7 Ways To Cope With Feeling Overwhelmed By City Life

7 Ways To Cope With Feeling Overwhelmed By City Life

We have all been there. Those moments when city life feels too full—too many people, too much noise, too much everything. We long for some peace and quiet and a chance to regroup.

For most of us the immediate answer is not a holiday. We have families to care for, and bills to pay. That means we need to be able to work with our feelings of being overwhelmed by the city from within ourselves—to find inner space even when there does not seem to be any on offer.

When we feel overwhelmed it’s easy to withdraw, to close in on ourselves and try to put up a wall. This tends to solidify our feelings and cut us off from managing our feelings. To cope with feeling overwhelmed in the city in the long term, we need to be more daring.

Here’s some things we can try.

 

1. Take a moment

Think about how you begin your day. You jump out of bed to get started on the list of things that need to be done—get ready for work, hurry the kids up for school. You rush into the shower but instead of being present in the running water and enjoying the moment, you are thinking of that conversation you had with your boss the day before or worrying about getting your son to the dentist after school.

Research carried out at Harvard University in 2010 showed that for almost half of our waking hours we are thinking about something different from what we are doing. In other words, we are not fully present for many of our actions. This means that we are neither bringing our full resources, or, appreciating the moment we are experiencing. As life is uncertain, the only moment we can be sure of is the present moment—so it is ironic that we so frequently miss it.

On top of that, we plan our days with lists of things that need to be done and then assess ourselves on how far we have accomplished them. We rarely take a moment to simply allow ourselves to be. Often, we neglect the importance of simply being in order to put all our attention into doing.

Try to break up your day by taking short moments to nourish yourself. City life offers many good times to do this are when you are on  tram, or bus, waiting in the queue at the supermarket, or changing from one activity to another.

  • Pause in what you are doing
  • Bring your attention to your body
  • How do you feel?
  • What is your mood?
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths
  • Feel the richness of the moment you are living right now
  • Continue with what you were doing

 

2. Stay open and curious

City life offers many opportunities to be open and curious. When you are going about your day you pass all kinds of people, lots of different activities and situations. Perhaps there are buskers in the metro, maybe you see a mother struggling to get her small children on to a tram or a bunch of visiting students laughing and excited about their visit to your city. 

Cities are usually vibrant places with lots of energy. When we are tired or stressed it can be hard to go with the flow. We want to shut ourselves off from the noise and bustle. Instead, if we are being present, we can simply see what is happening around us. It’s not necessary to get into all kinds of opinions and judgements—we can just notice. We can stay open to new experiences, to new ideas and let them unfold around us without resisting. That way the activity can nourish and engage us, instead of exhausting us.

  • Try taking the time to look about you.
  • Look up, rather than looking down at the sidewalk.
  • Notice the changes that happen with the seasons.
  • Be curious about anything different that you see.
  • Look out for what intrigues you.
  • Allow yourself to connect instead of withdrawing.

 

3. Be patient

Do you remember when you were a child being told, ‘Patience is a virtue’? It sounded really boring, didn’t it? Certainly, not a way to get what you want and to cut through the crowd. It took me a long time to appreciate the value of patience and to recognise the extent to which it eases stress.

There are so many moments in an average day in a city life where impatience can flare up—standing in line in a shop, waiting your turn in a café only to have someone barge in ahead of you. When everyone is in a hurry there are so many moments where people can act thoughtlessly—walking in big groups on the sidewalk, pushing you out of their way to get past. An angry reaction can rear up even when we are in a good mood—if we are tired, or worried it happens even easier.

The thing is, going with our impatience is exhausting and the emotions that impatience stirs up, such as anger and resentment, are not good for us. They increase our stress levels and can lead to higher blood pressure and heart problems. Positive emotions like kindness and tolerance, on the other hand, do promote wellbeing.

Being able to respond to challenging situations with patience is not a passive activity. It requires self-awareness and a capacity for seeing things from other people’s point of view. It involves flexibility and a degree of openness.

