Photo Credit: by Vera Man, flickr.com
If you’ve spent any time on Instagram or TikTok since the start of the pandemic (and who hasn’t?), then you’ve probably come across the cottagecore trend -- even if you weren’t aware that’s what you were seeing.
Cottagecore -- also called farmcore and countrycore -- is the hottest new way of life, the biggest new trend, from young teens all the way through millennials in their 20s and 30s. Everyone is trying their hand at living the rural life in accordance with the cottagecore trend -- at least on their Instagram feeds, if not in real life. Now, cottagecore has taken over everything from fashion to interior design to our everyday to-do lists -- or rather, our newfound lack of them.
But what exactly is it? How did it start? What does it mean? And, most interesting of all -- if you try living this lifestyle, could cottagecore actually have a positive impact on your health?
Read on to learn all you need to know about cottagecore, the ultimate isolation trend that emerged during quarantine and became an aesthetic movement that embraces rural life to the extreme.
Understanding the cottagecore lifestyle trend: What’s the appeal?
Cottagecore is the lifestyle equivalent of comfort food, but actually nourishing and healthy for you. Taking a break from the “real world” of technology and fast-paced living to spend quiet time in nature is what it’s all about.
According to the Huffington Post, “The cottagecore aesthetic is a romanticised interpretation of rural life. It shines the spotlight on self-sustainability, the idea of a more simple life and being in harmony with nature. … Think: idyllic country life, cosy interiors, rolling fields, flower print, straw hats, homemade baked goods, growing plants, raising animals, and flowers.”
As they point out, it’s no wonder that the cottagecore aesthetic became so popular during quarantine -- while trapped in their homes during lockdown, especially if stuck in tiny city apartments, people did a lot of baking and a lot of dreaming about wide open spaces and clean air. The ability to get outside and enjoy nature on a walk for exercise became scarce -- and all the more appreciated for it.
“We’ve embraced home comforts and yearned to leave our usual chaotic lives,” the article continues. “Cottagecore is a celebration of a calming world that brings comfort as people shelter in their homes. It’s easy to see the appeal of a sun-kissed fantasy escape to a twee countryside cottage surrounded by lush forests.”
In other words, it only makes sense that as people around the world began to feel anxious, cramped, bored, and confused as the coronavirus pandemic raged on, upending our typical routines and confining us to our homes, the dream of living an idyllic life in the countryside with space to roam and not much to worry about would grow so popular.
The history of the cottagecore aesthetic: cottagecore became popular during quarantine
While cottagecore might seem like a totally new trend, the reality is that living the simple life out on a lovely plot of land is nothing new. Homesteaders and rural villages have been doing this since the dawn of time!
While our modern world is increasingly urban and industrialized, people have always lived on the outskirts of cities or far beyond, deep into the land with no congestion or urban density to bother them.
The ability to escape to a scenic countryside cottage or cabin is also demonstrated in the resurgence of the popularity of the wholesome classic book Little Women, which conveniently had an updated movie version released in 2019. Little Women is a classic example of cottagecore before it was cool or even a trend: simple life on the prairie with only the world around us at our fingertips.
According to Insider, “Cottagecore is an aesthetic movement that draws together all of the best parts of going off and living in a cabin in the woods. It's a glimpse into a simple existence – one where the fruit is always fresh, the air is always clean, and the technology is always out of sight. No one can ping you in woodland paradise. …
“Recently, cottagecore has been having a moment, experiencing a boom on platforms like Tumblr, which has seen a massive spike in engagement with cottagecore content with posts up by 153%, likes by 541%, and reblogs by 644%. The trend began to gain traction online in January, per a cursory Google Trends search, though it’s been around longer than that (the Cottagecore subreddit, for instance, was created in Aug. 2018).”
Still, in 2020, when “home life” became the only life as the world as we knew it screeched to a halt, many celebrities seemed to flee for the hills. David and Victoria Beckham posted photos from their walks in the woods and Taylor Swift released the twangy, moody album folklore, further solidifying all things cottagecore.
