While in recent years, platforms such as Instagram have become a breeding ground for millennial foragers, bakers and farmers alike, all keen to spread the pleasure of living simply, it seems time spent in lockdown has fast forwarded this hankering for “The Good Life”.
Real estate agents are reporting an increase in enquiries for rural properties, as people start to think about alternative lifestyles now home working has become the norm.
Sydney-based psychologist and founder of The Indigo Project, Mary Hoang, says there is robust evidence to suggest that time in nature is nourishing to our mental wellbeing. It makes sense then that people are finding comfort in the countryside in these uncertain times.
This is a familiar story for Abigail Janine, a 24-year-old cottagecore influencer. After dropping out of university, where she was training to be a nurse, she found solace in the cottagecore community, and posts regularly to her 10,700 Instagram followers from her home in rural Colchester, UK. “It’s the idea of living in what you create – an escapism from the fast-paced environment we all live in,” she said. “My mental health has improved enormously after making the slow lifestyle a priority.”
Abigail believes a key part of cottagecore is educating others who crave the lifestyle but don’t have access to the natural world. One of her posts is a video entitled “the art of slow living”, a 15-second clip of a small snail atop a sun-drenched rock – a reminder to “rebalance your energy and remember relaxing is far from a waste of time” – while a soothing piano melody chimes in the background.
Abbey Robb, an integrative therapist, says: “These images are selling a very seductive dream of a place where everything is calm and unruffled.”
Of course, yearning for a rural escape is nothing new. And you don’t have to be a cottagecore devotee – or the owner of a holiday home – to tap into a more realistic version of tranquillity.
The Indigo Project’s Mary Hoang recommends bringing a little bit of nature inside with us. “Getting some natural air flow and sunlight in your home by opening curtains and windows and potting some indoor plants can help improve air quality, lift our mood and reconnect us with nature.”