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The Art of Organic Wellness: Lessons from Rural Women

Updated: Dec 1, 2023



Introduction: The Virtuous Cycle of Rural Wellness

My son's advice about grounding oneself in nature for mental well-being struck a chord with me, especially when combined with a thoughtful comment on my last post celebrating the experiences of rural women. This synergy led me to reflect on how rural women live wellness as an integral, day-to-day reality rather than as a scheduled activity. Unlike the urban culture that promotes gyms and stress-management apps, these women have daily rituals that serve as a timeless guide to well-being. The wisdom they embody offers an organic approach to wellness, revealing both beneficial practices to adopt and challenges that warrant our attention. In a world where many are entangled in the fast-paced whirlpool of urban life, the lifestyle of rural women serves as a sustainable alternative worth exploring.


The Rural Woman's Gym: The Land Herself

One reader's comment about "daily farming and housework being much better than gyms" had me thinking. When we consider gyms, we often think of spaces specifically designed for physical fitness—a place to run on a treadmill, lift weights, or attend a high-intensity interval training class. However, for the rural woman, the gym is not confined to four walls; it is the boundless expanse of the land they inhabit.


The very act of farming goes beyond just physical exertion. Ploughing a field involves every muscle in your body in a coordinated effort. This task requires a strong core, leg muscles for stability, and arm strength for control. It is a full-body workout that also engages the mind. There is a pattern and a rhythm to it, much like a well-choreographed exercise routine, but with a practical outcome: a field ready for sowing.


When it comes to harvesting, be it picking fruit or cutting grain, the rhythmic movements involved can be likened to a series of repeated exercises. Beyond that, there is an element of deep focus and attention to detail that makes the task meditative in nature. The act of cutting, picking, gathering, and storing engages both body and mind, and the produce serves as both a literal and metaphorical fruit of one's labour.


Taking care of livestock adds another dimension to this natural "gym" experience. Herding animals, feeding them, and ensuring their well-being is another set of activities that require not only physical effort but also a deep sense of responsibility and mindfulness. Each animal has its unique set of needs and behaviours; attending to them fosters a sense of empathy and understanding that enriches the caretaker's emotional well-being.


When we talk about grounding activities, we usually imagine practices like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness techniques. For the rural woman, grounding is as simple and as profound as feeling the earth beneath her feet as she goes about her daily tasks. The sensory experience of touching the soil, smelling the fresh air, hearing the sounds of nature, and seeing the vibrant colours of flora and fauna create a multi-dimensional wellness experience that no indoor gym can replicate.


To add another layer to this, consider the sense of community that often comes with rural work. Tasks are frequently communal, providing not just social interaction but also a shared sense of purpose and achievement that is enormously beneficial for mental well-being. In urban gyms, people may work out together but remain isolated in their own worlds, often with headphones on and eyes fixed on individual screens.


In summary, the land serves as an all-encompassing wellness space for rural women, offering not just physical exercise but also opportunities for mental grounding, meditative practices, and even emotional well-being. It is a multi-faceted, enriching gym with no membership fees, open round the clock, and always welcoming. It challenges our conventional understanding of what a gym is and broadens the scope of what wellness can mean for all of us.


Organic Wellness: Mindfulness in Every Task

The rural woman's day is filled with tasks that many might view as laborious, yet these tasks serve as exercises in mindfulness and grounding. Unlike the repetitive nature of gym workouts or the isolation of urban wellness practices, these activities are rooted in purpose. Tending to fields, caring for animals, and other such chores create a virtuous cycle where working the land nourishes the body and the mind.


In the fast-paced world we inhabit, where time is often equated with money, the concept of ‘mindfulness’ is frequently marketed as a luxury. We have come to view it as something requiring special moments set aside for meditation or perhaps expensive retreats for the more adventurous among us. However, for the rural woman, mindfulness is not a special event; it is a daily practice, woven seamlessly into the fabric of her life.


Consider the act of tending to a field. It is not simply a matter of sowing and reaping; it is a deep engagement with the land. Every step taken, every seed sown, every weed pulled engages her senses in ways that urban gym workouts can seldom match. She feels the soil under her feet, the sun on her back, and the wind in her hair.


Her actions are deliberate, carried out with a sense of responsibility for the field and its eventual yield.


The concept of ‘mindfulness’ is thus not alien to her; it is not something she has to learn from a self-help book or a weekend workshop. It is intrinsic to her daily activities, a silent partner that walks alongside her as she navigates her chores, adding a layer of emotional and mental well-being to the physical exertions.


