Living alone can feel daunting if you’re used to living with someone, either a partner, housemate or family members. If you find yourself needing to move out of your home and set up on your own, it could be the result of a relationship breaking down or even the result of the death of a loved one.
Adapting under these circumstances will undoubtedly take time and you’re likely to go through a whole range of difficult emotions, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although living alone might not be your choice, or indeed your preference, it is possible to adapt and even to thrive.
Having been thrust into a situation which took me from having a full house to living alone, I know exactly how it feels and sometimes it can be difficult to come to terms with a quiet house, especially when you’re used to it being filled with life.
Getting home from work and having no one to talk about your day to, gossiping and sharing laughs, missing the emotional connection and the stimulation that comes from human interaction is natural and adapting can be tough, especially when you’re still experiencing grief and may not yet have arrived at the acceptance stage just yet.
Loneliness is nothing to be ashamed of
Admitting to feeling lonely can be difficult for some people to admit to. Recognising and accepting that you might feel lonely will help you to cope in a healthier way, so the first step is in stopping to think about the tangle of emotions that you’re likely to be feeling. From sadness to anger, relief to loneliness taking a mindful approach and really thinking about how it is you’re feeling, and importantly, giving yourself permission to feel that way is important.
Feeling lonely is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or aren’t coping, it simply means you’re human and missing close interaction.
If you consider how you’re feeling a realise you do feel lonely, there are lots of things you can do to help combat that feeling. From finding local community groups to join through to reaching out to friends and family, be proactive in dealing with your loneliness and don’t just let it eat away at you.
A few possible ways to tackle loneliness
- Learn something new, a new skill, language or craft
- Take up a new hobby
- Join a group, for example, a local walking or running group
- Make future plans, start by writing down your bucket list and decide what you’re going to tick off this year
- Spend more time with friends or family
- Get a pet to keep you company
- Do some self-help learning around the subject of loneliness
- Get creative and make your living space truly reflect you
Embrace freedom and focus on the positives
Quite aside from being lonely, some introverts and even ambiverts might actually enjoy the freedom. You might find that you actually love having time to yourself, not to mention the freedom to walk around in your pants, cultivate a pile of dirty clothes on the bathroom floor whilst nurturing questionable personal hygiene habits. With no one else to consider you might be loving living life on your terms.
Even if you struggle at first and don’t like the idea of living alone, you’re bound to find elements of it agreeable. A mindfulness exercise you can do involves thinking, or better yet, writing down all of the positives you can think of about living on your own. No matter how small or silly they might seem, thinking of all the positives is a good way of supporting your wellbeing as it can help bring a bit of perspective to the situation.
Find yourself and do things for you
Now is a great time to take time out for you. Although it might sound a bit airy-fairy, taking time to get to know yourself can do wonders for your wellbeing. If you’ve left a busy family home behind and perhaps have fewer childcare obligations, you’ll have time on your hands, perhaps for the first time in many years.
Although we all love having time to ourselves, too much of it can feel daunting, especially when we’re used to filling that time with caring for a kids, partners and looking after a home. Rekindle things you used to enjoy doing that you’ve perhaps not had time to do more recently. Think about things you’ve always fancied learning or doing, from crochet to cake decorating, learning to play an instrument to live streaming gaming sessions on Twitch, now is the time to do all of those things you let fall by the wayside, or have always wanted to try.
We humans have an amazing capacity to learn and adapt so remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and find happiness.