Our daily surroundings affect us more than we realise. It is easy to feel claustrophobic and static. To get stuck in a routine, living on autopilot, never sticking our head up from out of the cubicle.
No matter how much you like your job, or perhaps your apartment, at some point down the line you will start to feel stale. I can work 3 months straight without using a single day’s holiday and then suddenly I will crave a long weekend.
It is important to recognise the need for a change of scenery, even if that means leaving your desk for 30 minutes to go for a lunchtime walk.
When temporary becomes permanent
When I was offered my first job out of university, I was fortunate to find a flat with a friend on a short 6-month rental contract.
Sure, the bathroom was a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs, requiring a 45-degree limbo to urinate. Yes, there were occasional visits from slugs and other creatures of the great outdoors. But the rent was cheap. We had fun.
Fast-forward 24 months, I am only just moving out of that “temporary” accommodation. 18 months after my first housemate left. Three housemates ago.
I ended up living there twice as long as I had any other rental.
It is easy to become complacent in our immediate surroundings. I remained there because the thought of moving seemed like too much hassle. The excuse I constantly told myself was the saving I was making on rent.
While I wasn’t unhappy there, I can’t say I was happy about it either.
It wasn’t until I finally started flat-hunting with an old friend moving to the area that suddenly moving became a high priority. I didn’t want to spend a single month there longer than I had to.
The problems and mess I had turned a blind eye to for so long became unavoidable and offensive.
Making A Fresh Start
One of the things I always like about school and university was how each year brought a fresh beginning. Turning up to new classes with blank textbooks every September. In the real world of work, these fresh starts are infrequent.
While enjoyable, my two years at my current company have very much blended into one, with my 1 year anniversary being something of a non-event. By staying in the same flat throughout this period, I have had even more continuity.
This Friday I am finally moving into a new apartment. I cannot wait for the change of scenery, excited to finally live with a friend again, and escape the damning label of “student accommodation”. It helps that the flat looks amazing.
For the first time in a while, I will be crossing another mental checkpoint in life. The move will mark a transition into another stage of my time in Southampton.
With new surroundings, a greatly enhanced social life, and the novelty of a swanky apartment to occupy me, I anticipate a renewed lease of life.
Popping home for a change of scenery
While paying extortionate moving fees and a sharp increase in rent can achieve the rejuvenation one might need, there are far cheaper ways to replenish yourself.
At this stage in my career, I have very little holiday to contend with. In the past, I have always looked to make it go as far as possible, using it sparingly on trips abroad, Christmas and Easter.
This week, I took 5 days off simply to return home and visit my girlfriend. With no packed agenda, I have loved the break from work and a change of pace. There’s something about sleeping in a different bed, watching a different TV and eating different meals that snaps you out of one mindset and into another.
The next time I am feeling under the weather or drained, I’m going to make sure I pop home for a similar change of scenery. Even if it is just for the weekend for a flying visit on a Friday evening.
If you are stressed or running on empty, there is no need to immediately reach for your passport. 48 hours in a different house can do the trick. Preferably a family member or friend’s – trespassing is not recommended.