Thanks to documentaries, social media, and search engines, like Google, it is easier than ever to become aware of how many people struggle with mental health. Odds are you are currently struggling with it yourself. In an effort to improve your mental health, you have discovered how to live more simple and enjoy the little things in life. Many have gone as far as quitting the job they hate to live life on their own terms, whether that be traveling the world, living off-grid, or finding creative income streams to escape the corporate trap.
I personally have not gone this extreme for my mental health, but I did move from a toxic environment, downsized my home by more than half, and started a modern homestead with my husband and two fur babies. Struggling with anxiety and depression for many years, my husband and I both knew we needed to make a big leap towards our dream life. Let me tell you, it was the best decision we have made thus far in our journey together.
Homesteading changed our lives forever. Let me share with you how homesteading improves your mental health, so that you can see all of the benefits that can be experienced when you simplify your life to live off the land as much as possible. It may just surprise you how focusing on living so simple can have a major impact in your life.
6 Ways Homesteading Improves Your Mental Health
Moving to the country and starting a homestead was not just for my mental health. Primarily we wanted to take control of our food source, have plenty of space for animals and a garden, and simply get away from the craziness of city life. Moving to the country provided more benefits than we could have imagined, and I do not see us moving closer to the city ever again.
The space we have created in our lives allows a bigger impact from the little things that bring great joy. Things as simple as seeing a seed grow into a plant and a chick grow into a chicken give purpose and meaning that spark a flame that is able to dim anxiety and depression. This feeling is immeasurable, and I believe best felt with living a homestead lifestyle. Here are a few reasons why I believe this.
1// Removes focus from yourself
When you have to provide for animals, nurture a garden, and consistently work on new projects, it is hard to focus on yourself. Getting outside of your mind gives you a break from tormenting yourself with ideas that you are not good enough, you aren’t trying hard enough, or whatever your mind likes to tell you. It truly is our worst enemy at times.
With focusing on all of these other things, you are accomplishing so many great things each and every day. Doing this day in and day out provides a sense of pride that did not exist before that helps your mind reconfigure itself. With a continuation of learning new homesteading skills and caring for your homestead, your mind starts to see all the things you are capable of doing. Then it starts to tell you how amazed it is with what all you can do.
Removing focus from yourself can be very powerful for your self-talk.
2// Allows you to breathe fresh air
Breathing in fresh air not only purifies your lungs, but also your mind. Getting out for a walk forces you to breathe in the fresh air and explore the outdoors in ways that you can’t in a crowded city. With reduced toxins in your system, your body can absorb the goodness surrounding you.
3// Animals tend to make you happier
If you have ever Googled cute animals or funny animal videos, odds are you were happier by the end of the video. However, there is nothing like having actual animals on your homestead bring you joy. The funniest animals to watch, in my opinion, are chickens! They truly explain every chicken quote, saying, or meme you come across in your day to day actions.
With these increased chemical releases, such as endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, you becoming happier and the people around you become happier as a result. It is hard to feel anxious or stressed when so much joy is brought to you with animals.
4// Gardening is it’s own form of therapy
When you focus on cultivating a garden, many things happen. Of course, the plant grows fruit that you harvest, but you also get a decent amount of therapy as you care for these plants. By pulling weeds, you allow yourself to work through frustrations, and by the time you finish, you feel completely refreshed. Same goes for when you are pruning plants.
The care and attention your garden needs allows you to work through your emotions, rather than dismissing them. The best way to go through a rough patch is actually working through it versus working around it.
Imagine if you allow the weeds to take control in your garden. It does not take long for them to suck the nutrients your vegetables and fruits needed to grow. The harvest will be minuscule compared to what it could be if you pulled the weeds as they grew.
5// Growth brings hope
Have you noticed the hope you feel when spring time comes and the flowers start to bloom around you? That is because when things grow, so does your feeling of hope. When you feel hope, it instantly improves your mental health.
It is amazing to see a tiny seed grow into a large plant and produce food. Just trying to understand it brings a feeling of wonder and excitement. This feeling is when you really see how something so small can have a big impact in your life.
It gives you this feeling that if that little seed can do so much, then I can do at least a little of that!
6// Better diet = improved mental health
There is a lot of research that proves a better diet improves your mental health. This is why people cut out processed foods, specific fats, and other things. While I am by no means a professional that can say, “follow this diet for your best mental health”. I can say that by growing a good portion of my own food has helped my mental stability.
When I am able to cook from my garden and meat I have grown personally, I feel better. It is not just a state of pride in growing this food, but more so due to the quality of the food. It is as fresh as you can get, and being in control of how the food is grown makes a big difference.
Of course, homesteading does not fix things completely, but it does help. My husband and I were walking around our property discussing future plans of expanding and building our home the other day, and all I could feel was blessed. The feeling washed over me, and the darkness that I felt before didn’t feel as dark.
I truly believe that homesteading has improved my mental health a good bit, and I believe it will continue to improve as I learn new skills and increase my responsibilities. Honestly, I believe the same can be said for anyone who connects with the homesteading lifestyle, regardless of what level of homesteading it is.
Hopefully you have gained something wonderful from today’s post that will carry over into your self-care routine. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe via email so that you never miss an update!