For those getting out of a long-term relationship, the thought of living alone can be daunting. Getting past the societal stereotypes and associated “shaming” messages can be a hidden obstacle. Examining these messages, tossing them out the window with all other negative influences is step one. Being alone is a valid lifestyle choice. Embracing your singleness and cultivating alone time can boost your creativity and happiness.
Believe that being single is better than okay.
Let go of any negative learned belief that single people are not as happy as those who are in a couple. Our culture is full of messages that couple hood is the ideal state for adults. This can leave those who are single feeling less than okay.
Popular movies and books from Harry Potter to Jack Reacher include romance and coupling up. Media fills our heads with the idea that every pot has a lid, and “There is someone out there for everyone.” These sayings underscore the feeling that coupling up is the end game for happiness. That is not true for everyone. We’ve all heard the adage “Being alone is better than being in a bad relationship.” That is interesting considering only 64% of married people consider themselves happily married. There is research to support that being single is better than being in even a neutral relationship. Participants both married and unmarried answered questions to measure their overall sense of positive and negative feelings about their life, as well as recent positive and negative feelings. Additionally, they were asked to measure the overall sense of meaning participants gave to their lives. One of the significant findings: “The people in committed romantic relationships did not experience more positive feelings—overall or during the previous day—than the single people did. They also did not experience fewer negative feelings or any more of a sense of meaning. They were only doing better in one way: they said they were more satisfied with their lives” It is possible that outcome was based more in the value our society places on coupling up.
…whatever you chose to do, no matter how long you choose to do it, make sure it is something that refreshes you.
Even if your long-term desire is to be in a relationship again, believe and accept that you can be single and happy! Embrace your singlehood and learn to enjoy being alone.
Being alone is the safe place to try new things.
Lifelong learning, learning new skills increases our happiness. Living alone give us time to cultivate hobbies and become proficient in new skills. As we learn, we live in the moment, often completely focused on the new skills. Living in the moment has been tied to greater happiness. Below is a list of new skills you may want to cultivate. Do searches on YouTube for instructional videos that can help you to learn these skills.
- Learn a musical instrument
- Learn a new dance
- Start yoga
- Try your hand at painting, pour painting, abstract painting, sketching
- Improve your baking and cooking skills
Prioritize your wants and desires – learn what makes you happy
This requires you to really think about what you like to do and how you like to spend the time you have alone. Writing it out, creating a plan to add more of the things you like to do will create more and more enjoyment in your life. Below are suggestions that can serve as a primer for your thought process.
What activities make you happy?
- Team sports in local leagues
- Attending sporting events
- Attending local or regional plays
- Weekly movies
- Solving puzzles
- Video Games
We spend upwards of 40 hours a week around our job and earning money. Update your resume. Look at your skill set and prioritize the skills you enjoy using. Plan to use more of the skills you enjoy as part of your job, even if that means looking for a new job, going back to school, or starting a business of your own.
Take this time to nurture, know and love yourself
In your alone time each day, spend time reflecting on the good things that happened in the last 24 hours.
- Create and keep a gratitude journal, this can train your mind to always be looking at the positive.
- Make time to pamper yourself in some way within every 24-hour period.
- That could be 5 minutes of laying down, relaxing, cucumbers on your eyes, clearing you mind and just being in the moment.
- Maybe it’s making time for a manicure, pedicure, or massage
- Take a walk in nature
Whatever you chose to do, no matter how long you choose to do it, make sure it is something that refreshes you. This is how you can actively love yourself each day.
Being alone is a gift. It’s a time to focus on you and live in the moment. It’s prioritizing yourself and creating balance between all that you give to others and making time to love yourself. You need to be nurtured too!