While the idea of living alone for the first time might sound liberating and even exciting to some, it can be a difficult step for others. Those embarking on the solo life adventure can face multiple challenges, from feeling lonely due to fewer social interactions to being overwhelmed with the different chores that come with living alone.
To help tackle some difficulties that solo renters might face, we talked to a few lifestyle coaches and asked for their advice on how to make the most of living alone. Here’s what they said:
Be Your Own Best Company
- Treva Brandon Scharf, ICF-certified Life & Dating Coach
“I have two pieces of advice for anyone who is single or living alone for the first time:
Get comfortable with silence. Learn to enjoy quietness and do not let it freak you out. Being alone with your thoughts can be scary, the key is to feel secure in your solitude. You can fill your surroundings with music or background noise, but true peace is the ability to embrace stillness.
Be your own best company, but if you need company or support, make sure you have friends on hand to help. Dinner parties, watch parties, TV sporting events and game nights take the edge off of being alone, and fill your home with laughter and good energy.”
Find New and Exciting Hobbies
- Nicole Graham, Lifestyle/Relationship Coach, Womenio
“Experiment with new stuff. Investigating new interests is a critical component of self-discovery. Experimenting in front of an audience is not always simple. You may have anxiety about attempting new activities in front of family members, roommates or love partners. What if you are completely devoid of creative ability? Or if you discover that you dislike guitar playing after investing time and money in courses and practice? While these are legitimate concerns, it’s also worth noting that a life without some trial and error might be rather restricted. Repeating activities with the same individuals is not always detrimental.
However, breaking outside of established habits may broaden your view, aid in your growth, and introduce you to new individuals. Before you commit a large amount of money, online video tutorials or how-to blogs may help you discover whether you’re really interested in anything.”
Keep Your Friends Close
- Alison, Life Coach & Founder of The Little Blog of Positivity
“It’s important to make sure that you nurture friendships. Seek out others who appreciate the benefits of solo living (there are so many!) Having connections with others who understand both the benefits and the anxieties of living alone can help you to feel part of a community.
Be sure to spend time with your friends. Schedule meet up dates in your diary, so you always have something fun to look forward to. Keep a list handy of those you can call if you are feeling lonely. Knowing there is someone on the end of the telephone you have plenty in common with can be a huge reassurance.”
Stick to a Regular Daily Schedule
- Dr. Brian Wind, Chief Clinical Officer at JourneyPure
“My tip is to follow a regular daily schedule. Don’t pack your schedule too full but a schedule can give you a sense of purpose and reduce any feelings of loneliness. You don’t always have to follow your schedule and some spontaneity is good but having things to do can help you feel more motivated.
Give yourself time for chores, errands and hobbies. A clean and organized environment can reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.”
Find a Healthy Balance Between Work and Rest
- Ray Sadoun – Therapist at OK Rehab
“Living alone for the first time can be isolating if you do not plan ahead. It’s important to stick to a routine so that you can feel safe, secure and mentally well. Waking up at a similar time each day helps you to build a healthy sleep drive as you will feel tired at the same time each night. This is particularly useful as the evening can be the loneliest time of day for people who live alone.
You could also plan regular meetups with friends and family, such as going out for lunch every Monday or watching a film together every Friday. This will give you something to look forward to throughout the week and ensures you do not lose your social life.
Finally, try to strike a healthy balance between work and rest. If you work during the day and dedicate the evening to relaxing, there is less chance that you will burn out. On the other hand, working sporadically could make you feel as though you do not have enough time outside of work to do the things you enjoy.
Overall, to make the most of living at home, you should structure your days as best as you can, leaving some room for spontaneity. This will help you to remember your purpose, which reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.”
Put Your Thoughts and Plans on Paper
- Yocheved Golani – Editor & Writer at e-counseling
“You can feel secure, mentally healthy and happier than before when you think things through with a Living Alone Action Plan that addresses your needs. Use a paper and pen, markers or a pencil with an eraser.
People think more productively by writing with their hands instead of with keyboards. Title your document. List actionable items that you believe are necessary to make friends, to feel happier and to feel safer in your heart and home. Number your to-dos so that your document looks like an outline for a project, one for improving the quality of your life. You’ll be working on a rough draft so don’t criticize yourself for cross-outs, new ideas and changes. It might take from a day to a month to finalize your Action Plan. That’s normal. It takes time to figure out details. Doodles are fine. They can be meaningful, fun and boredom breakers.
You might end up wanting to change the title of your document. Change the title to Action Plan: Making the Most of Living Alone or to whatever suits you. Experiment with your document until it’s ready to use. Enjoy the results that increase and unfold over time.”
Interact with People
- Dr. Kate Steiner, Burnout Recovery Coach, Wellness Consultant & founder of LIFT
“As humans we need to be with other humans, when you live alone sometimes you can get to the end of the day or week and realize that you haven’t interacted with anyone face to face. This is especially true if you are a remote worker and your living space is also your work space. For your well-being make it a goal to interact with another person face-to-face at least once a day. Some ways of doing this include, taking a group fitness class, going for a walk in the park and making eye contact with others (bonus points if you say hello), using the lane with an actual person at the grocery store or meeting a friend for coffee or a drink. These human connections will bring you a sense of belonging and lift your spirits.”
Practice Gratitude and Visualization
- Mahir Nisar, Nisar Law Group, Glen Cove NY
“Renting and living alone for the first time is an important part of developing a constructive relationship with yourself. It is an opportune time to reflect and understand oneself. As soon as you wake up, a great habit to nurture is gratitude and visualization.
Eyes closed, sitting upright, start with deep breathing for 60 seconds to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Begin the exercise with practicing Gratitude. Recite out loud all that you have achieved and are grateful for. Hear your words. Transition after 2 minutes to visualization of where and how you want to see yourself and your future. Picture yourself daily in what you consider your best life. Practice first thing every morning.”
Incorporate Healthy Foods into Your Diet
- Dr. Bryan Bruno, Medical Director at Mid City TMS
“Individuals living alone for the first time are predisposed to depression and anxiety, but an easy step to combat this is to focus on healthy eating. While it’s easy to fall to the lure of delivery or fast food when you’re cooking for one, dietary patterns characterized by healthy foods such as whole-grain, fruit, vegetables, fish and low-fat dairy have been associated with a decreased risk of depression. Meanwhile, unhealthy food – like fried foods and those with high sugar content – have been linked to depression, inflammation in the brain and neurological damage.
A great way to stay focused on healthy eating is to build in menu planning at the beginning of each week and create your shopping list accordingly. This way you can plan out what you’ll be eating each day and how much time you have to make it.
For example, if you usually have a lot of free time during the first half of the week but busy Thursdays, you can plan a larger meal to make on Wednesday to have leftovers for the following days. You don’t have to completely cut yourself off from unhealthy foods but leaving them as a treat can improve your overall physical and mental health.”
Listen to Your Body
- Helena Plater-Zyberk, Co-Founder & CEO at Supportiv
“Your body has its own, individualized idea of how much interruption, noise and activity it can handle: often called your window of tolerance. Outside of that window, your body sends messages like anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, asking you to rest and avoid so much stimulation next time. We’ve all been there. However, when you live with others, you may not be able to listen to those signals or predict when they’ll arise – it’s hard to live in line with what your body wants.
So, apartment dwellers living alone have an opportunity: listen to your body’s signals, since you’re in a place you can actually hear them. Pay attention to your limits and practice staying within them – since you have the space and privacy to do so!”
Either by choice or chance, living alone can be quite the adventure and it’s important that you focus on making it a great one. If you’re on the lookout for a new apartment, check out RENTCafé and find the perfect one for you.