If you are new to living alone and the solo living lifestyle then moving into a new home alone can be daunting just as much as it can be exciting. Once you have those keys in your hand and you walk through the door, mixed emotions can strike when feelings of exhilaration and self-questioning can leave you asking yourself, ‘what on earth am I doing?‘. It’s a stark realisation when you are confronted with knowing you are responsible for everything that happens in your home. Lyndsay shares five helpful survival tips to get you through the first six months of living alone.
Now, Lyndsay’s experience didn’t start off with feelings of overwhelming joy when she first moved into her new home. Her experience speaks of the everyday reality and responsibility running a home alone can bring.
1. Take a deep breath. It’s is going to be ok.
I had a panic attack the first night I spent in my house alone. It was about three in the morning, and I just remember lying there looking at the wall opposite my bed, thinking what the hell have I done?! All my money, and I mean all of it, had just been sunk into this pile of bricks. I felt like a huge weight was sitting on my chest, I could feel my heart hammering at the inside of my ribs, the despair I had been carrying around with me at having to live by myself, squeezing me tightly like a vice. I started living alone after a relationship breakup, and so I wasn’t filled with the excitement and joy some of you may have experienced.
There are dull tasks too, and it’s ok if you are not thrilled about being the only one to take the bins out or having no one to help defend your home from eight-legged creepy crawlies. There is no ‘how-to’ manual for this, and we all adapt differently. So, remember, if you falter, take a moment. You will be ok.
2. Have a morning routine (even if it’s a small one)
It can take a while to get into a rhythm when you live alone. I found that if I got up and just made my bed every morning, I felt more positive about what I wanted to achieve with my day.
You don’t need to be super tidy or clean all the time, but it is helpful to have just a few things that you do to improve your mood and get you started for the day. It could be making coffee or starting the day with exercise. You only need a couple of things to give your morning a bit of structure. Something those of us new to solo living can lack if we don’t have another human to organise ourselves around.
3. Make time for self-care (this includes making sure your medicine cupboard is stocked).
Being ill sucks, being sick by yourself sucks even more.
I think I had been living on my own for about six months when I had the worst eye infection I have ever had in my life. Having no one in the house to even just make me a drink was quite depressing. It’s a hard reality to deal with, that when you live solo, you cannot rely on anyone other than yourself. So, it is essential you are as strong and healthy as you can be. My medicine cupboard resembles a small pharmacy, as you do not want to be caught out by not having something you need, when you need it.
I live with what I call low-mid level anxiety (it doesn’t impact me every day, but it can catch me out of nowhere). I have worked really hard on making time to care for my body as well as my soul. Turn the TV off, spend a little bit of time enjoying the quiet. When you live alone, looking after your health (both physical and mental) becomes even more important than when you live with others.
4. Eat well
This kind of ties in with point three. When you are new to living alone, it’s easy to be lazy with food. I love cooking, but with no one to cook for, I found it all too easy to stumble into bad food habits. I was not eating enough vegetables and I was surviving on one too many ready meals. Also, I found out that it’s very easy to eat an entire sharing packet of crisps because there is no one around to judge you.
Overhauling my diet made me feel better on the inside as well as on the outside. Go figure.
I now make sure I eat plenty of veg and don’t buy bad things for me. If it’s not in the house, I can’t eat it (side note, I live in the countryside. So, I can’t just conveniently go and buy bad food on a whim. I would have to consciously buy it when I shop). Ziplock freezer bags have also changed my life. You can keep reusing them (less waste), and you can portion everything you buy into individual bags so that you don’t need to batch cook if you don’t want to. Nor do you have to fight with frozen chicken breasts, It also means you have more space in the freezer.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of kitchen disco
Honestly, nothing and I mean nothing, can improve your mood quite as quickly as cranking up the tunes and having a solo rave in your kitchen.
Whether it’s kick-starting your day with your personal anthem over breakfast, singing along to your favourite song while you do the dishes or just dancing around the house for no real reason. Music has the power to re right us when we feel off-kilter, to cheer us up after a long day. When you live solo, you don’t have someone to come home to, to pour you a G&T and help you offload your day.
So, do what I do, and dance like no one is watching.