Next time your patience is challenged:

  • Try taking a moment to come home to yourself
  • Open up your awareness to view the whole situation you are in
  • Be aware of the needs of other people around you
  • Don’t focus exclusively on your own agenda
  • Engage your sense of humour

 

 

4. Do something for someone else

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way home and feeling pretty tired. It was a relief when the tram showed up. As it happened, I had a lot on my mind. A work project I was working on was taking much longer to compete than I had anticipated, and it was causing me concern. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young mother with two small children—a toddler and a baby. I didn’t pay so much attention because of the problem I was working with in my mind.

It turned out that we got off at the same stop and the mother had all the struggle of collecting her buggy and getting the baby into it. As they moved off, I noticed that one of the children had dropped a soft toy on the pavement. Everybody was too busy to see. Luckily, I could pick it up and return it before it got trampled. The toddler say the toy and grabbed for it joyfully—it must have been a favourite—and the mother gave me a grateful smile.

In those short moments, my mood changed completely. I went from being self-focused and worried to feeling a great sense of wellbeing. Taking a moment to help someone else lightened my mood and helped me to feel less oppressed by my own concerns.

 

 

5. Smile

It’s all too easy as you go through an average day in your city life to put your head down and carry on. We are busy and we want to get on with what we have to do.

Even if we don’t see an opportunity to do something for someone else, we can at least smile. There is more to smiling than we think. It helps us to feel more open and accessible and it is pleasant for other people too. 

 

 

6. Be grateful

Research is showing that people who make gratitude an active part of their lives are happier. It’s relatively easy to feel grateful for big things like promotion or moving to a new house but it’s harder to feel grateful on a daily basis.

If we look around and pay attention there is plenty that we can find to be grateful for in city life. Noticing the richness that we have in our lives is nourishing and will help us to feel stronger and more able to cope.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Before you go to sleep think of something that happened in your day that you feel grateful for
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Have a gratitude jar in the kitchen where everyone can contribute
  • Hold a gratitude session once a week with your family, where each person shares something that they were grateful for during the week.

 

 

7. Remember common humanity

It helps to remember that all the people in your street, in your neighbourhood, in your city want to be happy and they don’t want pain. It’s a fact of life. Maybe some people have strange ways of trying to be happy, but they still do. The longing for happiness is part of being human. Yet we all know that life can be hard and difficult times come for all of us. When city life seems too much to handle, remember to see all the people as a collection of individuals—who will have a lot in common with you on a fundamental human level.

Here’s a simple exercise you could try.

  • Pay attention to the people you pass in the street
  • Notice if you make a comment in your mind about someone
  • Be aware of the people you feel drawn towards and the ones you do not like the look of
  • Try to imagine how they might see you as you pass them by
  • Take a moment to be aware that everyone you see wants their day to go well and to avoid any unpleasantness
    —just as you do
  • Then realize that inevitably for some people things will go wrong during the day
    —let that feeling touch you and help you to feel a common humanity with your fellow travellers.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Which Meditation Method Works Best for You?

Which Meditation Method Works Best for You?

A meditation method is really just an activity we can give our restless mind when we want it to settle. The meditation teacher Mingyur Rinpochecalls this restless mind, our monkey mindand he advises giving our monkey a job to do. That’s how we try to tame it and get it working for us, rather than against us. The job we give our monkey mind is to pay attention to an object that we use as a support for our meditation. In actual fact, we can use pretty much anything as a support for meditation but when we are starting out, it helps to keep it simple.

 

In this post we will look at two excellent meditation methods that can work for beginners.

 

  1. Using the breath as a meditation method

 

This is a very accessible method of meditation. Here are the guidelines.

Advantages

 

  • Our breath is always with us – we breathe all day long.
  • We can do this meditation anywhere and at anytime
  • Because it is so accessible, we can do very short moments of this meditation throughout the day

 

Disadvantages

 

The only disadvantage that I know of is for people who might be asthmatic or have any kind of problem with their breathing. Putting attention on to the breath can be uncomfortable.

 

 

  1. Using a candle as a meditation method

 

This is another easy-to-do method. Here are the guidelines.

Advantages

 

  • This is a useful alternative for people with any kind of breathing sensitivity
  • Having a lighted candle makes a very pleasant atmosphere and helps us focus.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • The method is not portable – you need to do it in one place.
  • You need to prepare your session with a candle, a lighter and so on.
  • Some people find the flame itself hard to focus on.

 

 

Which method should you use?