All over Instagram, there were photos of starry-eyed women laying in fields of daisies while wearing feminine floral frocks and tying their air-dried hair back in plain cotton bandanas, freckles blooming across their cheeks from time spent in the sun. Cardigans are also a must-have staple of the cottagecore aesthetic.
Cottagecore living means you only come in from outside to bake homemade bread or pack your picnic basket for another adventure outdoors; you might take up knitting, quilting, journaling, or pottery, or come up with your own homemade pie recipe from berries you foraged yourself in the fields surrounding your cozy country home. Tending a garden and caring for farm animals is obvious farmcore.
Leaving society behind to live a simple life in the woods just makes sense at a time when a global pandemic forced us to change our habits and practice isolation, social distancing, staying home, quarantine, and all the other buzzwords that came about due to COVID-19. It provides both a sense of grounding and a fantasy world to escape to, both needed during the pandemic.
Farmcore, countrycore, grannycore: How to live the cottagecore lifestyle
How do you live the cottagecore lifestyle or identify people embracing the cottagecore aesthetic? People practicing cottagecore tend to gravitate toward cooking, baking, doing DIY projects, keeping their home clean and organized, living on the land, using what they have, prioritizing the practical, and trimming down excess in pursuit of minimalism.
Forest fairies, flower crowns, herbs, plants, gingham, vintage, tea sets, antiques, embroidery, baking, poetry, and all things cozy are all part of the cottagecore aesthetic. Making homemade jam, crocheting lace onto well loved items in your closet to repurpose them, and long walks spent picking wildflowers to create tiny bouquets all around your home are definitely on a cottagecore to-do list.
Life in the cottagecore trend isn’t complicated. It’s simple, clean, pure, and at peace with the harmony of the natural world around us. Living out the cottagecore aesthetic means a quiet life taking pleasure in the small things, eschewing materialism, waste, and anything you don’t need.
How cottagecore can benefit your wellbeing
Turns out, that’s actually a pretty healthy way to live. Lower your stress levels, spend less money, and thrive on whatever is available around you? Stay away from cities and crowds and the dangers of modern life? Read books, bake and cook at home, and slow down for quality time with only those closest to you? Spend more time on crafts in front of a fireplace rather than mindlessly clicking and scrolling on a screen?
In reality, there are few trends out there that could be better for your overall lifestyle! Stress is a major killer that causes a host of health problems. Exposing yourself to disease and illness thanks to all the crowds around you is a necessary evil of city life, so city dwellers have to constantly boost their immune system to ward off whatever is going around. And spending time in nature is proven to boost our overall levels of health and happiness, as is getting plenty of sleep before rising with the sun.
Cooking and baking using natural, organic ingredients can be a major improvement to your typical diet of greasy takeout and packaged, processed items. Slowing down to meditate or work on meditative projects is good for your brain and gives you space to think and process. Breathing clean country air instead of polluted city congestion can also have big benefits to your health. De-cluttering your life and daily to-do list can feel freeing and restorative.
As an article in Medium explains, “Clearly the way our society is structured is taking a toll on mental health … We can all appreciate the wholesomeness of cottagecore while recognizing that society has pushed us to a point where seeking refuge in the belief we can change the world to better accommodate our mental health has been rejected in lieu of online escapism. The fact that 1 in 6 Americans are taking psychiatric drugs is an indication that there is something deeply troubling about our state of mind.”
Even if you can’t pack up and leave behind your life to move to a tiny cottage in the woods, you can try implementing some cottagecore practices in your daily routine and living as close as you can to the farmcore lifestyle by simplifying your everyday and spending more time outside.
Do more things you enjoy -- cottagecore proves they don’t have to be complicated or costly. Embrace the simple things that truly matter, dress comfortably, and slow the pace of your life. Do all these things by living the countrycore life and see how much your health and happiness improve. You might be surprised by how much cottagecore can affect your wellbeing in positive ways.
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