You’re living alone—or you think you might be soon—and you're not sure if you’ll enjoy it.
You’re feeling lonely and afraid.
Perhaps it’s your first time by yourself.
You might have completed your studies and moved town for your first job, or you’ve just come out of a relationship through a break-up, divorce or bereavement.
You wonder if you're capable of it, and if you could ever be happy or content
You’re afraid of loneliness.
“What’s the best way to live alone?” you ask, “Is it possible to be happy?”
Don’t worry: it is possible to live alone and be content and fulfilled.
Although it might seem scary at first, living alone gives you a lot of great opportunities.
It could well be one of the most growth-filled and peaceful times of your life.
Being alone can feel scary, but ultimately you'll feel better. You really get to know yourself better. And you'll realize and appreciate the people that you decide to keep in your life later.
Here are 18 strategies to make sure you get the most out of this precious time.
Lap Up the Benefits
One of the ways to get comfortable living alone is to ensure you make the best use of the benefits. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s all bad.
A few years ago my wife, Annie, and I lived apart. Initially, it was because I moved from China back to my home country, the UK, and needed to find a job before she could come over. Later, it was because we weren’t adjusting well to living together.
I can honestly say the time apart did us both good. Annie learnt the value of independence, while I used the time for reading and training in counselling and psychotherapy.
We live together now and our relationship is much stronger for it.
Living alone can be a valuable time, as long as you use it well. There are plenty of benefits, you just have to be willing to grab them.
1. Make The Most of Your Peace
Living alone can provide you with ample quiet time.
After a busy day at school or work, you can come back to your apartment, close the door and heave a sigh of relief. If you choose, you can have an evening all to yourself, with no distractions or interactions with another human being. You’ll be able to recharge your batteries and be ready for the next day.
2. Take a Chill Pill
Living with others can be stressful at times.
I’ve lived in several shared houses before. While for the most part, they were okay with easy-going housemates and some friendly, after-work, social conversation, there was the occasional monster who turned everything into a living hell.
When you live alone, you can almost guarantee that others will not cause you any stress. Put the kettle on and get used to relaxing evenings doing activities of your own choice. Enjoy the fact that no-one will disturb you.
3 Go Naked
When you live with others, you often have to do stuff that you ordinarily wouldn’t.
In a shared house, you might end up stuck in a queue for the kitchen or in conversation with someone you’d rather avoid.
You’ll have none of that living alone. You can spend your days or evenings exactly how you like. You don’t have to give too much consideration to other people. This freedom can extend to what to cook, wear, listen to, or watch on TV. Enjoy!
4: Get a Tarantula
If you live alone, you can raise pets without much interference from others.
My wife doesn’t like cats as she thinks they’re dirty. This has defeated my cat fostering ambitions. She once thought the same about dogs, though, until we rescued and raised our own. There’s hope for me being a foster dad yet!
Living alone allows you ample time to select and enjoy raising a pet. You’ll have time and space to provide an animal with all the care and attention it needs. No doubt, your pet will reward you too.
5: Enjoy Your Zzz’s
There’s a lot to be said for a night of quiet, undisturbed rest.
When living alone, you don’t have to worry about your partner waking you up in the night with toilet stops, snoring or a struggle for duvet covers.
A period of living alone can be a great time to adjust your sleep cycle and to make sure you get plenty of hours of adequate sleep. You can replenish your batteries, pay off any sleep debt and fill yourself with vitality.
6: Put Brittany Up
Living with another person means a compromise on how to decorate a room.
Of course, that’s not the worst thing in the world, but why not take the time to indulge your taste now you’ve got time to yourself? Be creative and learn what you find pleasing.
Get your place cosy and welcoming and let it serve as an advertisement for your personality. Buy some houseplants. Add pictures and posters to your wall.
Don’t Waste Your Time
Living alone has a lot going for it. Here are some ideas, so you make the most of this time all to yourself. Make sure not to fritter this golden time away.
7: Become a Carpenter
With your evenings free to yourself, and no one else to worry about, now could be the perfect time to work on mastering a skill.
Whether it’s art, music, writing or computer programming, now is an excellent opportunity to commit yourself to perfection. Studies show it takes hours of dedicated practice to achieve any level of mastery in a pursuit. To improve, you need quiet, focused time where you’re not interrupted – perfect when you’re living alone.
Attending lessons or getting private classes will also keep you social. Don’t let your quiet nights go to waste.
8: Turn Off the TV
Living alone can be a perfect opportunity to undertake a period of learning.
Instead of coming home and flicking on the radio or the TV, why not open a fiction or non-fiction book?
Well-chosen fiction books can allow you to step into the lives of others and to experience places and people in faraway lands. And if you pick up a non-fiction book, you get all the research and condensed learning of someone who has spent thousands of hours dedicated to understanding their chosen topic.
Reading can provide an opportunity to get the education that school didn’t offer.
9: Magnify Yourself
Getting to know yourself is a life-long task. Now you’ve the time and solitude to be introspective.
Self-observing isn’t a form of self-absorbed navel-gazing. I’m not advocating self-obsession. Instead, try to develop internal clarity. Become more open to your emotional life.
The ability to observe and listen to your feelings and body sensations is essential and a crucial skill to learn.