 

If you are beginning with meditation, my advice would be to try both methods but to do this in a systematic way.

  • Only use one method in each session
  • Try one method for a few days and make a note of how it works for you.
  • After the few days are up, try the other method and keeps notes again.
  • Choose the method you feel worked best for you during the experimental period.

 

Another idea would be to use the candle method when you are at home and doing your formal session. Use the breath method throughout the day for short moments of meditation on the bus, waiting in queues, before a meeting and so on.

 

 

Things you might find useful when you do a meditation session

 

It’s best to keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible. However, from a practical point of view there are things that help a session to feel stable and welcoming.

 

Here are a few pointers:

  • set your timer before your session so you can relax and not keep checking
  • turn off any devices that might buzz, or bleep during your session
  • perhaps have a cup of tea, or glass of water at hand to drink
  • often people like to have a shawl to wrap around their shoulders or put across their knees

 

I once saw a very funny comedy sketch about someone setting up their meditation session. They arrived with a huge bag of stuff and spent ages laying it all out. The audience were in fits. By the time they were ready and finally sitting down, their timer went off and it was time to finish! So do be comfortable but don’t go overboard.

 

 

Designing My Own Effective One-Day Meditation Intensive

Designing My Own Effective One-Day Meditation Intensive

I have been coaching Tom in meditation for a while now. Recently he had the idea to try to increase the time he meditates each day. In order to get a feel of what it means to meditate for longer periods, he designed this one-day intensive for himself. It skillfully plots a series of meditations to keep the meditator engaged, while achieving the goal for the day.

 

What was your purpose in doing this one-day meditation intensive?

The purpose was to consolidate my meditation practice and kickstart a greater depth and regularity in my daily practice, without committing to the schedule of a traditional retreat. I wanted to create space where meditation could be the main purpose and focus of a day rather than something squeezed into one’s timetable between myriad other daily commitments.

 

Did you have a goal for the day?

I aimed to do 4 hours of meditation in the day. That compares to my usual daily target of 30 minutes.  Upon Maureen’s suggestion I also wanted to retain the unquantifiable quality of meditation; something of the specialness that gives it a place in religious practice. This I saw as a way to inspire better practice giving better tangible results.

 

Can you describe the schedule you adopted?

I started off by being pretty uninspired by the simplistic idea of a day retreat that came to mind shutting myself off from the world in a quiet place and sitting for long periods. I chose to schedule the day as a series of meditations in different places in London. Looking for places where I could sit undisturbed for up to an hour, some of the most suitable I found were London’s many churches, especially in winter when outdoor venues were ruled out.

 

Whilst travelling to the venues I would meditate on public transport (which unsurprisingly constitutes quite a large part of my regular daily meditation whilst commuting), or walking meditations, which is a technique Maureen and I had been working on. Once at the venues I planned different types of meditation, depending on the circumstances, for example a meditation using the ambient noises as the object (rather than seeing them as a distraction).

 

What worked well and what was less useful?

Meditatively using public transport, outside of rush hour, is an entirely different experience! Partly because of removing the goal-directed mindset of rushing to your destination, and partly because of the greater awareness engendered by a walking meditation, it brought a very different level of interaction with one’s environment whilst travelling.

 

I also found it very useful having an app called Insight Timerto record the time spent meditating and various other stats useful when reviewing the day’s efforts.

 

What did you learn from doing this? Did you achieve your goal?

I didn’t achieve the goal of 4 hours meditation during the day, but I did achieve my purpose of the day’s intensive meditation. I learnt however that an intensive day’s meditation is not an aim in itself but a way to build on and progress towards the benefits of a regular daily meditation habit.

 

Would you do it again?

Yes, without hesitation.

 

 

 

 

Tom Price is Head of Tea for JING Tea, a London-based premium tea company, which Maureen has been working with over several years on transforming stress at work and one-to-one meditation guidance.

 

 

Here are some guidelines for a meditation on sound, as Tom mentioned.

 

 

How to Be Kind in the Face of Brexit

How to Be Kind in the Face of Brexit

I am a Brexit refugee. It’s been over twenty years since I left the UK to live in Amsterdam. Except for an interlude of five years working in France, I have been there  ever since. It has been wonderful to have the freedom to live and work in Europe. This freedom is in direct contrast to the UK, where I have not been allowed to vote since my absence from the country passed the fifteen-year mark. It was not even possible to vote in the Referendum in 2016.

