Living alone is heaven for some and hell for others. I love living alone, but at first, I was overrun by a mixture of fear and excitement.
If you’re living alone for the first time, it could be a startling experience more than it’s an empowering one. That’s normal. Things that might seem trivial to some could be more challenging for you. There will be a lot of firsts. For instance, the first time I had to kill a spider on my own, I was terrified. When someone tried to break into my car in my driveway, I had to call the police and file a report, lean on my neighbors for support, then find enough security to go back to sleep.
It’s helpful to remember that a major misconception about living alone is that you are 100% all alone. That couldn’t be further from the truth in a time when a connection is just a text message away. However, it can feel lonely, and it can be overwhelming. It helps to be prepared and adjust your perspective as needed.
I have lived alone for years and have acquired plenty of advice along the way. These living alone tips will guide you through some common emotions and challenges many of us face during this life transition. Hopefully, there is some actionable advice that will help you morph into a thriving, independent person that enjoys the benefits of living on your own.
1. Change the locks and give yourself a sense of security.
Fear is a common emotion when people live alone. However, there are things you can do to give yourself an added layer of security. If possible, change the locks when you first move into your new place. This step will help you feel secure knowing that no strangers have access to your home. If you’re renting, ask your landlord if they change the locks in between rentals. If they don’t, make a request and offer to pay for it.
If you are especially susceptible to fear, make sure you find a place to live that caters to a sense of security. Research neighborhoods with low crime rates. Also, seek out apartment complexes that are gated and have security systems in place. The added cost might be worth it for you.
2. Decorate the apartment to your taste.
One benefit of living alone is that you can decorate however you want without having to compromise. If you are living alone for the first time after a tough breakup or divorce, finding your design style can be invigorating. Don’t think about what is trendy or what your friends tell you looks good. Channel your inner Joanna Gaines and pick out furniture and decor pieces that make you feel happy and comfortable.
3. Live within your means.
Living alone is a challenge because you’re the only one that is contributing to the household income. You must pay all the bills and make sure all the chores are done. This basic task can become monumentally more stressful if you don’t live within your means. What this means is that you must make more than you’re spending. This fact seems obvious, but it’s far from it.
It’s so easy to spend mindlessly and not even realize you are overdoing it. Try to maintain a monthly budget with real figures and keep an eye on your spending. Make sacrifices like a smaller apartment if you can’t afford your current living situation. A smaller space will be far less stressful than an empty bank account. There are tons of free budgeting apps to get you started.
Ways you can spend less living alone:
- Plan your grocery list in advance and use coupons.
- Put your utilities on a budget plant.
- Maximize space in a studio apartment instead of a one-bedroom.
- Buy second-hand furniture and clothing.
4. Cultivate independence by becoming self-reliant.
If you have lived with family or roommates your whole life, living alone can feel empty and hard. There is no one to vent to when you had a rough day at work. There’s no one to mow the lawn. Sure, you could dump your frustrations in a text message or hire a lawn service, but it’s helpful to try to work through these issues on your own to a certain extent.
When you’re able to self soothe and manage minor problems and tasks on your own, you will not only feel stronger, but you’ll get to know yourself better in the process too. This self-reliance can lead to a lot of growth and maybe make you a more compassionate person in the long run.
Ways to cultivate self-reliance:
- Learn how to fix a leaky sink on your own.
- Cook meals for one person and enjoy them.
- Take a hot bath when you’re feeling stressed out.
- Keep your apartment clean and your laundry folded.
- Adopt a pet and take good care of it.
5. Adopt a compassionate attitude toward yourself.
Sometimes being self-reliant is a struggle, but it’s a big mistake to beat yourself up about it. If you paid a bill late and overdrew your checking account, those negative feelings will only be made worse if you compile that with additional negative self-talk. When you’re living alone, you need to be your own best friend. Treat yourself how you would treat a friend with a kind and compassionate tone that is open to making mistakes.
6. Try not to isolate yourself from others.
Many people like living alone because it is quiet and drama-free. However, if you’ve had a tough go in relationships, you might also fall into the tendency of isolating yourself. Make a concerted effort to socialize weekly if possible. As much as you need to be self-reliant, you also need to be able to depend on people and have a social circle that cares for you and loves you. Living alone will be filled with a lot less heartache if you continue to connect with people outside of the home.
7. Get to know your neighbors.
Neighbors can either make or break a living experience, especially if you’re living in a city or an apartment complex. Be kind when you first move in and make an effort to get to know your neighbors. They might not become your best friends, but they may be someone you can call for a stick of butter or when the pipes are leaky, and you need some immediate assistance.
8. Appreciate the perks of living alone.
Think about some positive things you’ll gain from living alone. If everything seems grim now, try to find at least one silver lining. This perk could be as simple as being able to watch a guilty pleasure TV show that your family or spouse previously hated. You might have a newfound appreciation for your privacy and the ability to treat yourself however you want without any outside judgment. You can even skip the dishes for a night or two. Create a home you absolutely love when you live alone, and eventually, the time might come when you want to share it with someone. And if not, that’s okay too.
I hope these tips helped you gain some insight into your upcoming transition. Living alone is not necessarily easy, but it’s also not the worst thing, either. Treat yourself and your home with love and acceptance, and you’ll do just fine.