There are stacks of awesome things about living in a rural area: you’re close to nature; you’re removed from the hustle and bustle of the city; and you have a whole bunch of space to yourself. But sometimes it can feel like you have a little too much space. Living in a remote area can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. But, never fear, there are things you can do to manage these feelings and get out in the world again. Finding a job, friends and health services is a lot harder when you live outside of a major city. Check out our tips on how to overcome these rural and remote hurdles.
Connecting with your neighbours through a big, shared activity is a great way of keeping yourself occupied.
Lots of rural areas have community programs set up to keep people connected. Options include sporting groups, choirs, bushwalking groups, and many others. Google, or ask around, to find out what’s available. You’re bound to find something that appeals to you.
Try to keep an open mind and sign up for an activity that will test you a little bit. You’ve never thought of yourself as a painter? Try signing up for a painting workshop anyway. You never know what you’re capable of until you try...
Look for a job
Sometimes living in a rural area might make you feel like there are no jobs for you at all. It’s definitely true that living in the country makes it harder to find work, especially if you’re looking for a hospitality or office job.
Not being able to find a job often makes people feel very alone. But again, there’s no need to despair: there are lots of things you can do to help with your job search. Try these tips:
- Talk to people in your local community: It’s much easier to find a job when you make connections. Talk to everyone you can, from shopkeepers to community leaders.
- Research grants and government programs: Depending on where you live, there will be a whole bunch of grants and initiatives you can apply for. Some of these are intended to help you get active in local government, while others are designed to get you involved in less obvious things, such as local radio. There may even be some visual arts grants you could apply for. All of them will work to keep you happy and employed.
- Get online: There are lots of great online resources to use in your job hunting. Indeed is one of the best of these, because it allows you to type in your postcode and find work near you.
The internet is a fantastic place to find all sorts of resources and tools that will help you deal with your loneliness. There are groups you can join on Facebook to connect you with other people living in rural areas, for example.
Some groups are just for chatting and making friends, while others (such as the Photographing Rural Australia group) will help you meet people who share some of your interests. Have a snoop around by using the group search tool on Facebook. You’re sure to find one that feels right for you!
Don't be afraid to seek help
Sometimes you can still feel cut off from the world even if there are people close to you that you can talk to. It’s easy to forget to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
Living in a rural area might make you feel isolated and alone, but never forget that there are always people available to talk with you. You could always chat to a family member, a friend IRL or online – or, if you’re really feeling stuck, you could head here for the Lifeline number.
The people at Lifeline will talk you through getting help, and can help you feel less alone. And best of all, Lifeline is accessible to everyone – no matter where you live.