Whether by choice or by circumstance, living alone has a lot of advantages. But perhaps one of the most subtle yet saddest disadvantages is sometimes feeling lonely. And though occasional feelings of loneliness are natural, why feel lonely when you don't have to? There are things you can do to create a home that repels loneliness when you live solo.
Don't physically shut your home off from the world
This is the most important one in my opinion. I think you need to throw your curtains open every day. Let the light in. Open the door and say hello to your neighbors. Make your outdoor area (even if it's just a tiny balcony) not some dirt-building storage space, but a place you can sit in and observe the world. When you live alone, it can be easy to shut yourself into your own world. Which is fun sometimes, but can magnify any insecurities and regrets, making them seem bigger than they are. Opening yourself and your home up to the world helps keep things in perspective and reminds us all that even if we feel alone sometimes, we're not.
Make daily rituals that underscore the joys of living alone
Love to dance in your skivvies to Beyonce every morning? Embarrassing if you've got roommates, totally cool if the only person to see your moves is yourself. Think about what it is that you LOVE about living alone and try to find ways to indulge in it every day. If it's walking around with a face mask that makes you look like a horror movie character, go for it! If it's eating right out of the ice cream container, go for it (though for your diet's sake, perhaps in moderation).
Pets are important
For those of you who consider pets people (like myself), having pets means you definitely don't live alone, because they are great companions to talk to. But for those whom a cat or dog is out of the question, don't forget about smaller more manageable pets like fish (in small bowls) or even just installing bird feeders near a window. It's that interaction with a live thing other than yourself that can definitely stave off loneliness.
Entertain more often (or at all)
The best way to not feel lonely when you live alone? Fill up your home with people you like and find interesting on occasion. Remember that you don't have to have some formal dinner party — just inviting a few friends over to play board games is a great way to bring laughter and conversation into your home.
Try new things
It's hard to feel lonely when you're trying to master a new skill, practice a hobby or try out a new recipe. When it comes to keeping loneliness at bay, one of the best ways to do it is to occupy your time with things that feel enriching, creative and exciting.
Know your loneliness triggers and how to fight them
One of the best things about living with someone in my opinion (either a roommate or a partner) is having someone to greet you when you get home and someone to talk about your day with. A little hard when you come home to empty rooms. So combat that by scheduling a call with a good friend. Or sending a text to your mom when you get home, asking her how her day went. It might be the lack of connection that bums you out about living alone sometimes, or it could be something else. Try to identify what it about living alone that sometimes makes you sad. To do so, try to think back about times you did feel lonely. Was it when you found yourself bored? Always have a hobby and some supplies around you can work on. Consider what it is that bugs you most about living alone and have ways to combat it.
How do you combat loneliness when you live alone?
Re-edited from a post originally published 3.29.15-NT