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Eleven ways to stay sane when living on your own

We asked our friends how they stay mentally healthy living alone and compiled a list of the top 11 responses.

Whether you’ve been used to if for some years or whether it’s new as a result of the pandemic, living alone is something a lot of people have to deal with. Just how is one supposed to stay sane?

We asked some of our friends how they stay mentally healthy living alone and compiled a list of the top 11 responses.

1. Get some exercise and sun

Exercising releases all sorts of endorphins and dopamine and other brain chemicals that are associated with feeling happy and confident. It’s a good way to boost your mood when you have no one else around doing it for you.

Sunlight increases serotonin levels which also boosts your mood and makes you feel calm. Sometimes a good old tanning session is all you need to feel re-energised.

2. Do activities where you can see progress over time

A big downer when living on your own is that every day starts feeling the same and days start blurring into one.

A great way to overcome this feeling is to start activities where you can see progress over time. Whether it’s learning a new skill or measuring your exercise progress, the key is to take note so you can compare the results of the current month with that of the previous month(s).

Seeing progress allows you to realise that even though most days are the same, they do add up to something bigger. This will give you a sense of purpose. It’s also nice to see visible change as proof that you were productive.

3. Reach out to friends regularly

There’s nothing better than a quick old chat with someone to remember that even if you’re living alone, you’re not alone in the world.

Make a point of having scheduled video call dates so that you have something to look forward to. 

When you feel lonely, you will remember that you have a scheduled date sometime during the week and this will fill you with the excitement needed to make you feel better.

4. Keep a diary

Get those spiralling thoughts out of your head and on to paper. We are extremely bad at dealing with thoughts when they’re racing through our heads. Rather get them out and clear your mind. 

Seeing something written down changes your perspective on it. This helps tremendously with letting go of things and moving on.

5. Join a club

Whether it’s a book club or drama club, it’s always good to have something to look forward to. If you can learn something or acquire a new skill, all the better. These are things you can share with people which will result in you feeling less alone.

6. Take a class

There are so many great online platforms where you can learn almost anything under the sun. Getting interested in a new topic is a sure way to spark excitement and motivate you all over again.

You are never too old to learn something and the more you learn, the more you want to learn. Keeping busy is key.

7. Volunteer and help others

It feels good to do good and helping others gives meaning to our lives. Whether you lend a hand at a community clean up or just offer to take care of your siblings or friends children, help out where you can. 

Any activity other than your normal routine is bound to spark something somewhere and lift your spirits.

8. Be friendly with your neighbours

You don’t have to be their best friend, but a smile and a simple hello, how are you? will remind you that there are people around you and you’re not as isolated as you tend to think sometimes.

9. Make plans

Excite yourself by planning something. It can be a future trip, or ideas to renovate your bedroom when you have money again someday. Maybe even plan a little vegetable garden.

Planning something for the future gives you hope and excitement.

It is always good to have something to look forward to.

10. Get a pet

Having a pet is a great way to remove yourself from the centre of your own world. 

Taking care of something and having new responsibilities will give you a sense of purpose and force you to think about something other than yourself.

The mere presence of an animal is bound to make you less lonely. 

11. Appreciate your alone time

Lastly, consider making the most of your alone time. Take some time to appreciate the freedom that comes with it.

To be able to choose what you want to do when you want, or if you would like to be surrounded by people or be on your own is a luxury many people would kill for. 

Learn to love it and remember, you are never really alone.

Ingrid Louise

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