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Why We Should All Consider A More Bohemian Lifestyle

Why We Should All Consider A More Bohemian Lifestyle

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “Bohemian” as someone, “especially an artist, literary man, or actor, who leads a free, vagabond, or irregular life, not being particular as to the society he frequents, and despising conventionalities generally”.

In today’s world, the term “Boho” or “Bohemian” is mostly associated with a fashion style or certain way to decorate a home. In fact, the bohemian style has become a real trend over the past few years. The brand Freepeople, for instance, is a great example of this bohemian styling trend. But there’s a lot more to it.

“Bohemianism is not a trend, it’s a timeless movement, a way of life both fleeting and enduring that reappears every now and then as a backlash against our bourgeois, mass market, easy access culture.” Laren Stover, author of Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge.

Bohemianism is a lifestyle. It stands for those free spirits who are living a life away from the usual everyday life, the stress and pressure, a life in which we are disguising our own feelings and personality in order to fit into today’s society and its ideals. We become the “perfect” version of ourselves, living our allegedly “perfect” lives, rushing from one place to another because those 24 hours just aren’t enough to fit in ten hours of work, working out at the gym, eating, getting dressed, grocery shopping, and picking up the kids from school. You get the idea.

Living a life always hassling from one place to another isn’t always what we really want. We do it because everybody does it. From early on, we give our very best at school in order to get into a decent university. When we are at university, we give our very best in order to get a good job with some major company one day. And when we are at work? Well, we are giving our very best in order to please our bosses, to get a pay raise, or to finance the next vacation. At the same time, we are constantly working on ourselves, trying to fix our flaws, to get in better shape, to get a better look.

While we are doing all this, we tend to forget our talents, our dreams, our true selves. We forget about the things that actually make us happy and fulfilled. This “perfect” version of ourselves often isn’t ourselves. That is where Bohemians are one step ahead of us. They live the life they want to live, they fight for their ideals, they are their true selves, managing to live out their dreams. Even if that means that they don’t have a permanent place of residence or a hefty savings account.

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Even though this lifestyle might not suit everyone, it clearly involves some aspects which any of us can, and maybe even should, consider implementing more in our own lives. All points are underlined by statements from what has become one of my favorite books: Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge by Laren Stover.

1. Have the courage to follow your own ideals and live your life to the fullest.

In order to live life to the fullest, you’ve got to be willing to take a risk once in a while. Have courage and know that the risk is worth it.

“Giving up security takes guts. Bohemians have the courage to reject mainstream society; to follow an ideal and forsake praise and security; to alienate family; to be, as Jack Kerouac put it, ‘yourself at whatever cost’.”

2. Free your artistic self and surprise yourself.

Take photos, take notes, jot down your thoughts, paint, or do pottery. There are a million ways we can act out our feelings. Just try it.

“Art is a way of life to the Bohemian, so it is difficult to separate art from life. They make it. They sell it. They barter it. They inspire it. They find it on the street, on the beach, in the Dumpster, in the stars. […] Walls, floors, shoes, shirts, sidewalks, street lamps, skylights, no surface is safe from the Bohemian with a paintbrush, marking pen or glue gun. Broken objects may become art; broken crockery or scallop shells end up as mosaics.”

3. Speak out loudly for what you believe in.

Don’t hide your feelings and thoughts just because they might not seem appropriate for some people. Be true to yourself.

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“Revolt comes naturally to Bohemians; they are contrary, irrelevant and disobedient. They like to shake things up. They tickle, rattle, inspire, amuse, repulse and overthrow. Bohemians revolt against dress codes, the circadian clock, business hours, temperance, established mores, the conventional idea of a work ethic, established art forms, politics, traditional living arrangements and institutions.”

4. Dare to live a more unconventional life.

Who tells us how we have to live our lives? High school, college, work, family, kids. For some of us, this might sound wonderful — which is fine. For some of us, however, it doesn’t. It’s just not us. So why should we force ourselves?