 

Dutch friends started off being completely puzzled as to why the UK wanted to inflict such harm on itself by leaving the EU. These days they are mostly in a state of shock at the continuous unravelling of anything they recognize as British competence. They feel my pain, but they are also glad it is not happening to them.

 

It’s almost impossible to explain the chaotic mess that the Brexit process has become. When I try come up against my own feelings of shame and embarrassment at the closed-minded perspective that brought us here. The thing is though, that one day this process will be over and then the UK will need to work diligently to heal the scars of this battle. I would love to see kindness put at the forefront of this work. It’s hard to see how we will move forward without it.

 

 

What would a kind approach to Brexit look like?

 

There is a growing body of research into the benefits of kindness. It turns out that they are considerable and wide reaching. Kindness benefits the person offering it, the person receiving it and all the people who witness it.

 

It affects us on a physiological level—kindness can improve heart function, lower blood pressure, slow aging and strengthen our immune systems. The author and scientist, David R. Hamiltonexplains that through the production of the hormone, oxytocin and the neurotransmitter, serotonin our levels of wellbeing are raised.

 

On an emotional level—anxiety, stress and depression can all be reduced through preforming genuine acts of kindness. In his ground-breaking book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks documented the good feeling that you get from helping others and which is now referred to as the Helpers’ High.

 

Imagine some of these benefits being injected into the Brexit debate right now.

 

 

Respect

 

To begin with the insults, posturing and inflammatory accusations would need to stop—completely. We would need to start listening to each other. If possible, to appreciate that each person is acting from what they genuinely believe would work best. If someone disagrees with me it does not make them a bad, or stupid person.

 

I saw a great example of this recently when my Dutch partner sent me a video clip of the author Michael Morpurgo and historian Robert Tombs have a civilised disagreement about Brexit on Channel 4. Morpurgo is for staying in the EU and Tombs is for coming out. During the brief extract from their discussion neither man insulted the other. They listened to each other’s arguments and neither thought less of the other because they had an opposing point of view. It was remarkably reassuring to see that this kind of exchange is still possible.

 

 

Open debate

 

When Ireland recently voted to overthrow the ban on abortion, much was said and written about the Citizens’ Assemblywhich was set up to give people a voice in such a big decision. Since then there has been talk about doing something similar for the Brexit debate. The former Labour PM, Gordon Brownhas put his weight behind this idea. His suggestion is to bring representative samples of leavers and remainers in regional groupings. The idea is that they could then take the time to go more deeply into all the issues that make up the Brexit puzzle.

 

The Citizens’ Assembly in Ireland was not perfect and has its own criticisms to answer. That’s perfectly understandable with big initiatives. Just because something is not perfect is no reason not to try not move forward with it. There is little cause to apply the word, ‘perfect’ to anything about the current debate raging in Parliament and across the country.

 

Empathy

 

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It involves an understanding of what another person is feeling from within their own frame of reference. You could say it is a bit like walking in someone else’s shoes.

 

Edwin Rutschis the founder of Centre for Building a Culture of Empathy. He has run many  Empathy circlesdesigned to facilitate dialogue on many different issues. One feature is an empathy cafe where people gather to discuss challenging issues. He has run several dealing with the polarisation of political views between the right and left in the US.

 

Actively using the skills of empathy to understand another person’s views, rather than to weaponize them would add enormously to any Brexit discussion.

 

Here’s a quote from Henry David Thoreau that sums up empathy for me,

 

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?

 

As I read this quote, I am aware that it can take courage to look through the eyes of someone whose views you find appalling. It’s natural to feel quite apprehensive about what you might see. My understanding is that Thoreau is talking about looking beneath and beyond the opinions of the other person. He is celebrating the insights into the heart of another person when we allow ourselves to look with judgment. On the occasions when all we see is aggression and self-interest, then can we let the limits of such an attitude touch us with compassion?

 

 

 

What can I do?

