More and more Brazilians are living alone, according to the 2014 SIS (Synthesis of Social Indicators) survey, released by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). There are many advantages to living alone – no one to fight with when choosing the television show or to judge you when you eat a sandwich wearing only your underwear in the middle of the night – but living alone, you can feel if very lonely when you get home and find no one. Keep reading this article to get the most out of living alone.
Part 1 of 2: Take care of yourself
Step 1. Get involved with the world
It's very easy to get isolated and fill your head with negative thoughts, so you need to make an effort, however small, not to isolate yourself from the rest of the world. Greet your neighbors and learn their names. Open the windows and let the sun in. Leave the house and go to the park or a new restaurant. Don't let your home become your world.
- Spend time with your friends. Create a book club or invite friends over for dinner regularly so you know you'll have weekly interactions with others.
- If you don't know anyone in your area, it's very important that you make an effort to meet new people. If you like weight training, for example, join a gym.
Step 2. Get to know yourself
Living alone gives you plenty of time to explore the things that motivate you. Meditate, keep a journal or try things that make you happy. Knowing your unique strengths and applying them to things bigger than yourself (using your skills for some kind of volunteer work, for example) will help you increase your happiness.
- Learn what arouses feelings of loneliness in you. Think of the times when loneliness has had a strong impact on your life and make a plan to combat it. Do you feel discouraged when you return home alone after class or work? Plan an activity, such as a zumba class, that gives you enough time to get home, change clothes, and go out again.
- Learn the perks of living alone – whether it's drinking juice straight from the bottle, cleaning the house in your underwear or going to the bathroom with the door open – and enjoy them.
Step 3. Adopt a pet
Bringing a furry animal home can help alleviate the feeling of loneliness you may experience when living alone. Animals fill our natural need for physical touch and companionship, which can help you better manage your stress.
- Studies show that people with pets are healthier and live longer. Having a pet can even lower your blood pressure.
- They give you a new routine: you have to feed them, take them for walks and take care of them. Also, pets can help you be distracted by thinking about their needs.
- An animal that needs exercise, such as a dog, can make you exercise too, improving your physical health in the process.
- Remember, though, that a pet is a long-term commitment, so make sure it fits your lifestyle. If you're not at home much, a dog may not be the best option. A cat, rabbit or reptile might be a better choice.
Step 4. Practice self-discipline
Of course, one of the best things about living alone is that you can wear whatever clothes you want all day long without having anyone to judge you. However, if you fall into a state of apathy and stop taking care of yourself – stop bathing, dressing, exercising or eating incorrectly – you can easily fall into depression. These things are your responsibility.
- Force yourself to get out of bed and put on an outfit every day, even if you don't plan to leave the house. Even minimal effort can make a difference in fighting depression.
- People who make their beds when they wake up tend to be more productive, self-disciplined, and feel better about themselves. This is a great way to start the day.
- Living alone also means you need to control your addictions. If you know you can't buy a bottle of wine without drinking it whole, you might want to exchange it for something that comes in a smaller bottle.
Step 5. Have a plan for when you get sick
Getting sick without a roommate, spouse, or family member around to help you get to the hospital or pharmacy can be a major disadvantage of living alone. Think ahead and keep your medicine chest up to date with a thermometer, fever or pain medicine, nasal decongestant, and cough syrup.
- Have a first-aid kit on hand with antibiotic ointment, gauze and band-aids, alcohol and pain relievers.
- This is all the more reason for you to get to know your neighbors – if you are very sick, you can ask them to fetch you some medicine or buy some chicken soup, for example.
Step 6. Learn to cook for one person.
There are many cookery books or websites that teach people how to make delicious and dynamic meals for one person. You don't have to eat the same thing five days in a row, and you don't have to eat out every night.
- Learn to use leftovers from your food creatively. Make the rest of the meat into delicious tacos along with a little lemon, parsley and tortillas, or use the leftover vegetables and vegetables in pasta and make a whole new dish.
- Plan your meals at the beginning of the week to make shopping easier. Knowing how you're going to use your food, as well as how much, will help you avoid spending.
Step 7. Know that this is not forever
Just because you're alone now, or have been for a while, doesn't mean you're going to remain alone forever. Learning how to be happy, fulfilled, and whole (all alone) can help you create and maintain successful relationships and friendships.
Part 2 of 2: Taking care of your home
Step 1. Schedule a time for cleaning
When you live alone, it's not hard to let things go, either because you don't think anyone will see your mess or because you don't have anyone to share the housework with. But having a dirty, messy house is an invitation to pests, which can lead to damage to the house and cost you money to fix it later. Plan small household chores throughout the week so they don't pile up or overwhelm your weekend. Cleaning and organizing the house a little a day also helps you get into the habit of keeping the house clean.
- Start with the bathroom. When mold, toilet stains and mildew build up, they get harder to remove each day (and they're disgusting). If you regularly use some shower spray and toilet cleaner, you'll avoid a lot of hard work trying to clean your bathroom afterwards.
- Hire a maid if you are overwhelmed with other tasks. Let a professional do the thorough cleaning of your home for you. Cleaning will be more a matter of keeping your environment clean than cleaning it completely.
- The mess also has a negative impact on your mental well-being. It is an instant source of stress and can exacerbate the effects of depression and sadness. It can even be linked to unhealthy weight gain. Keeping things clean and in order will help you be happy.
Step 2. Decorate your home however you like
Your environment has a direct impact on your well-being, so take the time to leave your home in a comfortable and pleasant way. Paint the walls, hang pictures, buy new furniture, etc. Anything that makes you feel good. Bonus: You won't have to accommodate and deal with a collection of someone's bizarre dolls.
If you've spent money on a heavy item or decided to move your wardrobe around, don't hurt yourself trying to move them yourself. Disassemble the furniture as much as possible (remove drawers, for example). Don't be afraid to ask for help if something is too heavy for you to move yourself, even if you have to hire someone
Step 3. Install a security system
To protect you (not only your physical well-being if someone breaks into your house, but also your mental well-being so you don't worry about thieves) and your valuable items, take security measures like door and window locks. Consider installing a security system (if you're renting, check with your real estate agency) if you're afraid of being mugged. Many wireless security systems can be made and installed by yourself.
- If you decide to adopt a dog, it can be very useful when it comes to protecting the house. You don't need a big dog for that – sometimes the smallest dogs are the ones that bark the loudest. Barking may be enough to prevent someone from entering your house.
- Knowing your neighbors can also help – if they see any suspicious people in your home, they can notify you or the police. You can also arrange to check that everything is okay with each other when things are too quiet.
Step 4. Make a plan for handling home repairs
In case you have a plumbing problem and are out all day, it can be very difficult to fix the problem. Try calling a professional during your lunch break so you don't have to be absent from work. If you trust your real estate agent, they can go to the site with a professional and solve the problem for you.