We came to Dumfries & Galloway to downshift from a busy life in Liverpool to a simpler less stressful life and it’s the best thing we ever did.
For us, it was about having more time with our daughter Zoe and doing the things we love to do, instead of those we felt were obligatory. The more complicated our lives became, the more we craved simplicity.
The irony was that as a psychotherapist and stress management consultant, I was spending my working day advising people about balancing their work and personal life, when all the time I was adding to mine. I knew this wasn’t the life we wanted and from professional experience, I knew that it wasn’t a healthy way to be.
I had wonderful memories of living in Scotland when I was in my twenties and had always dreamt of moving back. My husband Peter had always loved to holiday in Dumfries and Galloway when he was younger. We just knew it was the place we wanted to be. Seven years on and we’re still blissfully happy that we made the right decision.
We have been overwhelmed by the welcome that we’ve received. Everyone has been so lovely and genuinely pleased that we have moved here. The locals are very proud of this place and they love it when someone else appreciates it. Of course there is a down side too! You have to really like living in the middle of nowhere and it isn’t for everyone.
Our first home here was a beautiful yet remote farmhouse four miles from Wigtown. In the first week we had a power cut, ran out of oil, the snow brought down the telephone lines and our lovely neighbours who had promised to look after us had gone away for the weekend. The roads were impassable because of the snow and we were stranded. So, we chopped up some logs and lit a fire, broke out the candles and the blankets and made the most of it. Our first adventure!
Moving here has totally changed our lives. Life has a slower pace here and people have time to stop and chat. Every day we stop and appreciate what we have. Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. We love absolutely everything about Downshifting, apart from the word itself. It sounds as though it means doing without, when actually, we feel richer than we ever have.
Heather Bestel is a psychotherapist & stress management consultant, founder of The Happiness Garden and author of Magical Meditations 4 Kids. She works with clients at home, online and in school.