Living Alone For The First Time? No matter your age it can be a daunting experience, so how can you help yourself?
So let’s back this up a little, I have to admit I’ve never lived alone. I first lived with my parents, then I married and had 5 children, now I live with my middle child -well she’s 25 so not so much a child. I didn’t do what some of you may be doing now, or have done in the past, gone away to live at university or maybe even another country. Stepping outside your family home and becoming an adult who is suddenly responsible for all your own income, home and medical requirements? I do know about that, it’s called being a grown up, it’s damn hard and some of us never achieve it. It’s hard to grow up and take on these responsibilities by yourself. Or maybe you’re at the other end of life and you’ve become widowed or divorce for the first time and now you find yourself having to take on all those responsibilities that you were used to sharing?
Either way, it can feel daunting to live alone, it’s another small identity adjustment we need to make and that can be helped if we look at it in a more positive and actionable way. Because living alone for the first time is all at once exciting, overwhelming, and scary. Plus it’s totally normal to feel every single emotion at this time too. How will I cope? Is the number one question people ask. You will, you’ve got this! I have every faith in you. Lets’ look at some action steps you can take to help yourself.
What are some actionable steps you can take to help yourself?
- Understand you’re good enough all by yourself. Trust yourself, you can do this no matter what stage of your life you’re at -starting off, middle-aged or older. You got this! It’s all about trusting in yourself.
- Value others’ opinions, but value your own more. Yes, it’s okay to ask for help -especially if you need it please never be afraid to ask for help – but this is your life now and it’s up to you how you want to live it in the end.
- Learn to be an observer. Look around you see, what others are doing in their lives. Can you learn from their experiences -good and bad. Sit in a cafe and notice how others interact with one another, how strangers greet each other or interact in the supermarket queue. don’t be in a rush, become an observer of human behaviour, you’ll learn a lot!
- Close your eyes in a dark room and appreciate the silence. Okay if you’ve ever had kids this is self-explanatory, appreciating silence can be very mindful, restful and increases your other senses. If you’ve never had kids learn to appreciate this form of relaxation now.
- Learn how to talk to yourself. A little self-talk, if positive, is brilliant, we all need to do this more often. Learn to check in with your self-talk, who’s tape is running in your head if it’s telling you-you can’t-do this! Yes, you can! You’ve got this, you’re a brave and wonderful human being and you can live in your home, take care of yourself and your responsibilities.
- Cherish every interaction. Make time for friends and family. Enjoy your time together, make time for your own self-care and that includes interacting with and having get-togethers with friends and family. Family occasions are great but we need to meet up with family/friends more often. Don’t isolate yourself. You may have to make the first move in arranging coffee, lunch, drinks or dinner dates but do it. Living alone doesn’t mean isolating yourself. Make sure you’re not alone all the time.
- Rearrange your furniture. I know this is simple right? No sometimes we just can’t-do that, maybe you’ve lived with someone before this and can’t seem to find it in you to change anything in the home you share, but it’s your home too. So when you’re ready to make those changes do so.
- Choose the right spot for your new home. You’ll want to find a house or apartment that is the right size for one person and is in a convenient location for you. Sometimes we don’t have options around this, but if you do make sure it fits into your lifestyle.
- Be confident. Try not to get scared living on your own. If you need to work on your confidence, speak up and ask for help with this if you need it.
- Embrace your freedom. Get out more, be self-sufficient, make your own decisions, try something new. Do things alone. This sounds obvious, I know, but a lot of people are afraid to do things by themselves. Travel alone, this can be done in other groups too. Go to the movies by yourself. Dine out alone or just try coffee alone, bring a Kindle or book to read if you feel self-conscious.
- Don’t be or get cynical. People are friendly, the reason they may seem standoffish is that they’re afraid too.
- Foster other relationships and meet new people. Join groups or take night classes if you’re older. If at university, join clubs and societies. (Don’t forget if you’re older you can also go to university too, age isn’t a barrier anymore)
- Be honest with yourself, if this isn’t for you that’s okay. Maybe getting a tenant or a flatmate might be better than having no one in the house at night.
- Be nice to neighbours, invite them in and to any parties you’re having.
- Have emergency no’s at hand – on your phone or where you can easily see them
- Invite new people in, new neighbours, friends you meet.
- Budgeting: if you’ve never done this before learn now, it’s important!
Living alone doesn’t mean isolation.
So living alone doesn’t mean isolating yourself or feeling lonely, in fact, you can live in a house full of people and feel alone. Take actionable steps to get out meet people and make new friends, meet up with old ones, and do things by yourself and with others. Build your self-confidence up in this area in small steps first, the more you do this the better you get at it. Taking a big step can sometimes lead to failure for some and mean we retreat back into the comfort of isolating ourselves again. So baby steps are the way forward. We aren’t meant to be alone, we are very sociable beings, we need contact with others in order to survive and thrive in our lives.
If you need help with this or any other issue we can help. To make an appointment call 089 4373641 for an appointment today.
Building up your self-care is important when you’re living alone. See our blog posts on the basics of self-care and creativity in self-care. You might also want to follow our Daily Motivation on this blog or on Instagram