After years of living with roommates, you’ve finally made the decision to move out on your own and rent a cute little studio apartment in the city.. But despite all the benefits of your new solo living adventure (including being able to spread out alllll of your products in the bathroom vanity), you’re starting to find that living alone can be… well, pretty lonely. Luckily, there are tons of things you can do to make moving into a place on your own a little less lonesome. Here are 11 expert-approved ways to curb your loneliness and start living your best solo life ever.
1. Schedule all your appointments in a physical calendar. When you first move into your own apartment, it can be daunting filling up so much alone time. “Get out your calendar and schedule appointments for yourself,” suggests Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor Kayce Hodos. “Whether it’s hanging out with friends, exercising, or decorating your space, if it’s uplifting, make time for it, and enjoy yourself.” The actual act of physically writing down your plans (whether it’s by yourself or with friends and fam) will help you feel good about having a full social calendar — plus, who doesn’t like checking off to-do lists?
2. Treat yourself to some new houseplants. One of the major perks of moving out on your own is that you get to decorate your space exactly to your taste. To help make your surroundings feel more lively and lived-in, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics Caleb Backe advises us to invest in a few beautiful houseplants. “While plants don’t necessarily make the best house guests like a pet or other human beings would, they often help to literally fill up the empty spaces in your home and can take your mind off things when you’re bored or lonely (at least I find that they help me feel more centered),” says Backe.
3. Make a gratitude list. Whenever you’re feeling lonely, it helps to take mental stock of all the things about living alone that you actually enjoy. “One of the most important things you can do is to make a list every day of the things in your life that are actually good,” says veteran holistic physician and author of The Emotion Code Dr. Bradley Nelson. “It may seem like everything is bad in your life and you don’t have any good things going on, but if you think about it you may [actually find things you love about your current life].” Keep a gratitude journal and stick to it, making sure to especially note all the wonderful things you enjoy about living on your own.
4. Get yourself a gym pass and actually make an effort to go. “I’ve lived alone most of my life and wouldn’t change anything about this arrangement. However, I have several friends who are having trouble after their ‘man’ has passed away or has moved on,” says author and corporate trainer Dr. Marlene Caroselli. Her advice if you’re feeling a bit lonely living by yourself? “Get thee to a gym (or anyplace else where people gather) and make friendly overtures.” Even if you can’t make plans to hang out with your friends or family, chatting with strangers at the gym can be a great social boost to uplift your day.
5. Invest in natural light. Time to open those curtains, folks! “Natural light is a mood booster, so open your curtains in the daytime to feel connected with the world,” says health blogger Noman Sarwar. “By doing this, you’ll feel your day fill with energy that can hammer the feeling of being alone.”
6. Avoid spending hours on social media. “This may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are full of moments wherein other people are doing social things,” says certified relationship coach Chris Armstrong. “Spending too much time focusing on social media will have you comparing others’ lives and experiences to your own or resenting other people for doing things that you are not doing.” Instead, make tangible plans with your friends or start a hobby that you enjoy.
7. Make a regular date to Facetime or Skype your pals. We totally understand that everyone is super busy these days, but even spending 20 minutes a week video chatting with your bestie can seriously lift your mood. “It might be someone you talk to on a regular basis or someone that you haven’t talked to in a while,” says Board Certified Coach and Licensed Clinical Psychologist Marsha Ferrick. “Have a list a people you would like to keep in touch with and go through that list and periodically give them a call. Oftentimes it helps just to reach out to somebody else and see how they’re doing.”
8. Make yourself a to-do list. “One of the things I’ve done in the past few months to combat loneliness is to make two new lists: inexpensive or free activities that can be done out and about (either alone, with friends, or on a date) and enjoyable activities that I can do when I’m home alone… other than Netflix and wine,” says online dating columnist for She! Magazine Adivah Israel. “The second list has become quite extensive, but some of the activities it includes are: downloading second language apps and learning to speak a different language (Italian, if you’ve just watched or read Eat, Pray, Love); pulling out an old cookbook and making something intricate that you normally don’t have the time or patience for; planning a dinner or cocktail party; and getting out a pen and paper and writing someone you love or miss an old-fashioned letter and mailing it.”
9. Sign up for a class. Committing to a regular class is a great way to get out of your apartment and experience new things. “For example, I took weekly drawing and illustration classes at the 92Y,” says business coach and co-founder of Fireball Network Deena Baikowitz. “This helped me meet new people and improve my sketching skills (which helped me develop new materials for my business and for my clients), and gave me a chance to use my creative talents.” Even if you can’t make the commitment to sign up for a full course, Baikowitz reminds us that we can always drop in for a trial class. “If you’re not sure what you want to commit to, try an intro to improv comedy class, or a free or inexpensive first-time workout class.” The sky’s the limit!
10. Foster or adopt a pet. “One easy way to curb loneliness when you live alone is to get yourself a canine companion,” says senior editor of K9 of Mine Megan Marrs. “Dogs just don’t give you a furry cuddle buddy to talk to — they can also do wonders for your social life. Take your dog to the dog park or participate in a training class and you’ll be bound to make tons of new four-legged and human friends. There are even doggie playdate apps like BarkHappy designed to help you get together with fellow dog owners.” Just make sure you have the means and time to take care of this fuzzy creature before making the commitment.
11. Attend a networking event. If your solo living arrangements are starting to feel a bit lonely, Baikowitz suggests signing up for a networking event in your local area. “These can be based on your industry, community, culture, interests, and/or education — for example, check out the Ellevate Network, Toastmasters, your alumni association, NYWICI, [or] CREWNY.” Not only is this a great way to add something to your social calendar, but who knows… it could lead to your next grand career opportunity too!