In the 21st century, people are more stressed than they’ve ever been. We’re stressed at work, we’re stressed on the road, we’re stressed during the holidays, and we’re stressed at home.
Despite the fact that human life has never been easier, thanks to technological advancement, our stress levels are still very high. The American Psychological Association published a study in November 2017 revealing that issues like the direction of our country, work, and money cause much of the nation's high levels of anxiety.
It does not seem like these pressing issues are going to subside any time soon, so what can we do in the meantime to reduce our stress levels? We can work on ourselves to protect our emotional and mental well-being in spite of those things.
In the "olden days," people got back to nature. It was called camping. Then there was the "glamping" phenomenon. Now, a new solution that's popped out at me is something more like pioneer living. It's the tiny house phenomenon.
No, I’m not suggesting you sell your house or leave your apartment and buy a tiny little 400 sq ft. box on wheels and haul it around; that's probably not the best answer for everyone. Rather, the idea is to detach from the stress-filled world for a little while, to recharge; to take a couple of days to separate one’s self from modernity in a small space with only a few modern amenities.
The company Getaway markets itself as a solution to the stresses of modernity. Lavanya Ramanathan of The Washington Post recently shared what it's like to detach from the world by heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia — and staying in a small box that she rented.
In Getaway’s soft, wooded marketing photos, tinys such as Lenore are imbued with symbolism. Inside, couples slice avocados together. A multiethnic gaggle of cool kids in beanies convenes at a fire pit. Young women plant themselves in large picture windows overlooking the forest with hardcover books you can only assume are by Zadie Smith or Audre Lorde. In one image, a woman simply contorts herself in a display of yogic bliss.
The business that two Harvard grads have created is not for wild vacationers in beach-based resorts. Instead, it is portrayed as the epitome of relaxation and a cure for the problems of modern society.
It presents a dire vision of urban life, and then offers itself as the antidote. It evokes the Japanese practice of forest bathing, and disconnection, and a little curative isolation. It encourages you to use your tiny, at the rate of just over $160 a night, to finish your novel — because you obviously never have time to work on it otherwise — and insists that you remove yourself from a list of stressors conveniently noted in a Getaway pamphlet. These include: work, email, texts and competition.
The tiny homes have only two mugs, two plates, and a pan, all the essentials of a minimalist experience. There is no Wi-Fi, no television, nor are there even mirrors; as Ramanathan notes, “Because only monsters think about their pores when they’re supposed to be out here like Henry David Thoreau.”
The idea of cutting the news cycle for a couple of days? Of coming off of social media? Of leaving the traffic and population density behind? Talk about a treatment for a modern problem!
As someone who tends to be a bit on the anxious side, it may be worth looking into. After reading about this experience, I have to say I’m rather intrigued to check it out. Just being able to detach from it all for a couple of days, to let all the stress and anxiety leave your body; that sounds like a really good time to me.
What do you think of this stress-relief concept? Have you ever tried it, or are you considering it?