 

Recently I have realized that any change in the quality of the discussions around Brexit has to start with me. It’s a daily occurrence for me to shout at the TV when the news is on. There are MPs who I cannot bear to listen to and that goes for some of the media coverage too. My Facebook page is swamped by articles and cartoons charting the course of this debacle. There is a level where all the aggression, lies and procrastination has seeped into my own relationship to the whole thing.

 

If I want to change how Brexit is talked about, then I have to find a way to change how I am talking about it myself. I need to connect more actively with my own compassionate heart, rather than complain about the lack of compassion in others. It’s not enough to take comfort from the privacy of my hostility—thinking unkind thoughts undermines compassion as well as actions.

 

It’s so seductive to carried along by ideas of cooperation, inclusion, and common good but then to place people who see things differently outside your circle of respect. One strategy that I find it helpful to try and separate a person from their actions. When I can do this, I find we have much more in common than it appears. The right wingers pushing for an anti-European, nationalist agenda are wrong in my view, but if I remember that, just like me, they struggle with insecurities, anxieties, and fears then they become human again.

 

I want to use this quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellowto help me remember:

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

It’s about remembering that we are all human beings—complicated, vulnerable and imperfect. When my own opinions and beliefs are in full flow, this can get overlooked completely. Then the person on the other side of the argument becomes the ‘other’ and no longer worthy of care and respect. When I dehumanize those I disagree with it becomes easier to at best dismiss them and at worst vilify them.

 

 

My Brexit grief

 

The truth is that I am in mourning as a result of the 2016 Referendum. I never expected the UK to vote to leave the EU and to this day I still hold out hope of a second referendum that will put a stop to the whole process. My grief is on so many levels—ranging from my concerns about my own personal status as a Brit living in Europe, to a deep sadness about what the UK seems to stand for these days. I am embarrassed, ashamed and deeply shocked. Although I have always been a bit of an anarchist there was always a sense that the UK was on the side of decency, good governance and some level of wanting to contribute to a better world. This feeling has been rocked to the core.

 

All this needs to find a place and to work itself through. It’s my belief that will happen much more effectively if I can curb the more extreme expressions of this grief and find a way to resolve it through kindness.

How to Ease into Meditation in 7 Simple Steps

How to Ease into Meditation in 7 Simple Steps

A friend of mine told me a wonderful story about his early days of leading meditation sessions. At the time of this story he was working full time, had a young family and had really only been meditating himself for a couple of years. on top of all this he volunteered at a local Buddhist centre in Dublin, where he was asked to hold the introductory meditation session before the talk of the evening began. He was eager to help but really over-extended. My friend told me that he would rush out from work, grab a quick bite to eat on the run and dash across town to get to the Buddhist centre. Oh, and by the way, the room where the evening talk was held was up eight flights of stairs with no lift. He said he would arrive out of breath, hassled and all over the place. When he sat down in front of the group, he would have trouble remembering what it was that he was supposed to do.

 

I am sure he was exaggerating because he became a really good meditation guide, but his story often comes back to me. Our lives tend to be so busy and over-scheduled. When we finally sit down to do our meditation, our minds are often racing.  We don’t give ourselves time for settling into meditation.

 

In this post I am going to share a simple routine for this process of settling.

 

  1. Choose your meditation spot well

You don’t need to be fussy about where you meditate. At the end of the day you can do it anywhere. You just need to be sure that where you choose works for you and you feel comfortable there. If you want to choose a place outside, then go for a spot where people will not stare at you. You need somewhere a bit secluded—or you can always wear sunglasses!

 

If you are doing your session at home, then make sure you are going for a place where your family, or flatmates are not about to start an activity. You don’t want a hassle about who is going to do what, where.

 

Above all, choose somewhere that feels right.

 

 

  1. Remember why you want to meditate

It is good to just take a moment as you sit down to remember why you wanted to meditate in the first place. You will have heard about all the benefits of meditation. Which are the ones that resonate with you most? Bring them to mind as a way of inspiring your session.

 

Perhaps you have a favourite benefit? Bring it to mind and remember why this was important to you. It could be that one benefit pre-occupies you at the moment but next moth it will be a different one. That’s fine. The point is to connect with the inspiration for yourself right now.

