Is your hometown affecting your health? Many people don’t give enough thought to how their hometown may affect their health. As a result, they may end up choosing to live in a place with limits. Living somewhere with limited resources and contact with others can take a toll on your mind, body, and spirit.
Is Your Hometown Affecting Your Health?
Your hometown is critical not just for where you establish a home but also for your holistic health. Let’s look at this in more detail below.
You May Neglect Your Mental Health by Default
The town you live in could adversely affect your health if you have little to no access to mental health providers. In rural towns, particularly, you may find that mental health resources are scarce.
Mental health challenges that go undiagnosed and unmanaged can have a massive impact on one’s day-to-day life. An inability to work, isolation, unhealthy relationship dynamics, and suicidal thoughts are just a few potential symptoms of unaddressed mental health concerns.
Having a choice of therapists, psychiatrists, and even primary care providers that prescribe mental health medications offers the best quality of life. They can:
- Diagnose and treat mental health challenges;
- Prescribe medication to manage diagnoses;
- Recommend lifestyle changes that will better psychological and physical health;
- Connect you with other medical professionals that can help alleviate symptoms.
Choose a town to live in that is close to mental health resources and professionals. At the very least, they should be within a reasonable distance for your transportation options. Whether the options are:
- public transportation
- your own vehicle
If that’s simply not an option, ensure that you live somewhere with internet access. Telehealth services for mental health care are becoming more commonplace. You can seek care from the comfort of your own home if you’re equipped to do so.
Your Physical Health Takes a Backseat
One of the worst things about living somewhere with limited resources and people: how quickly you turn into a homebody. When there aren’t local shops, farmer’s markets, walkable communities, parks, gyms, and other activities to do, it’s hard to find a reason to step outside. You’re even more prone to stay inside when you don’t have a yard or garden to enjoy either.
Not only can being housebound lead to mental health issues like depression, agoraphobia, and social anxieties, but it can also cause your physical health to take a backseat. For example, you’re unlikely to get the exercise, Vitamin D, air quality, and sleep your body needs to function properly.
Live somewhere that inspires you to prioritize your physical health and get out into the world. This could look like:
- Living next to a gym;
- Living next to nature or walking paths;
- Creating a garden and yard you’re proud of;
- Having access to a park or community center;
- Having neighbors and nearby friends to socialize with;
- Finding a home next to various shops, restaurants, bars, and other businesses.
If you prefer rural living or can’t move from a small apartment, make sure you prioritize physical activity for your health. Get outside to walk your pets, feed animals, tend to a balcony garden, or even on your commute to work. You can also find free exercise videos on the internet, so make sure you are connected in that way as well.
Fueling Your Body With the Wrong Foods
It can be incredibly difficult to fuel your body with good food when you live in a food desert. A food desert is a place where access to nutritious and affordable foods is limited. Living in a food desert increases your risk for:
- Chronic illnesses, like diabetes and high blood pressure;
- Mental health challenges, like chronic anxiety and depression.
A better diet can improve your mental well-being. If your town is a food desert, you are more likely to waste money on unhealthy food options, like fast food and convenience store eats. This not only fuels your mental health challenges but also hurts your finances in the long run.
Do your best to live close to healthy, organic food sources, like farmer’s markets, big chain grocery stores, or small food marts. However, if you live quite a ways away from nutritious and affordable foods, designate a day during the week for grocery shopping and stock up on healthier options with a longer shelf life. You can also make sure that you are close enough to have healthy meal kits delivered to your address regularly.
Before you decide to move somewhere, consider how the location could affect your holistic health. Live in a town that allows you to nurture your mental health and emotional well-being, take care of your physical body, and fuel it with nutritious food.
About the Writer: Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for sustainability, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.