For some folks, living off the grid is considered to be an attractive alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city. Contrary to popular belief, living “off-the-grid” doesn’t mean simply living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, drilling a well, and raising livestock for food. Before you actually find yourself a piece of land that suits your newly adopted lifestyle, you need to develop the right mindset that will keep you from going insane while living off the grid.
The idea of living off the grid sounds like a potentially amazing experience and can also change one’s life if done the right way. However, it may not be the destination you choose for building your cabin or the fierce creatures lurking in the bushes, but the solitude, loneliness, and isolation that could prove to be your greatest enemy while living off-grid, (anyone familiar with the expression “cabin fever?”) Keeping that in mind, here are a few tips on how to avoid cabin fever and keep the cabin.
What Is Cabin Fever?
“Cabin fever” refers to the claustrophobic reaction towards isolation and having nothing to do. Depending on where you plan on living while off the grid, it may be the icy cold weather that gets to your bones, the listless everyday routine, or even the scratches and bruises from chopping wood or hunting for breakfast. The lack of stimulation while living out in the wild can trigger a shutdown of one’s cognitive senses, allowing the sinking feeling of depression to set in, and in extreme cases, paranoia. While cabin fever is often considered a malady of winter, prolonged exposure to isolation anywhere can be dangerous.
Adopt the Mindset of Living Off-the-Grid
The following are some of the ways in which you can keep the negative thoughts at bay while living your life off-the-grid:
Hone Your Skills
First things first. You’ve decided to live off the grid, so it’s safe to say that there’s not going to be any “Netflix and chill” for you. That can be a good thing. Rather than spending your days flipping the tube, you can use your time to be more constructive. Apart from reading, there are a plethora of things to do while you are outdoors. For instance, you can start by honing some new skills or sharpening existing ones such as fishing or hunting for food. Some of the other outdoor skills that you can develop include gardening, growing your own vegetables, fly tying, or simply learning how to light a fire without a match or lighter. There are plenty of things that you can do to keep yourself busy, and all you have to do is be creative. Besides, the act of learning keeps both the body and the mind healthy and helps in the development of new neural pathways, while lifting your mood.
Start a Project
If you did your homework right, the place you chose for living off the grid would mean hiking for several miles in either direction to get to the nearest civilization. This is going to be a perfect time (and place) for you to start a project, whether it’s making a new fireplace, taking on some other woodworking project, or building your own root cellar or seer pot to preserve your fruits and vegetables. There are many DIY projects that you can take on while living off the grid. These projects can teach you some useful survival tips and more importantly, keep you from being idle.
While living in a big city, you’ve probably been putting off having to go to the gym. Now that you’re living off the grid, you will have plenty of time to get your heart rate pumping. Needless to say, the health benefits of regular exercise have been well-documented. Even taking part in light to moderate exercise can increase your heart rate, remove harmful toxins from the body, and encourage the buildup of endorphins in the brain, which helps elevate the mood. If it’s been a while since the last time you lifted a dumbbell, no worries. Start off with some light exercise for just 30 minutes a day. Remember, the idea here is to break a sweat, not to prepare for a bodybuilding competition.
While there may be plenty to do outdoors when living off the grid, many people find it hard to come up with alternatives to the TV (or the bar) for some indoor entertainment. Since being stuck in a dull routine can easily increase your chances of giving in to a negative mindset, you can overcome the urge to enter the darkness by being creative with your time. One of the ways you can do that is by simply keeping a journal and shuffling your daily routine so that you have something new and interesting to write about every day. Writing in a journal is a great way to keep your mind occupied while indoors. Also, it doesn’t have to be a journal, you can try art or music, whatever tickles your fancy and keeps your mind from being idle.
So, these were just some tips that you can use to keep “cabin fever” at bay and have a great experience while living off the grid. Notice, that the aforementioned tips can be used for those who are still on the fence and haven’t fully committed to the whole off-the-grid experience. The fact is, loneliness and isolation are never your friends, and the sad reality is you can experience both whether you’re living in a cabin in the woods or in the middle of a bustling city. At the end of the day, the only way you can truly be resourceful, confident and independent is if you conquer your own mind.