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More Americans are exploring lifestyles with an intentional focus

These could include cooking from scratch, gardening, homeschooling and even home births. Is it a shift in perspective or a trending aesthetic?
More Americans are exploring lifestyles with an intentional focus
Posted at 2:42 PM, Feb 17, 2024

Looking to live life a little differently? From "homestead" to "off-grid" lifestyles with an intentional focus have been growing in popularity on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. A quick scroll on social media and you're likely to come across posts about cooking from scratch, gardening, homeschool and even home births. So what's driving the interest in this lifestyle content? Is it a shift in perspective or a trending aesthetic?

"It wasn't until we both started having health issues that we started to think about life in a different way," Julie Stonefelt said.

Washington state couple, Julie and Kevin Stonefelt are the founder of the website Wild Homestead Living, a platform on which they've documented their journey to living a more intentional lifestyle by integrating their background working with wildlife. When faced with a Type 1 diabetes and later a breast cancer diagnosis, they say something had to change.

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"There are lots of different terms self-sufficient, sustainable, mindful, intentional, homesteading. We sort of landed on the word homesteading for simplicity's sake. Although we think all of those terms can fit in the big basket, and the way I like to define it is it's a way of living where you use your mind, your heart and your hands to create some of what you need to survive. That's it," Stonefelt said.

For the Stonefelt's the first step was re-examining their diet. They began cooking at home more and even worked with their landlord to find space to grow some vegetables. After a few years of research and saving, they ultimately moved from Seattle to a couple of acres of land outside the city. But they say you don't need to move somewhere in order to live life more intentionally.

"Each family, each situation is so unique, whether you're whether you're married or you're single, whether you live in a city or you live in the country or you know what your financial needs are, I think all of that plays into the factor and what your personality is like. Some people are like, I know myself, I'm not going to do that. Or, you know, maybe I'm not going to do that right now, but down the road," Stephanie Brown said.

Stephanie Brown in Washington, Iowa, is a mother expecting her eighth child and the owner of the Red Flower Apothecary. Having come from a health and wellness background as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, she says her journey to living a more intentional life has been an ever evolving one. She also adds that it's a journey currently taking place in a regular town.

"My oldest is almost 16 and then the youngest is two. So, we have all different ages and stages and just figuring out kind of what works for our family with health and wellness," Brown said.

As for the force driving the interest in more intentional lifestyles?

"I do think, first and foremost, the chronic health conditions. People are desperate to feel better because there's so many sick people out there mentally and physically," Brown said. 

"But I do feel like it's just mainly, though, people wanting to take a little bit more control of their own lives and their own destiny and, and feel the empowerment that comes with being able to create like produce your own food or repair your own home, or do, you know, do things that we've sort of, in the modern world started to take for granted a little bit," Kevin Stonefelt said.

Ultimately, the Stonefelts and Brown say there is no wrong way to live a more intentional lifestyle, be it by yourself or with your family — and remember, it doesn't have to be picture perfect like the posts you see on social media.

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