The Challenges: Room for Reflection and Action

While it is tempting to romanticise the rural woman's lifestyle, we cannot overlook the challenges she faces. For one, the intensity of physical labour can take a toll on the body over time. Unlike gym-goers, who have the liberty to set the pace and duration of their workouts, rural women do not have such a luxury. Their work is dictated by seasons, weather conditions, and immediate needs, often requiring long hours of strenuous activities.


Moreover, rural women frequently lack access to medical facilities, especially those catering to women-specific health issues. As a result, the long-term impact of this strenuous lifestyle often goes unaddressed, sometimes leading to chronic conditions.


However, these challenges should not deter us from exploring and adopting the positive aspects of their lifestyle. Rather, they should serve as a reminder that there is work to be done in addressing the needs and well-being of these women. It behoves us to lend a helping hand, whether through policy interventions, technological solutions, or community programmes, to make their lives easier and more sustainable.


Conclusion: A Lesson for All

The lifestyle of the rural woman serves as a testament to the potential of organic wellness—a comprehensive, sustainable approach to physical, emotional, and mental well-being. While there is much to be done in addressing the challenges these women face, their lives offer us a valuable lesson in holistic wellness. In a world caught up in the endless quest for the latest wellness trends, it might be worth taking a step back to explore the timeless wisdom these women embody.


Let us not just admire them from afar but engage in meaningful dialogue and action to improve their conditions, while simultaneously absorbing the invaluable lessons they offer for our own lives.


Till next time, stay grounded.



About the Author

Nite Tanzarn is a thought leader and Independent International Consultant. With a deep-rooted passion for women's and girls' rights, she brings a unique blend of academic rigour and on-ground experience to her work. Specialising in the GESI dimensions of transport, agriculture, and rural development, Nite transcends conventional boundaries to create inclusive and sustainable change. While she navigates complexities in the boardroom, Nite relishes sharing her insights through writing. Her blog, "Nite Tanzarn’s Reflective Musings," serves as a canvas where her professional journey intersects with her deeply personal understanding of the world. It is a space where readers are invited to explore societal issues as well as nuggets of timeless wisdom that are often overlooked.

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19 Comments


Faith Kasiira
Faith Kasiira
Dec 06, 2023

The hardships we think they face is what gives them the healthy life we admire to have.

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Nite Tanzarn
Nite Tanzarn
Dec 06, 2023
Replying to

Hi Faith,

Thank you for sharing your perspective. Your comment highlights an important aspect of the narrative in "The Art of Organic Wellness: Lessons from Rural Women" – the paradoxical nature of hardships and resilience. Indeed, the challenges faced by rural women often foster a lifestyle and wisdom that many in more urban settings aspire to emulate, particularly in terms of organic living and wellness. It's a poignant reminder of the diverse strengths that can emerge from adversity and the valuable lessons we can learn from these experiences. Let's continue to draw inspiration and learn from the resilience and practices of rural women.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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Guest
Nov 04, 2023

There are many lessons to be learnt from rural women as to how to incorporate wellbeing in our daily lives.

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Guest
Oct 28, 2023

What a way with words! You are truly gifted.

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Nite Tanzarn
Nite Tanzarn
Oct 28, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for your kind words. It is uplifting to know that my way of expressing ideas resonates with you. The real credit, however, goes to the inspiring rural women whose lessons enrich our understanding of wellness.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest #RuralWomen

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Guest
Oct 27, 2023

My feet were swollen and much darker than the rest of my body. When I started grounding they improved. I try to ground as often as I can and I have never felt better.

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Nite Tanzarn
Nite Tanzarn
Oct 27, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with grounding. It is truly fascinating how some of the simplest acts can yield significant improvements in our well-being. Your story adds a valuable dimension to the conversation about organic wellness and the lessons we can glean from rural women. Keep grounding and enjoying its benefits!

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest #FamilyLife #ParentingInsights #ParentingJourney

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Guest
Oct 25, 2023

A combination of an open air gym, fresh organic food.....yes, there are some hardships but so many pluses

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Nite Tanzarn
Nite Tanzarn
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

Absolutely, the rural lifestyle has some undeniable benefits that contribute to overall wellness. The 'open-air gym' provided by the land itself not only serves as a space for physical activity but also reconnects individuals with nature, which has its own mental health advantages. Farming or simply spending time outdoors is akin to a full-body workout that also engages the mind. Fresh organic food is an added bonus, enhancing both physical and mental well-being.

However, while acknowledging these pluses, it's crucial not to overlook the hardships rural women often face. Limited access to healthcare, education, and modern amenities are significant challenges that require our attention and action.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I'm pleased that the article resonated with…

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