10 Helpful Off Grid Living Ideas You Need to Know

July 06, 2017

how to live off the grid

Here's what it boils down to: we're human. We don't belong in a rat race.

Thoreau said it best in Walden:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life...and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

The beauty of off-grid living in the age of technology is that we can choose when to commune with the elements and when to plug back in.

Rustic living is way more complex than most people think anyway, and not nearly as idyllic (um, outhouse seepage?).

But with these 10 off grid living ideas, you can stay plugged in and still remain one with your inner nature-lover.

Living off the grid is about DIY independence, health-conscious choices, and energy conservation that's sexy, inspirational, and invigorating.

1. Don't Dive In until You Strategize

According to Maslow's Hierarchy, once our basic needs for survival are fulfilled, we can focus on our wants. Awesome!

OK, so your needs are covered. Now, what do you want? What is important to you about living a more DIY, independent lifestyle? 

Jot it down because that will help you see it, feel it, and make it a reality. 

The power to live by your rules is not in the grid but undeniably in you. Writing your strategy helps cement this in your mind so you can start to take action.

Be flexible with your strategy: plan on making changes as you go. You'll clarify your initial ideas as you get more in tune with the off-grid vibes.

In no time, you'll implement your favorite off grid living ideas and live better than ever.

2. Minimize the Rat Race

Everybody's gotta get somewhere.

At work, on the road, at the market--the task-master society doesn't let up. We unplug to reconnect.

But we don't have to retreat to a mountain top. One key is to build ways to recharge into your normal routine.

Break up your 8-hour work day into digestible increments, and infuse the time with as much appreciation as you can pack into it.

Take the micro breaks recommended in federal guidelines of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

They suggest taking 5 minutes out of every hour to look away from computer screens. Stretch, get up and walk around, or get a drink of water. 

This refreshes your mind so you control your tasks, they don't control you. It also helps reduce muscle and tendon aches and injuries.

As you continue to strategize, jot down things you can do to relax during these breaks. 

Need suggestions?

Focus on your breathing to calm and recenter yourself; keep a pic of the perfect beach or mountain retreat on your phone; hum to a song you love.

3. Get Out to the Country

Even if it's an apartment jungle you've carved out in the corner of your studio, surround yourself with green things as much as possible.

It's our nature to commune with soil, leaves, sky, water. According to the NIH, our biology depends on our oneness with the natural world.

Chronobiology, the study of our circadian rhythms, shows that signals in the natural environment trigger essential workings of the human body. 

That's why off-the-grid living is health-conscious living: we truly are one with nature.

When we're divided from the natural world, it can show up as insomnia, diabetes, obesity, depression, SAD, or even bipolar disorder, according to the NIH.

Light is a major player here, so the color rendering index (CRI) in your home and office is important for circadian consistency.

Follow the CRI link for an easy guide on how indoor lighting affects what we see and do.

Read on for more great off grid living ideas!

4. Garden Off the Grid

Get digging to optimize those circadian rhythms while you unplug. Learning to garden can save time and money in the long run if you stick with it.

Don't throw out those used coffee grounds, mix them with soil to improve drainage, aeration, and pH levels.

Rinsed grounds are low in acidity; fresh grounds are high in acidity, so learn which levels are good for the plants you love.

To save space, you can grow potatoes or tomatoes vertically.

Veggies from the market can often be regrown in water. Save the stems or roots of romaine lettuce, celery, and bok choy.

You can get up to 10 sprouts from one sweet potato. Replant them in organic soil.

You know the leftover ginger root that's too tiny to shred? Soak it in water overnight and replant it in organic soil.

5. Conserve Water and Other Resources

Saving water is an easy way to help the environment, and it saves you money.

Energy Star's 17 most efficient dishwashers have a kilowatt-per-year rating of 220-225.

Even so, run the dishwasher as seldom as possible to reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint.

Wash and rinse dishes in a basin to minimize water waste and detergent use.