 

 

  1. Take a few deep, slow breaths

It’s a good idea to take a few really good deep breaths before you start. It helps us to relax and to arrive on our meditation seat – to settle into meditation. I find it helps me to make a break from the activities I have been busy with and the focused, quieter time I am going for in meditation. You can do this before you sit down and combine it with a stretch. Do whatever works for you.

 

 

  1. Pay attention to your posture

The way you arrange your body for meditation will affect the meditation itself. It is a crucial element in how you settle into meditation. The posture and the meditation go hand-in-hand. There are two fundamental things to keep in mind—relax but be alert. It’s easy to get stiff and self-conscious when we sit to meditate. We try to sit ‘properly’ and usually end up being uncomfortable.

 

Here is a simple checklist:

  • Back straight but respecting the spine’s natural curve
  • Chin slightly tucked in
  • Eyes open with the gaze slightly downwards
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Legs crossed if you are on a cushion, feet firmly on the floor if you are in a chair
  • Hands relaxed on your thighs
  • Mouth relaxed, with lips slightly parted

 

If you feel uncomfortable, just stretch and come back to the posture.

 

  

  1. Do a simple body scan

A full body scan meditation takes about 45 minutes, but you can do a simple body scan in just a few moments.

 

Bring your attention to the top of your head, and slowly let it travel downwards through your whole body. Try not to miss any parts of your body—remember the back of your neck, your arms and elbows, your hips, legs and so on. When you reach your feet just relax. Whatever aches, pains, and sensations that you notice, that’s fine. Really. Just notice them. Try not to have a reaction—I don’t like this feeling in my shoulders, my stomach is too big. Just notice and move on.

 

This is just a simple check-in with your body to help with settling into meditation.

 

 

  1. Notice your mood

The next part of the checklist for settling into meditation is to check in with your mood. This does not mean you have to arrange yourself to be in a good mood. Just look into how you feel and notice whatever is going on. Perhaps you are a bit tired – just notice. Maybe you are looking forward to an event you have coming up – just notice your excitement. The idea is to look at your mood without judgment, accepting it as it is, without wanting to change it. This is the kind of attitude we have to our thoughts and emotions as they come and go during our meditation session.

 

 

  1. Connect your meditation to your world

I find it helps to make a brief aspiration at the beginning of my meditation session. Sometimes I make it quite general—like a hope that through meditation I will learn to calm my mind and become more useful for other people. Other times I will try to connect it with something that is going on in the world, or in my own life. I might think of people going hungry in Venezuela and hope that as meditation becomes more popular in society it will lead to great wisdom and kindness in politics. It helps inspire me to complete my session.

 

 

The 7 steps that I have shared here are ones that help me with settling into meditation. You might not want to take on the whole 7, or you may have one or two others that help you as well. If you do, please do share in the comments section. One last tip—decide what you need for your session and make sure you have it to hand. Are you using a timer? Have you turned your phone off? Are you drinking tea, coffee, or water? Do you need a blanket? Decide on all this before you start, so that once you sit down you can relax and not worry about anything else.

 

If you like checklists here is one to help you remember the steps to help you settle into meditation. You can download the pdf Settling infographic-2

 

 

 

 

If you would like to go deeper into meditation, then try this online course – it’s packed full of practical tips for making room for meditation in a busy schedule.

time for meditation in busy times

 

 

 

How to Fund an Alternative Lifestyle

How to Fund an Alternative Lifestyle

Photo by mali maeder from Pexels

I am delighted to include a guest blog from Bhavna Kapoor Vaish. Bhavna worked in finance and banking and has a strong interest in mindfulness and meditation. She was the perfect person to ask to write something on how to manage your finances when you don’t want to have a 9 to 5 job. Enjoy the post!

Ever dreamt of backpacking around the world or about living your life on a boat? If you have, you wouldn’t be alone. I can bet that one of the biggest obstacles to living the life of your dreams is money. How are you going to fund it?

Your unconventional lifestyle does not come for free. Chances are you still have to earn your living.

But will your alternate lifestyle let you do that? How can you make money sitting on your boat or exploring the remote parts of this world?

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to earn money that will align with your atypical lifestyle. But before we examine these opportunities, let us first understand what an alternate lifestyle really is.

What Is An Alternative Lifestyle

An alternative lifestyle is a way of living when you do not have a typical mainstream job. You do not earn your living from a 9-5 corporate job. Wikipedia defines alternative lifestyle as  “a lifestyle diverse in respect to mainstream ones, or generally perceived to be outside the cultural norm.”

