Let's face it: living alone can be scary. When you live alone, there's no one to greet you when you come in the door. There's no one to eat takeout with at 2 a.m. There's no one there to binge Netflix documentaries with you.
Whether you're fresh out of college or moving out of a living space you once shared with a significant other (ahem, me), you're probably scared to start your solo habitation. Coming from a self-proclaimed introvert who loves spending time alone, I first found the prospect of coming home to no one a little bit... miserable?
But over the past week, I have discovered some things I can incorporate into my everyday life that can make living alone seem less lonely and more exciting.
1. Get some plant babies or adopt a fur baby
What better way to survive living alone than to get a little companion? Taking care of another living thing is a great way to get your butt out of bed in the morning and not drift in and out of sleepiness until noon.
Not everyone is so lucky to be allowed a pet, but filling your space with plants can do wonders for your mental health and can give you something other than yourself to devote some moments of your day to. Plus, they add vibrancy and color to your space.
2. Crank up the tunes
First, get yourself a good speaker with Bluetooth capabilities or an aux cord. Heck, get a dang speaker that can go in your shower. Then, get a Spotify subscription.
Once you do those two things you need to commit to having at least one dance party with yourself every single day. In your underwear, screaming along the lyrics with every word (whether they are correct or not). But make sure to close your curtains... or don't, whatever you're into.
3. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
Hearing a voice besides your own when you get home after a long day is a great way to feel less alone. Podcasts and audiobooks also allow for some time to unwind. I like to listen to podcasts while I cook or clean, both of which can be pretty boring when done alone.
4. Schedule conversations with friends and family
Make sure to have daily or weekly chats (texting doesn't count) with family members and friends. It gives you something to look forward to while also forcing you to interact in a level above abbreviations and emojis. FaceTime is also a good option!
5. Don't hesitate to talk to yourself
Whenever you can't find someone to talk to, talk to yourself. Seriously, do it. You wouldn't believe how many issues can be solved by bringing them out of your mind and talking through them even if it's with yourself.
Just remember, be nice to yourself. Treat yourself as a friend and be gentle about what you say.
6. Sign up for recreational classes
Take a yoga class, join a book club or even a knitting group. Attending scheduled gatherings with strangers can open you to more opportunities for friendship and can give you a social booster shot. It also gives you something to look forward to each week that doesn't involve ordering pizza in your pajamas.
7. Go for a daily walk
Getting outside is so important as it is but especially if you live alone. Vitamin D is essential for a good mood and a healthy body. Fresh air is good for your mind and your lungs. And your cramped studio apartment is doing nothing for your calf muscles.
8. Don't go straight home after work or school
This can go along with number six, but even if you don't have a class or gathering to go to you should not go straight home after work or school every single day.
Since you don't have a friend or partner to come home to, it can be sort of depressing to spend the entire evening and night alone. Use your evenings to go grocery shopping or do laundry just so you're not going stir-crazy by 7 p.m.
9. Write things down on a physical calendar
Scheduling gym sessions and friend hangouts can be a good way to feel like you're being social. Get yourself a dry-erase calendar to put on your refrigerator so you can watch the little squares fill up. A full calendar can make your days can seem a little less lonely.
10. Let as much natural light in as you can
Ensuring enough natural light and sunshine into your space can lead you to be more productive and have a better overall mood. And no one wants to come home to a dimly-lit space. Throw open your windows and make sure furniture isn't obstructing any paths of light.
11. Limit your social media intake
This might be the most important thing on this list. When living alone, it's important to participate in as many stimulating activities as possible, but social media should not be one of them.
It's easy to feel lonely while scrolling through endless pictures of other people's romantic dates or club outings because you start to compare your seemingly-lonely life to theirs.
Focus on what you're doing and participate in things you truly enjoy. Read a book, practice an instrument or write in a journal; these are all ways you can spend your alone time productively and can lead you to make more connections with others down the line.