Household of one: Tips for living alone

No matter how large or small your apartment is, make your space as comfortable and as welcoming as you can. Your home should be your refuge, a place where you can relax and unwind, and enjoy returning to at the end of the day. Enjoy having that haven all to yourself without someone else putting their influence on your space, or making messes or changes that put you out of sorts.

1. Establish good habits from day one

Hang up your coat when you come home, even if it’s only on a hook you’ve affixed to your hall wall; take out the garbage and recycling every time you go out; put your clothes away and keep your things reasonably tidy; do your dishes and laundry on a regular basis; clean the apartment and change the bathroom towels once a week. A houseplant or two and some fresh flowers will give you a refreshing lift.

2. Don’t buy everything all at once

Home furnishings come in all price ranges. Set yourself up with the basics and then, depending on your circumstances, upgrade, enliven and accessorize over time, one room at a time. Buy the best bedding, sheets and towels you can afford.

3. Take good care of yourself

Plan and prepare healthy meals for yourself instead of eating a quick dinner in front of the TV. Imagine that you’re dining with someone – set the table attractively, use real dishes and cutlery, put on some good music or read a book or a magazine.

4. Make fitness a priority

Whether you like to get up early and do yoga, ride a bike, run or go to the gym after work, make exercise a part of your daily routine. Regular exercise relieves stress and depression, improves energy, concentration and sleep, prevents many diseases and enhances the general quality of your life.

5. Take advantage of all the benefits of living alone

Initially you may find living along to be fun and exciting. You can set the temperature to your preference, rather than someone else’s; arrange the furniture however you like, monopolize the bathroom without feeling guilty, listen to whatever music you like and indulge your preference for vegetarian food over meat. But there’s also the potential to become lonely and bored when living alone.

6. Be social

Enjoy your alone time but don’t create a fortress of solitude. Don’t sit around waiting for people to call you – instead, take the initiative. If you have a social network, make plans to do things with friends and family. Invite guests over for dinner, or, if you’ve just moved to a new neighbourhood or city, reach out by joining a club or a group through your community centre, library, school or religious institution.

7. Learn a new skill such as dancing or bridge

Take a class or join a book club or sports league. Whatever you do, don’t live online.

8. Get out everyday

Even if you don’t need any groceries, make sure you get out of the apartment at least once a day unless the weather is really horrible. Having a hobby is great, but if your hobby is something you engage in alone in your apartment, like writing or painting, it can be even more isolating. Get out of your apartment and go for a coffee or for a walk in a mall or a park or to the library. Just getting out and being with people will make you feel better.

9. Use your time in a meaningful way

Volunteer for an organization or cause you feel strongly about. You will meet people who share your interests and concerns and really make a difference in the world, even if in a small way. And, you are less likely to feel lonely and sorry for yourself when you are helping others. Enjoy the freedom you have to be alone in your apartment to the fullest. One day, you may find yourself sharing your space with someone else.


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