As the old saying goes: there are two sides to every coin. The mixed gift bag of benefits and drawbacks of moving to a big city is something we ought to embrace, as we usually do in our pursuit of quantum leaps and hypothetical happiness. The advantages of living in a large metropolitan area are plenty: from job opportunities to cultural ascension, few things can indeed transcend a true metropolis and its tempting à la carte menu. And what about drawbacks? - There's always a silver lining. Making it in a big city invites modern stoicism: feeble no more. No matter how flawed or seemingly antagonistic, their untamed and seldomly predictable nature teaches us how to greet rejection and uncertainty with a smile. We become versatile, fearless, and resilient. All the same, a long way to go. This is how to stay healthy when living in a big city.
You know it. Weapon: legs. We love making martyr-like excuses. "I work 24/7." "I'm just constantly sleep-deprived." "My energy levels are subzero." "I can't walk to work; the office is too far away." And, the evergreen hit - "I DON'T HAVE THE TIME." Yes, living in a big city can be beyond draining and overwhelming, but is binge-watching Netflix or doom-scrolling more important than our health? Excuses, detrimental kind. Self-care is paramount, especially if we live alone. Walking (any urbanite's Achilles heel) is the most accessible form of exercise. No equipment is needed, it doesn't cost a dime, and it prevents our cardiovascular system from theatrically betraying us when we least expect it. (decreases heart disease risk by 20%) All we need is a solid pair of running shoes and an almost imperceptible mindset change. No to yes.
Exercise it is, naysayers. We can't argue with science; exercise is what prevents us from experiencing the infamous burnout. Any form. Pick yours. Hiking, figure skating, yoga, doga (dog yoga), synchronized swimming, wall climbing, pole dancing - skip chess, though. If we're looking for a more traditional workout routine, there's always the three-letter muscle station - gym.
On the other hand, if we're not overly enthusiastic about inhaling unidentified sweat glands material, there are always the good, old YouTube and DIY workout channels. All we need is a yoga mat and a pair of dumbbells. (dumbbells are optional).
Big cities are cultural oil rigs, a ceaseless source of exceptional stimuli. New experiences are known to improve mental health by positively impacting different parts of our brains. In a word, new stimuli nurture our "happy wires," whether it's meeting new people, "wander over yonder," learning new skills, enjoying new hobbies, absorbing questionable art, or simply detecting unfamiliar fragrant particles. No detail is too small when you're a transplant. The ones who dare to try new things and explore the city's intricate layers (we're not talking about strutting down sketchy neighborhoods at 2 A.M.) will reap serious health rewards. By embracing opportunities for enriching and expanding our cognitive frontiers, we keep our neural pathways fit and healthy.
If we want to stay healthy when living in a big city, this one's a must. Yes, the lack of enthusiasm is a common byproduct, mostly due to this specific collective memory, forever imprinted in the apparatus: "EAT YOUR GREENS." - Toddler anarchy. All jokes aside, we are what we eat; personifying a Tostito is probably not the smartest decision one can make. Now, a junk meal here and there won't make us unhealthy; contrastingly, a decent-sized salad every Sunday won't make us healthy. Solution? Balance. By eating healthy fats, proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and fruit, we are bulletproofing our bodies for incoming heaps of high-density stress. Upside? Big cities cater to every conceivable need, including healthy nutrition. Make the farmer's market your go-to place (ideally on your way back from jogging or your fencing class), and you'll be just fine.
Loneliness is rarely a friend, especially during transition periods. Introverted or extroverted, we are social animals and we need our human herd in order to stay healthy. Moving to a big city can be a strenuous experience that challenges the boundaries of human tolerance. So, yes, we need people to help carry the cumbersome (and yet, joyous) weight of starting over. Social interaction and meaningful bonds improve our mental and physical health as they alleviate loneliness and other soul-wrenching emotions. Happy hour to sad hour, they will be there. Although big cities offer easy access to public transportation, location is everything. The closer we are to our friends, the shorter the ride. Hiring residential movers in Brooklyn is key to keeping our nervous system intact, even if it means moving from Bed-Stuy to neighboring Bushwick. Experts in the area can help make the transition seamless.
Never underestimate the power of nature. (eat your greens, touch your greens, soak up your greens) Nature births life, simple as that. (exceptionally complex, but now is not the right time)There's no outdoing it, surpassing it, or rising above it. We are at its mercy. Fortunately for us, it is benevolent and generous at its core, ever-giving. A universal healer. So, we better learn to receive. Spending time in nature is crucial for decompressing our overflowing mental fountain. Just 20 minutes of nature sauntering can reduce stress levels, improve cognitive functions, alleviate chronic pains, increase creativity, as well as substantially reduce respiratory infection risks. All we have to do is remember to breathe. And, before we make any further excuses, city parks will do. (Parks and recreation, thank you) Hitting the trails (hiking or biking) or doing an impromptu picnic for a lunch break with a friend will charge our batteries. - just little ways to get more out of life.
If our goal is to stay healthy while living in a big city, we must practice self-awareness. Are we really trying? Is that the best we can do? Being honest with ourselves is key to unlocking healthy habits. Start today. Feeling good doesn't take much.