Living alone, whether by choice or by unexpected circumstances, is both a blessing and a curse. There are so many advantages - mainly, the utter and complete freedom you have to do as you please. Do you want to spend the evening shamelessly dancing around your kitchen with the music turned up high (within reason of course)? Go for it! Is the afternoon sunshine streaming through the windows calling your name? Take a nap. No one is going to bug you. Feeling like enjoying your favorite guilty pleasure on Netflix? You do you.
The freedom can be grand.
But living alone also comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which is loneliness. The feeling of being lonely can throw even the most balanced of us into a tailspin of sadness and insecurity and cause us to feel isolated from the rest of the world, even when we aren't.
So how can we overcome loneliness and reclaim our spunky selves?
1. When your mind tells you "you're alone," recognize that it's only a feeling, not your reality. We all have infinitely more people on our side than we realize. Family and friends are never as far away as they seem and I can assure you, none of them are as busy as they let on. Invite someone who lives in your area over for some conversation or call your mom on the phone. It can be extremely uplifting to talk to someone who loves you.
2. When your mind tells you "you're not worth the attention," claim that thought and throw it into the trash. Living alone doesn't mean you aren't loved or liked. It's just a form of independence that requires a little more proactivity and forces you to step outside your comfort zone to find people to be with.
3. When all you want to do is stay home and watch Netflix, examine the inclination for what it is. Are you choosing to veg on the couch with the TV because you need a quiet night in to rejuvenate and relax? Or are you avoiding the effort it takes to be with people or attend an activity? If hunkering down in your apartment has become a habit, you may want to break it.
4. When you feel like your community is lacking, grow it. With 7 billion people on this planet, there is no lack of friends to be found. Ask a friend to recommend some new clubs, test a local community you think you might enjoy, try a new hobby! Whatever the activity, trying something new with brand new people can be a great way to expand your friend group. Keep an eye out for other individuals living alone who are in the same boat as you.
5. When you find yourself wallowing at home, force yourself to show up places instead. Never stop showing up where you're wanted and needed. Don't pull away from environments that bring you joy and connection. If you're having trouble getting out of the house, find an accountability partner who will encourage you to keep moving forward!
6. In the end, when it's just you, have fun with yourself! You're the coolest person on earth. You are fun, you are exciting, and you're making a mark on this world! Be wacky, dance in your skivvies, enjoy the freedom!
Who knows, you may never have the chance again!
Originally published for Care2.