cannot label everything for you. You ought to find the time to go through your stuff and mark each one thoroughly.

3. Clear Away The Items That Are No Longer Of Use

Now that you have already sorted out your things, you can clear away the items that are no longer of use to you. Remember that not everything labeled Donate has to go to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Some of them can be sold in a garage sale or given directly to the charity. Others may be objects that your family members or friends may want to have.

4. Organize Documents Accordingly

The tax records, land titles, and other official documents that you used to store under your desk have to be organized in folders before the moving day. This is a necessary step to take to verify that not even a single paper will be left behind or thrown in the trash. This can eventually lessen your worries about moving since you know that the critical files are already secured.

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5. Contact The Movers And Cleaners

This is an optional part because your brand-new home may only be two blocks away from the current one or there are a lot of friends and family members who can help out with the cleaning process. If you have neither, though, it is best to contact the reliable movers and cleaners in town to speed things up. Try to do this at least a week before you are supposed to leave so that there will not be any hassle along the way.

6. Do A Final Inspection Of The House

Once your possessions have been loaded in the moving vehicle properly, it will do you well to comb through the entire place to make sure that you have indeed packed everything. To be specific, inspect the built-in cabinets, the garage, and the basement early on and see if you have forgotten packing something. Considering everything seems to be accounted for, then you can say goodbye to your old house.

Final Thoughts

If you can do all the things mentioned in this checklist, you may not think again that changing houses is as horrible as what other people claim. These are not difficult to remember, and it is fine if you want to add more items to check off. What matters is that you can instantly move into your dream home with lesser concerns.

Why Urban Living Pose Threats To Your Mental Health According To A Therapist

There had been various studies by a group of therapists on why living in the city is a threat to your mental health. The urban setting is associated with higher rates of individuals experiencing mental health problems compared to those who live in rural areas. They have a higher risk of depression, double the possibility of acquiring schizophrenia, and 25 percent more likely to experience anxiety.

Although city dwellers, on average, are wealthier and have better access to healthcare and other services, there are some downsides to urban living. — Sian Beilock Ph.D.

Reasons Why Urban Living Increases Mental Health Problems

There are several causes of why people in cities have increased mental health problems. Listed below are some of the reasons.

  • Pre-Existing Factors

A lot of people move to urban life to be able to have access to better service and economic opportunities. It is brought about by their negative experiences from the past. Hence, the moment they transfer to the city, they still carry the burden of their problems. Examples of this include poverty, homelessness, unemployment, personal crises, family problems, trauma, immigration, or addiction.

  • Affected Physical Health

Aside from affecting the mental health, city life can also touch on the physical well being as well. A study from 2017 revealed that too much exposure to both the city noise or air pollution causes severe damage to a person’s cardiovascular health. It is brought about by the spike in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. The elevated levels lead to a person’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

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Life in the city sometimes forces its residents to overeat fast or processed food. It makes them more at risk in terms of weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Those individuals who experience these physical health problems feel more anxious and stressed, which then increases the mental health problems they encounter.

Experts explain that the noise, pollution, and high population density of typical city life can cause chronic stress. As such, city dwellers are at a higher risk of psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia than country dwellers. — Rick Nauert PhD

  • Lack Of Sleep

Admit or not, the traffic noise and any other negative externalities interfere with sleep quality. Hence, more and more urban dwellers become prone to insomnia. According to a study of 15,000 individuals at Stanford University, the bright lights brought about the city life dampens their ability to get a good night rest.

The survey revealed that 6 percent of the respondents live in a highly lit urban area, which only makes them sleep less than six hours per night. Experts found out that one-third of these urbanites were not happy and contented with the quality of sleep they get from their nighttime rest.

  • Inferiority Complex

There are a group of people who sometimes feel discriminated in the city upon transferring. For example, those individuals who come from a minority status or a more impoverished country often find themselves feel injustice, discrimination, prejudice, and hopelessness in the presence of more stable neighbors.

This feeling of inferiority from the people around them cause some individuals to feel more traumatized with their experience in the city. It then increases their mental health problems.

  • Lack Of Social Relationship

Social scientists revealed that a lack of social relationship could increase the levels of anxiety. At the same time, an individual’s chance to get sick doubled for those who do not have a support system by their side. At the same time, since a number of the urban dwellers come from their respective rural areas, they will most likely feel homesick at times. These feelings of isolation and loneliness often translate to mental health disorders.

