Alternative Lifestyles such as BOAT LIVING could be good for your mental health!
It was a Thursday evening last week and a few of us were sitting around the fire pit, next to the boat, toasting bread when the discussion took a turn towards mental health.
Read: Family Life on a Narrowboat
I have had to deal with bipolar for most of my adult life and all of the depressive lows and highs which it throws at me. I was no stranger to this topic so took a keen interest. At points I have been in severe crisis, not wanting to continue any longer and at other times I have experienced immense happiness and euphoria which have led me to do some pretty reckless things.
Thankfully now though I rarely get any symptoms and live a mostly happy and contented life, although I need to remember to keep mindful that the depressive black dog could come barking again in the future and to do stuff which keeps me well.
During the conversation, we talked and thought about modern life and how as humans, we may not be best suited to the way it is leading us. We also talked about something which I think is the one main thing that can keep our minds healthy and happy – connectedness.
OK, but where does living in a floating metal box come in?
Let me start by saying that it’s not only boat life that I feel would benefit people’s mental wellbeing, but also any type of life other than the norm. I have come across people who live in fitted-out vans, cabins, horse-drawn caravans and yes, of course,
Living in these types of dwellings allows us to live with our vulnerabilities, rather than trying to hide them away living a so-called ‘normal life’.
But being vulnerable is bad, right?
Being vulnerable is normal – it’s part of life and to acknowledge it is possibly one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. I am not talking about making yourself vulnerable for the sake of it, such as driving at high speeds with your eyes closed or playing Russian roulette. I am talking about the day-to-day vulnerabilities we face as humans each and every day.
In the not so distant past, if we wanted water then we would have gone to the neighbourhood pump or well and carried it back to our homes. If we wanted warmth then we would have had to tend a fire. If we wanted information, we would have had to talk with others and if we could, we’d find the answers in literature.
The need for water, warmth and information, or companionship are all vulnerabilities which in the past would have given us a great sense of meaning whilst we were fulfilling them.
This sense of meaning as we connect with the day-to-day jobs which take care of our vulnerabilities gives us a
But I still take care of those vulnerabilities living in my brick box.
Damn straight you do, but does switching the thermostat up and down every few weeks give you meaning like tending a real living, warmth-giving fire? Does tapping in a search term
I am not saying here that people who live in bricks and mortar don’t socialise or read books. My point is that in a house it is was easier to become distracted by modern life and live a life where there seems to be an app for doing just about everything.
Living an alternative lifestyle for us offers so much more than we had in a house. The simple task of taking the boat to a water-point and chatting with fellow boaters or gongoozlers gives just way more meaning and appreciation for life than simply turning on a tap.
A lifestyle, chosen right, will give you a true and tangible sense of a connection with the world around you. On a
What I love most about boat life…
The main thing that I love about boat life is the fact that when I want, I can indulge my wanderlust. I think that although I was brought up in a house, my need to wander and be nomadic is at the core of who I am. I can understand why each year more and more people are choosing this type of lifestyle – it’s not because it is cheaper, its because its a more genuine way of living life.
For some though this will not be the case
In order for any type of life to benefit you though, you have to interact with it. Many years ago, my bipolar gave me two other disorders to contend with. I
Thinking about it now, I think if I were on my own and had social anxiety, it would be all too easy to take the boat and moor in the middle of nowhere. This would have only allowed my anxiety to fester and potentially become much worse. Having said that, I would have done the same in a house by drawing the curtains and shutting out the world, leaving the beast of anxiety unchallenged. At least on the boat, I would have had all the other benefits of a connected life – and stunning views too!
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