It is a lifestyle you wish to embrace because it frees you from the status quo you find yourself in currently. You want to spend your life travelling and exploring cultures. You love an RV life or want to backpack around the world. Or you have identified your purpose in life.

Read More: Being Purposeful: Achieving The Life You Envision

Often it is a life you choose and sometimes it may be a result of circumstances. It could be a result of your health or economic conditions. You are no longer able to work at a typical job and are looking for an alternative.

Whether it a choice you make or the result of the conditions you find yourself in, this is your reality and you have to make it work.

Let us face it. Now your biggest hurdle is money. Especially if you haven’t saved money or if your savings aren’t enough to last a lifetime.

In any case, as adults, we need to be able to make money.

Do you find yourself daunted by the idea of how to finance your lifestyle?

There are tonnes of ways to make money that go beyond the mainstream. Making money through these methods can help reduce your stress, prevent you from digging into your saving or retirement fund and help you feel satisfied.

Unconventional Ways to Make Money To Support Your Alternative Lifestyle

Here are some ways you can make money working from home or a remote jungle:

Transcription:

There are many freelancing sites online that offer to pay you money to transcribe an audio or video file for them. The payment rates offered are per hour of the file to be transcribed. While these companies may not pay much, your earnings do improve as you become better. And no skill is required to get started.

Writing Articles:

Most websites and businesses need top-notch articles to promote their services or to bring in more traffic. These jobs can be found via freelance websites like Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr. You can also try submitting your articles to publications who pay better rates.

Proofreading:

If you find yourself correcting common writing errors and still remember the grammar rules you learned in school then try proofreading for a living. Many bloggers write their own articles but like to have a proofreader go through their work before they publish it. Law firms, authors and businesses offer similar opportunities. Becoming a court transcripts proofreader requires higher standards but it also pays better.

Become a Virtual Assistant:

As more and more people work as entrepreneurs from their own homes they are in need of people who can help them with tasks. The demand for virtual assistants is rising.

A virtual assistant’s tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing content, scheduling travel, or managing emails.

Doing Surveys Online:

Answering survey is a quick way to earn some money. While these may not add up to a lot, they are an easy and fast method to earn a little extra.

Sell on Amazon:

There are many, many people who sell items on the world’s largest retailer and earn money from home. If you are thinking that you do not know how to sell on Amazon, then there are courses available for that, even free ones. You can easily search for these online. These courses will even help you choose what products to sell.

Teach English (or other languages and subjects):

Did you know that you may be able to teach English online to children around the world to earn money?

VIPKID is an online teaching and educational company which has over 500,000 paying students located in 63 countries. They do have certain minimum requirements for their teachers.

Write a book:

If you have a story to tell or have a skill that will be useful to other people, think about writing a book. This is a great way to earn a regular income. Books are a great way to earn passive income. Once the book is written and published, you will keep earning money each time you make a sale.

There are many free and paid courses and other articles available online to help you write, publish and sell your book.

Teach a skill:

Is there something you know well that others may want to pay you to teach them? This could be anything from gardening, photography, outdoor survival skills, an instrument, fitness and personal training, a sport. Use your local listings to search or list your self. Teachable is an online platform that lets you create and sell your own course and get paid for it.

Rent stuff:

Got extra space, an unused room, an empty garage or a parking spot. Think about renting these out to earn extra bucks. Going away for a few months? Convert your home to an Airbnb.

Apart from earning money, you could look at ways to reduce costs. Here are easy ways to save money from your monthly budget without impacting your standard of living

These are just some of the ideas that you can use to earn money to fund an alternative life. Before I sign off, I would like to thank Maureen, the owner of this site for allowing me the opportunity to write for her blog. If you are interested in discovering more ways to fund your lifestyle or to earn money while you follow your passion? Follow my Pinterest Board where I curate useful articles, tips and ideas from across the web.

Bhavna Vaish is a blogger who loves the world of finance. She writes about being wise with your money so you can live a life you love on a budget you can afford.  Her blog Pennies For Cents has more useful articles for you. She has been a banker and a finance professional for many years before choosing early retirement.

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