Living alone is often a double-edged sword. On the one hand, people love solitude, space, and independence. While on the other hand, it is not always so bright. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and apathy can often creep in. Healthy routines are the foundation of any sustainable healthy lifestyle, yet they matter so much more when one is living alone.
Living by yourself often means having only yourself to motivate and keep you accountable. It is extremely important to set up your routines so that success is bound to follow. Building sustainably healthy routines limits and helps mitigate the downsides of living alone. It can allow one to embrace all aspects of this partnership with oneself.
As someone who has lived alone for much of her adult life, I have developed sustainably healthy routines which have set me free. Currently, as both an elementary school teacher and Editor-in-Chief of https://simplendelight.com, the routines I’ve formed are backed by scientific research and hours of expert advice from countless motivational speakers, books, and mentors. I have shaped my routines so that I feel pride and connection with my personal development.
Here I share with you evidence-based advice on how to build sustainably healthy routines while living alone.
10 Ways to Build Sustainable Healthy Routines While Living Alone
1 Set a schedule for yourself
Living alone means that there is no one but yourself to answer to. While this may be a luxury in itself, it opens the door to less accountability. Setting a schedule for yourself and sticking to it means goals are accomplished and on time. Tony Robbins says, “progress is happiness”. While thousands of people can attest to this being true, for progress to happen, one must be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule. Make sure to set realistic and attainable goals with time for rest within that schedule.
2 Make exercise a priority
It doesn’t matter what you do, pick something, and do it! Be it yoga, strength training, running, kayaking, or soccer. Find something that you like, or can tolerate, and put it in your schedule 3-5 times per week. Many studies have shown that exercise can increase mental and physical wellbeing. The healthier you are mentally and physically, the more you can tolerate and the harder you will push yourself.
I have included exercise in my life in various capacities throughout the years. I can attest to saying that only once it became a DAILY routine, did I see the most improvements towards all aspects of my life. Try it yourself! You’ve got nothing to lose.
3 Be kind to yourself
You will have moments that you need to be kind to yourself and you need to veer slightly off schedule. That’s okay! These quiet and secluded moments are temporary. Observe the feelings no matter how deep they are. They say that the only way to experience negativity is through it. Stay patient, and look forward to what is to come.
4 Push yourself
It seems hypocritical to put this point in right after the previous advice but the reality is, we need to push ourselves. Extending our capabilities doesn’t have to be difficult. Look at goals on a continuum. Motivational speaker Rob Dial asks “can you be just 1% better than you were yesterday?” Can you engage with someone that may seem out of your reach? Can you push yourself to do one more thing rather than quit?
The more we do things that extend beyond our comfort zone, the more progress we make. The goal is only to improve yourself in small increments each day. Is this possible for you?
5 Connect with nature
They say that hugging a tree releases oxytocin in the brain, the chemical responsible for a feeling of wellbeing and emotional bonding. Nature can bring about feelings of gratitude and relaxation. No matter how small a patch of greenery, try and find the time each day to breathe in the air under a tree, and walk through nature. We are the only animals on the planet that are not at ease in their environment. Somehow, nature brings us closer to a state of ease and oneness with the world.
6 Make plans
Make plans to do things! Things that are fun for you, and get you out of the apartment/house. As solo living can often put us in a state of introspection, it is important to connect with the outside world. Join a group, volunteer, make dinner or coffee plans with friends. Make it a habit to force yourself to connect with others. Even the biggest introvert amongst us needs to connect at times. We are social animals and it is important for our mental wellbeing as humans.
7 Limit social media
As solo dwellers, it can be tempting to get lost in the TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook reel. It can also create feelings of increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem. Avoid FOMO! Realize that you are good enough without these platforms. Use them to your advantage: to build a business, make plans with others, buy and sell….etc. Use your time wisely. Remember that progress is happiness!
8 Help others
When we’re engaged in helping others, the focus is not on ourselves. Humans naturally feel better when they help others. The Dalai Lama repetitively says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.” Helping others brings out feelings of empathy and compassion. It is associated with heightened states of altruism, cooperation, and trust.
9 Find a cause
What are you passionate about? What bothers you in society? What do you feel are positive changes that you can make for the future? No matter how small the cause, it is important to find something that you have a connection with. Finding a cause can help us to feel a greater sense of purpose and motivation in our lives. For solo dwellers, this can be the difference between feeling unmotivated and disconnected, to feeling united and purposeful.
10 Get out of your comfort zone
Getting out of your comfort zone is a push towards growth. Lewis Howes from The School of Greatness advises people to get out of their comfort zone by doing a 30-day challenge. He advises people to choose something that scares them and do it for 30 days. We all want the highest quality of life available to us. Since living alone has the potential to isolate and create feelings of loneliness, it is important to do all you can to be your best self. Sustainably healthy routines mean that you are continuously growing.
Where to start?
Living alone is often a choice, and despite that choice, it may still present emotional challenges. Starting small is always a good idea. Choose only ONE thing that you can change for the better, and practice that for two months. Studies have shown that it takes an average of 66 days to establish a habit. Add on only one change and you will no longer have to think about your new habit. Think of life as a continuum, what you do today are the seeds you plant for tomorrow. Whether you end up living your whole life solo or later decide to cohabit, choosing sustainably healthy routines is always a good choice to make.