“The bohemian is not a follower of the virtues espoused by bourgeois society: routine, temperance, convention, mediocrity, materialism and respectability. Bohemians despise authority, the status quo and, because they are often broke, capitalism and consumerism.”

5. Be proud of being different.

You simply cannot identify yourself with the “normal,” ordinary way people around you talk, act, think, and live? You feel like you are kind of weird in some way? Different? Extraordinary? Well, congratulations. Be proud of it.

“To Bohemians, there is no shame in experiencing altered mental states and sometimes even a little glory in it. […] The Bohemian is never shy about sharing any alternative or outlaw experience. This includes asylum stays. They will illustrate treatments, painting doctors and wards and discussing the stay as though it were something of notoriety or great prestige.” 

6. Embrace your body.

Bohemians are comfortable with nakedness because they are comfortable in their bodies. Imagine how much happier we would all be if we could just accept our bodies the way they look and see them as the beautiful things they are.

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“Nudity as a state is liberating, free of class, inhibition, pretense, rank and fashion. It’s an opportunity to return to the earth, to create a Utopia uncorrupted by buttons, buckles, zippers, neckties, bow ties.”

7. Stop believing in materialism.

Owning a lot of things doesn’t necessarily make one happy. On the contrary, it is not a rare occurrence that this stuff gets in our way and becomes a burden. So, what exactly is the point of all those possessions we accumulate over the years?

“The Bohemian makes do — creatively, exultantly — and does not need the newest appliance, car or gadget to impress, to feel whole, to define himself or herself, to pursue dreams. The true Bohemian is a connoisseur of texture, color and sensation. While the bourgeoisie can experience excitement, a feeling of fulfillment only through consuming, the Bohemian is exhilarated by observation, by creation, by experience itself.”

8. Travel away from the destinations of guidebooks and tourist hotspots.

Discover new lands, foreign cultures, freedom off the beaten track. Get inspired.

“They travel inordinately, incessantly, restlessly; observing, freeloading, freewheeling, free loving, freedom bound, drinking, mountain climbing, [..], taking jobs, taking notes, taking photos, typing away in the room at night, maybe all night. […] Bohemians shun tourist attractions. The Bohemians has been to Paris ten times yet has never been to the Eiffel Tower, and when they do, always by accident, end up at a tourist attraction, they’ll get there so late it will be closed.”

9. Reconnect with nature.

A walk in nature is often referred to as the best medicine. In today’s modern world, however, we tend to forget that and rather turn to our electrical devices or even pills to calm us down, to distract us from our problems, from the struggles we have. So the next time you are feeling down or stressed, try a walk in the park. It will not only help you de-stress, but also to get a little physical exercise.

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“Bohemians are more primal, closer to the earth, and more prone to embrace nature than people who consider themselves above the four-legged with tail or scales. They do not, as a rule, put out sticky traps or tear down spiderwebs, and never one that is inhabited. Bohemians rescue animals.”

10. Don’t be afraid to try new, foreign things.

Trying out and learning about new things will not only open up new possibilities and chances to you in life, it will also make you smarter and benefit your personality in a great way.

“Bohemians embrace, whenever possible, unconventional food and eating habits. […] Bohemians like to eat and prepare food from countries not native to them, or from another time period.”

However you are living or planning on living your life, take just one minute and think about it. What’s the feeling you are getting? If it feels good, congratulations, that’s great. If it doesn’t, however, there might be a weak spot in the way you’re living. Now, think of those points mentioned above. They are all crucial elements in the bohemian lifestyle. Maybe you’ll find yourself in one of them, maybe there are some small adjustments you can implement in your own life and maybe, just maybe, they will help you to live your life more fully, more happily, and more truthfully.

After all, “there’s just something about the freedom, recklessness, scandal, artistic vision and spiritual splendor that makes it tantalizingly worthy of membership.”

Featured photo credit: via Flickr // taylorfranks via flickr.com

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Why We Should All Consider A More Bohemian Lifestyle

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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