Keep another basin with you in the shower to catch the soapy water, and use it to wash your car or patio furniture.

Update your refrigerator to an energy-efficient model.

Finally cut the cord on your cable bill, and use the extra time and mental focus to enjoy the outdoors. 

6. Optimize Your DIY Skills

Learning new skills to add to your DIY toolkit lets you unplug from the rat race and reconnect to what matters.

You'll look and feel like you're on a permanent vacation as you integrate these off grid living ideas into your new hobbies.

With all that cable-free extra time on your hands, take up sewing, carpentry, or metal refurbishing.

Here's some off-grid interior-design inspiration with DIY desk lighting.

DIY is off-grid living customized to your needs. Go non-commercial to minimize your dependence on consumerism and wasteful living.

7. Immunize Body and Mind

Reduce your carbon output with fewer trips to the doc by boosting your immune system with simple home remedies.

Save those citrus rinds and add boiled water for lemon, lime, or orange peel teas. They're delicious and packed with 14% of the recommended vitamin C.

Get at least five minutes of sun exposure during your trips outdoors. Synthesizing vitamin D is essential to a health-conscious mind and body.

Stop using technology at least two hours before bed. Read, write in a journal, or talk to your live-in lover.

Electronics stimulate the nervous system--overstimulate it, considering how technology-dependent we've become in this day and age.

Stopping two hours before bed improves sleep and reduces stress, big time.

8. DIY Meditation

The best off grid living ideas are about connecting with what makes us human. What better way than to focus on breathing, the source of life energy.

Try mindfulness: sit upright but relaxed or lie down on your back. Center your awareness in your in- and out-breaths for several minutes.

You'll find you downshift quickly and easily if your focus is clear. 

Geometric breathing is clinically proven to lower blood pressure.

Start with triangular breathing: breath in for a count of 3; hold for a count of 3; breath out for a count of 3. Repeat.

Increase the counts gradually and comfortably. After a lifetime of practice, masters get up to 20.

Once you're comfortable with triangular breathing, go on to square breathing by holding after the exhalation.

Start back at 3 and breathe in for 3; hold for 3; out for 3; hold for 3. Repeat.

Meditation doesn't have to be done seated. Meditating while walking in nature is invigorating. Unplug and recharge your batteries.

"Yoga" means union--it's about oneness with the eternal and essential self. Qigong and tai chi help you connect the inner Tao with the universal Tao.

These practices develop a self-perpetuating energy that promotes healthy living, inner peace, and a positive mindset.

There are thousands of ways to meditate--formal or informal.

Customize a daily discipline for yourself to maximize your human potential and energy.

9. Commune through Communication

When it comes to off-grid living, you don't have to go it alone. Tell the people in your life what you're planning to do, so they can help support you.

Being friendly and communicative with the people you see in your day lets you plug into the natural energy we share communally.

Surround yourself with positive people as often as possible to keep you on track.

When family members act like downers, they're usually unaware of how they affect you. They usually mean well.

Speak your heart, follow your passion, and unplug from the need to care what others think while allowing them the dignity of their individual opinions.

10. Off-grid Revamp

Living off the grid doesn't have to equal a permanent down-shift.

It's rejuvenating and invigorating to pump new blood and new purpose in and to cut out old habits. Trim the fat and lighten your load.

Downsize and simplify by getting rid of items in your home you don't need. It may cause an initial mess, but it saves time and space in the long run.

Donate, give away, or sell your unwanted items.

How do you decide what to keep? Give yourself two criteria, keeping only those items you 1, use regularly, or 2, truly love.

Before you know it, your home will have square footage to spare.

With all that extra space, surround yourself with things that inspire you. Take a look at this other off grid gear.

Off the grid living is worth the initial effort to plan a strategy and organize what makes you come alive.

Please leave a comment regarding your off-grid living experiences, hopes, or fears. Thank you!

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