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We relish the idea of having a greater variety of destinations for shopping, eating, and playing, and we like the idea of being freed from our cars and able to lead more of our lives on foot. Others are more attached to the low-density lifestyle with room to spare, a double car garage, wide boulevards and plenty of parking at the mall. — Colin Ellard Ph.D.

Dealing With The Urban Life

Learning how to deal with these various stressors can help improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The tips below may be your guide in preventing loneliness, depression, or burnout from the toxic environment of the urban dwelling.

  • Do not confine yourself in the four corners of your apartment since this can be one bad case of city-living blues. What you can do is to head to the park or explore the green areas of the city. Studies have proven how much nature can improve your overall psychological well-being. It is also a way to reset your brain from all of the stresses you encounter.
  • It is also recommended to exercise. This strategy is known to improve the immune system, prevent heart disease, and make you happier.
  • You are not alone with what your feeling. Thousands of you feel the burden of city life to their mental health. Hence, it is essential to build social connections and form an intimacy with the people around you. Creating a community of your own will make you more relaxed and at peace.

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With all of these things in mind, the dual nature of urban life is more evident. This rapid urban growth can serve as one of the most significant living opportunities but also viewed as one of the enormous complications in terms of physical and mental health.

Things To Ponder Before Moving To The Countryside

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I have been working and visiting my therapist in the city for many years now and going home to the countryside through a ferry every day. That is enough for me to realize that country life doesn’t suit everyone. When I ride the ferry, I overhear one or two fellow commuters who complain about their ride, or perhaps about the people who log on their mountains, or the weather, or whatnot. And I think to myself, “What did you think when you moved to the country? The ferry is the only transport system to and from the city, the countryside has always been a source of wood for a lot of people, and it almost always rains where we live.”

Well, I think that moving to the country takes preparation, especially if you were living in an urban area where traffic is real, but you can buy whatever you want in any store you pass by. You need to be honest with yourself and talk it out with your family. Is the countryside really for you?

Think about these things before deciding to move to the country and giving up your urban lifestyle.

  • Source Of Funds. Do you know what you will be doing for income? If you need to commute to and from your job, how much would it cost? You may plan on working part-time initially so that you can help your family adjust to the situation at your new home. So what else can you do to bring in more money for them? Are you finally pushing you with your online business? This is a crucial matter because when you don’t have enough money for you and the entire family, things will go crashing down. But you’re lucky if you have properties in the area, or if you’re already wealthy!
  • Home-based Job. If you have an existing home-based job, it would be great if you can designate a small private space for you in your new home. But what about the Internet connection? You’ve been so used to high-speed Internet service in your urban home but now that you’re in your rural home, don’t expect too much. Choose from the few Internet company options and read reviews.
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  • Public Transport. Is your property close to your workplace? If it’s not, then is the cost bigger when you commute or if you purchase a small car? If you’re working in the city (like I do), you’ll need to wake up extra early for self-care, a 45-minute ferry ride, and an hour-long ride in a bus to my office. I’ve been in this routine for quite some time now, and it is exhausting. It’s why I have decided to leave my job, check out online therapy for my treatments, and work from home as a writer and editor.
  • Hospital Or Emergency Services. This is particularly important for families whose parents or kids have medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart illnesses, or anything of the like. If you need regular medical care, make sure that your home is not very far from a hospital. Think about how long an ambulance can reach you when there is an emergency. When your son burns his hands in the fireplace or your daughter’s asthma occurs, you’ll want so much for medical help to be close by.
  • Type Of Personality. Are you someone who loves peace and quiet? Or are you the type who can’t end the week without some party and noise? Because if you do, you’ll find rural living a bore. Living in the woods was not my kind of thing when my family and I came here, but it’s a good thing I got used to it and came to love the crackle of the wood and wonderful sound of crickets calling us for dinner. Of course, you can have your family and friends over, but not always. They have lives too. Think about it. 
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  • Home Location. Where is your desired property located? Is it on top of the hills or is it near a river? Do read about the history of your property, as there may have been a long line of floods that happened. Better yet, no matter where your prospective home would be, check out the insurance costs and decide if you are willing to pay for it, or if it’s worth the cost. Weigh the hazards, and if they outweigh the advantages, you might as well choose another property for you and your family’s safety. 

 

Conclusion

I’m sure there are more questions you want to ask yourself before you decide to change your lifestyle and your life. These few things will help you gain some understanding and clarity about whether or not rural living is for you. If it’s yes, then you’ll find the countryside awesome. If not, then you thank yourself for contemplating ahead before jumping into years of headache and stress.