Now might be the time to start a diary or a journal, build that writing habit or to give meditation a go.
Don’t waste your time alone wallowing in your emotions; get to know them. If you do so, you’re sure to live a more fulfilling life.
10: Become a Tradesperson
Living alone means you’ll have to learn to depend on yourself. Horror of horrors, this means keeping a clean living environment and cooking your food. You might even have to undertake some odd jobs, such as fixing the kitchen sink or touching up the gloss work.
Not only that, but you’ll also have to learn how to motivate yourself and how to avoid distractions if you want to get anything done. Instead of coming back after work opening a bottle of wine and chocolates and then sitting back to watch Netflix, you’ll have to embrace the art of getting active without anyone forcing or encouraging you to do so - what a great skill to master.
11: Go Back To College
If you use your time wisely, it could be an excellent opportunity to make progress in your education or career.
Whether it’s an online course, PhD thesis, an office-based job or starting your own business, now could be the time to invest in yourself so that you’ve got the skills and education that will move you forward.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. Learning new things isn’t just for the young, and many older adults undertake second careers. All sorts of age groups are going back to college or university.
Taking the time to invest in yourself now could pay dividends in the future.
Don’t Become a Recluse
To avoid loneliness, you must keep some social activities in your life. Even people like myself who are pretty independent and happy with their own company need to have some social connection. Here are some ideas:
12: Be Polite
Make sure you present yourself well to others. The last thing you need is terrible relations and friction with other people. If you do, you’ll end up hostile and isolated.
Accept others for who they are and always be polite. You don’t need to be super-sociable, but at least, you need to ask how people are and to show you care.
13: Join a Poetry Club
Now could be the perfect time to start a new hobby. Not only will you enrich your life by gaining a new skill, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet others with similar interests.
You don’t have to go all-in and become a dedicated enthusiast. Others who are into the hobby will be fine with you taking a lesser but still interested approach. And with your quiet time at home, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice, read up on your subject and to become a bit of an expert.
Make an effort to stick with your hobbies too. Learning any new skill takes time, don’t let a lack of progress at the start put you off. Stick with it, and you’ll show improvement.
14: Be a Better You
Having plenty of time and space means this could be a fantastic opportunity to perfect yourself.
While my wife and I spent some time apart, I used the time to take lots of walks in nature and learn all I could about self-improvement and mental health. I learnt a lot and matured a lot over this time. It was well worth it.
I became more comfortable in my skin, and that led to me being a more delightful person to be around — not only for my wife but also colleagues, friends and family.
15: Take the Initiative
When you’re living alone, it can be tempting to come home, lock the door and not go out again. Even more so in winter, when it gets dark early and it’s cold outside.
Try to avoid staying in all the time. It takes a bit of effort to get ready and go out, but if you’re like most people you’ll enjoy it when you do. Invite your friends around once in a while and make sure to visit them at their homes too.
Living alone means you’ll have to be practical. You’re responsible for yourself now. There are certain things you should pay extra attention to. Here are a few to think about:
16: Be Flame Free
You need to stay safe and learn how to manage a secure, risk-free home. You want to make sure that you’ve smoke alarms fitted and, should there be a fire, know what your escape route is.
Take this risk seriously! Make sure to read up on how to keep a home safe.
Similarly, you want to keep yourself protected from thieves. One of the essential steps is to ensure you lock your doors, that the locks are decent and that you’ve got a way of knowing who is outside your door before opening it. A door chain is one way to do this, or if you prefer, video doorbells are cheap these days.
17: Choose Your Neighbours Wisely
Although you may want to save some money, choosing a cheap but rundown neighbourhood might not be worth it.
There are certain things that are worth spending a little money on and your safety and security is one of them.
One thing to consider when picking a location is how close it is to your work. Since you’re living alone now, can you choose to reduce your commute? Plenty of studies show that the shorter a person’s commute, the more likely they are to be happy and well.
Is this something you want to consider?
18: Buy Some Deodorant
Living alone, you’ll be responsible for keeping your place clean and tidy and for staying on top of your hygiene.
If you detest cleaning and can afford alternatives, consider hiring a cleaner. Can’t afford one? Don’t like someone in your house? Make a rota, so you know what to do on which days and get stuck in.
If you’ve a choice over apartment size, choose somewhere small. It’ll be easier for you to stay on top of.
And don’t forget to clean yourself.
It can be easy to let personal hygiene standards slip a little without someone there to nag you. Remember to turn up to work clean and smelling nice and not to give anyone cause for concern.
How to Live Alone and Celebrate Your Independence
You're worrying about living alone.
Will you be lonely? How will you stay safe? What’s the best way to make the most of your situation?
Living alone can be daunting and challenging, but it also has lots of advantages if you use your time well.
Whether it’s a permanent or temporary situation, living alone can be a great time to enjoy the benefits of quiet and solitude. Pick a few of the ideas from this post and start with those. You can come back to the others later. (Note: fire safety and security are a must for everyone.)
Living alone can be a great time of personal exploration and growth that can set you in good stead if you do decide you’d like companionship in the future.
Make sure you make the most of this time and don’t let it go to waste. Enjoy yourself and your freedom.
What activity will you be doing tonight?