iving alone may sound scary, but really it is just a simple part of growing up. You may never want to or have to live alone– and that is totally normal as well, but for the people that do, here is a guide on how to get more comfortable living by yourself. 

Benefits of living alone

There can be many benefits of living alone at any age. For starters, everything is on your terms, which can be a great thing if you are a very particular person. What you buy, what you use, when you have visitors, and how often you clean are all left up to you to do on your own. You can also make your own decisions on what your decor will look like in your apartment or house, which can be fun when you are someone who is particular about interior design.

Living alone can also be beneficial in teaching you about yourself, and developing a stronger relationship with yourself. It will teach you about who you are as a person, and it can give you time to find yourself if you feel that you are too reliant on other people to be happy. 

Tips for living alone

Living alone for the first time should not be difficult or overwhelming if you are prepared. Here are a few tips to get you started and to help you feel more confident  living by yourself. 

Learn how to budget

One big thing that comes with growing up and living on your own is learning how to budget for yourself and save your money. You want to make sure that you have enough money saved up to pay your rent, as well as an emergency fund to pay any emergencies that could come up regarding your home, yourself, or anything else. 

Bright living room with plants
Keeping a structured schedule is important and you want to keep  a routine when you are the only person holding you accountable.

Keep structure in your schedule

Living alone may inspire you to be more relaxed with your schedule, which can be a great thing. But, you want to make sure that you don’t allow that to sacrifice your routine, especially if you are working from home or taking online classes. Encourage yourself to wake up around the same time throughout the week and to start a night routine. This can be an easy step to add to your day that will keep you motivated. 

Two friends unboxing packages together
Trying not to isolate yourself is an important part of living alone for mental health.

Don’t isolate yourself

This can be easy to do if you are living alone for the first time, especially if you are typically an introverted person. Remember to make time for friends and family, because it can be difficult to function when you isolate yourself. Also, try to make friends with your neighbors if you have them. This can be a great opportunity to meet new people, and it can be helpful to have people that are physically near you that you can turn to if you ever need them. 

Woman hugging her dog
Many people adopt pets for a variety of reasons, but they can be great when living alone for emotional support and safety.

Adopt a pet

Adopting a pet can be a great opportunity to take on a bit of responsibility when you begin living on your own. Additionally, pets can be a great companion to keep you company. This makes learning to live alone much easier and the process more smooth because you are never completely alone. Also, it allows you to focus on something other than yourself, because pets need to be taken care of at all times. Dogs and cats both can provide emotional support, and many dogs are able to provide a level of protection, or at least the feeling of safety. 

Two people staring at each other
Sharing a key with someone close to you can be helpful if you get locked out or for safety reasons.

Share a key with someone that you trust

If you are living alone, it is important to share a spare key with someone that you trust just in case you ever get locked out of your apartment. This is important for emergencies, whether you need someone to get in while you are there, or while you are out of town. Choosing a neighbor that you trust or someone in your family is a good choice so that the spare is relatively close to you at all times and that it is in a safe place. 

Mailboxes lined up in a row
Making friends is important, but developing relationships with your neighbors can also be necessary  in regards to safety.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors

Particularly if you are living in a college town, it is likely that your neighbors are your age. This can make it easier to make friends and find common interests. If you are not in college or living in a college town, it is still important to get to know your neighbors, regardless of their age. Not only will this help you to branch out and meet new people of all ages, but also it can be a safety aspect when living alone. It may be best that, until you know the person, you do not immediately tell your neighbors that you live by yourself. 

Woman doing her makeup in the mirror
Building healthy habits for yourself will help you to maintain better mental health while living alone.

Build healthy habits

When living alone, it may be a bit more difficult to build and keep healthy habits because you do not have anyone to hold you accountable other than yourself. So learn how to create healthy habits, whatever that means to you. This could include healthy eating habits, setting a workout routine, taking supplements, or developing better hygiene habits. These are just a few examples of what kind of practices you could build for yourself, but it is really up to what works best for your lifestyle. 

Woman sitting on the ground with her laptop
Taking the time to carefully select the furniture and decor in your home can help you to feel happier and more comfortable in your home.

Take time to curate your space

You have full control over the space you are in when you are living by yourself, so don’t be afraid to completely curate your home to reflect the person that you are and the place that you will be spending so much of your time. Pick the furniture and decor that you enjoy, select your favorite art to hang upon the walls, and find things that make you feel the happiest and most comfortable. Find your aesthetic and select pieces based off of that– this can make it easier to shop. It is also important that you consider shopping in sections, not all at once. Not only does this make it easier if you have to move into your home by yourself, but it also makes it better for your bank account to not purchase everything at once. 

Woman cooking
Finding new skills and hobbies can be easier when you live alone, especially if you are still learning.

Hone in on your skills

Living alone can be great for someone who wants to dedicate more alone time to their skills they would like to build upon. A great example of this is learning to cook. If you live alone, it is easier to cook the kind of foods that you enjoy, practice your skills, and give yourself time to hone in on your craft in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Of course, when you get comfortable enough, you can begin to share this skill with other people.

Girl in large gray shirt standing in front of a window near her plants
Being independent is more than just about being comfortable being alone.

Embrace being independent

Many people do not understand how to be independent, even if they consider themselves to be an independent person. Living alone can be a great opportunity to get to know yourself if you are open to it. No matter what, one vital part about growing up and becoming an adult is to understand the kind of person you are and to gain independence in whatever way you see fit. If living alone is that for you, then that’sgreat. But, remember that independence is more than just being comfortable being alone. 

Girl in blue sweater standing in front of book shelf
Living alone can be difficult, but it is a great way to learn more about yourself.

Living alone can be great to build trust and reliance within yourself, and teach you life lessons that you may not have ever known you needed until now. It can also set you up to live comfortably with another person, because you know what kind of person you are to live with and you can be informative about what you look for in a roommate.

Originally published 4/26/23.

Oct 19, 2023