Life in the city can be complex, stressful and tiring. Of course, it can be exciting too – but the constant stimulation of living in an urban environment can wear us down gradually if we don’t look after ourselves. This kind of urban fatigue can be hard to spot too – it creeps up on us slowly and we can become tired and irritable without necessarily understanding why. But it is possible to live happily and well in the city. Here are a few thoughts on how to do it.
1. Reconnect with the natural cycles of life
Our bodies are living organisms, but too often we find that we have lost touch with the natural cycles of life that go on around us. Seasons change. Birds gather on rooftops every evening to roost. Gardens bloom. It is easy to miss these things in the city, but they are there – and when we see them it reconnects us to our own wild selves. So, next time you walk in the city, look out for the natural things around you, and notice how they change. Our cities are actually full of animal and plant life – from peregrine falcons hunting from skyscrapers to plants growing in cracks in the pavement – if we only take the time to notice.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is hugely important for our health, and is another of those natural rhythms that it can be easy to lose track of in the city. Primitive humans would have got up when it grew light, and gone to sleep when it got dark. Our bodies are still tuned to do this, even today in this modern world. But in an urban world filled with the blue light from our phones and the neon light from street lamps and buildings, the line between night and day is becoming increasingly blurred. Just listen to the birds – it is now as common to hear a blackbird singing in the dead of night as it is during the day. So, reconnect with that natural rhythm of day and night. Give your phone a rest for at least an hour before bed, and invest in some good blackout blinds.
3. Get outside as often as you can
Modern offices and houses might be designed to be ultra-efficient, retaining heat and keeping cool in the summer. But in some ways they are less well suited to actually living in – many of us in the city live in sealed, double glazed, air conditioned and centrally heated boxes. It is an alien environment (just think how bad you feel after a few hours in the pressurised cabin of a plane) and it can be tough on our bodies in mind. My advice is simply this: to get outside as often as you can. Go for a walk, go for a run, get your blood pumping and feel the wind in your hair for a change.
As human beings, we thrive in cities – we love the social interaction and the comfort of living in a safe, shared space with other people. But it is also crucial that we don’t forget our wilder selves – the part of us that longs for solitude, fresh air and for the unpredictability of nature. So, enjoy the city, but give your body and mind a break sometimes.
About Graham Tomlinson’s blog
Graham Tomlinson blogs regularly on his website and has designed the perfect platform for sharing mindfulness & self-improvement tips with as many people as possible.