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Tips for living well alone

Page history last edited by Ann Vipond 5 years, 3 months ago

Tips for Living Well - Alone


Living alone doesn’t necessarily mean you are lonely. Over a third of adults in the UK now live on their own. Some people prefer to live alone, enjoying the freedom and space it gives; others find themselves living alone following bereavement or it may be a result of social or economic circumstances. Nearly everyone at some point in their life will have feelings of loneliness, from isolated brief moments to long periods of time. When making positive steps to Live Alone Well, it’s important to think about yourself and work out what you would like more of – whether its time with family or friends, hobbies and interests, or involvement in your community.


Below are some useful tips on how to Live Well when you are on your own: 


Human beings come alive through relationships and we all need meaningful human contact (the amounts vary according to our personality). Social media can be a great way of keeping contact with people and feeling a sense of belonging and Skype can even bring us the face to face contact. But there is no substitute for the physical presence of and contact with another human being. Living alone often means that YOU are the one who has to take action to ensure social contact happens. Often if you are lonely you think people don’t want to visit. This is understandable, but often people will respond to an invitation and will come and spend quality time with you. 



A move to a new area, a change in personal circumstances, a loss of a relationship can all throw us into a situation where we need to look afresh for social contact. People often advise joining an evening class, a sport, hobby or interest group and this can of course lead to making new friends. But if your confidence has taken a knock or you are naturally shy and find it difficult to initiate a conversation with strangers, making new friends can pose quite a challenge. Some organisations offer groups to help with building social confidence, assertiveness, coping with anxiety and depression so it is worth considering these as a means of getting some support. An alternative to joining groups can be to become a volunteer. Volunteering in your community or area is a great way to meet people, feel positive about your time and it takes the attention away from you feeling on your own. 


The web is a great source of information on what is available. Libraries, Citizens Advice Bureau, Royal Voluntary Services, SENSE, Independent Age, Community Notice Boards, local newspapers are other useful places to explore. Local CVS (Community and Voluntary Services) Bureaux will have information on local charities and community groups providing direct help and volunteering opportunities. 



For some being alone can be painful, especially when aloneness has been brought about through the loss of a loved one through death, divorce, separation. Taking steps to work through the hurt and pain is important before venturing into another intimate relationship. Healing takes time and the support of friends, family, faith groups may provide this alongside your own time of coming to terms with what has happened. Sometimes we need additional help, be it from a voluntary organisation like (see below) or a counsellor (speak to your GP about this). Don't be afraid to seek help when you need it. 



It can be hard to make an effort to eat decent meals when there is no one else eating with you. Ready meals are OK occasionally but why not use your culinary skills and invite a friend to share a meal? If cost is an issue, agree to share the cost of the ingredients or that one of you provides dessert. Even better, arrange to cook alternate weeks so you get a meal made for you. Cooking a large batch of spag bol, curry or casserole and freezing separate portions can save time and energy, providing you with a quick tasty meal after a tiring day. 


Sometimes the best way to find a good friend is to be a good friend. Friendships can arise in the most surprising circumstances and with people who at first we think we have nothing in common. Keep an open mind. Take a genuine interest in other people. Listen attentively, remember things from your previous conversation and enquire about these the next time. Friendships don't happen overnight. Be patient, don't expect too much too soon and don’t give up trying even if you do suffer the occasional snub or cold shoulder. There are plenty of people out there looking for the same thing as you; reliable friendship. 



Holiday times (especially Christmas) can be very difficult if you are alone. It can seem like the whole world has someone to be with. Plan ahead. Is there someone you know who might love an invite to meet for coffee, go for a walk, enjoy a day out, or see a sporting fixture? Don't assume that because those you know have partners and or children that they won't want your company. Accompanying the whole family or taking a niece or nephew or a friend's child out for the day can be a great excuse for enjoying the local park, museums, galleries or simply a bit of shopping. There are holidays for singles of all ages to nearly all destinations; it can be an opportunity for meeting others in similar circumstances. 



It is easy to succumb to the pressures and expectations of others, (whether intended or perceived) to start dating, find a partner, settle down etc. Many single people live happy fulfilling lives and have no need or desire to be otherwise. Everyone is different so we need to be honest with ourselves about what it is we believe is right for us. Those with a faith may seek spiritual direction as to what path is right for them to follow and for some this may involve an element of personal sacrifice. We are unique individuals, each with gifts, talents and personality traits. Trying to be someone we are not will never lead to the sense of belonging and true acceptance we desire. If we accept ourselves as we are, others are much more likely to do the same. 




The Archway Foundation         http://archway.moonfruit.com 


Do it – Volunteering Made Easy    https://do-it.org 


Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness      https://www.jrf.org.uk


Information about Loneliness   http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/about-loneliness/ 


Mental Health Foundation – The Lonely Society



The Silver Line   http://www.thesilverline.org.uk 


Independent Age    http://www.independentage.org 


When They Get Older Loneliness Guides



Ian Kimber



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