How to Survive: Living Alone

Here are some lifestyle tips for those, both in and out of university, who are trying to find their footing without family or familiar surroundings. I have lived by myself, with my brother, since June of 2015 and i have learned a lot. Some of those lessons others can alter and apply to hopefully make their life easier – or as easy as new, independent life can be.

  • Take your Vitamins: I know this might sound simple, and the majority of you might believe this isn’t applicable; but it is. Vitamin deficiencies are very common and you might not even know you suffer from one –> go get checked out and I swear your day-to-day life will feel so much lighter and less stressful with all the extra stress and responsibility.
  • Change your sheets: Not only is this something to check off your to-do list, but its a quick fix for relaxation and can be that minuscule difference between a mediocre day and a horrible day. There is nothing worse – in my opinion – than having sand and ‘bits’ in your bed. I hate it. It’s horrible. DUST OFF YOUR FEET BEFORE YOU GET IN MY BED IS IT THAT HARD ?! Sorry, side-tracked.It’s always nice knowing that you have accomplished a good day and getting into a clean bed and feeling your body completely relax.
  • Clean space = Clean life: Maybe this is just me, but the cleaner and more organized my living space is, the less stressful my daily life is and the more orderly i can go about my day. I’m not thinking about how much i miss my family or the 10 page paper i have due next week; i know its all going to get done and that i am going to make it through my day, but living in an organized space makes my brain feel more organized and prevents stress. Its also motivating when you can make an official statement about having your shit together in every aspect of your life.
  • Find the app that works for your family: If your family is anything like mine, we all have the privilege of owning smartphones, which means we have 24/7 communication even when we are 7000 miles away from each other. Whatsapp seems to be the app that works for us and allows for group or individual conversation while has a simple layout. You can send voice notes back and forth at any length, as well as photos, videos and text. While its second to being face-to-face, it can really be a helpful tool while in the haze of your own cloud of stress. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Let yourself breakdown: You are allowed to have bad days. Off days. Days where you hate everyone and just want to cry. We’ve all been there. We’ve all just needed our mom. There are days where this is not always possible and i have wanted nothing more than to hug my mom when i have those days. But knowing that what you’re feeling is perfectly valid and normal is somewhat of a comfort because while you might be physically alone, emotionally everyone has experienced what you’re going through.
  • Treat everything as an investment: I mean this in booth a physical and metaphorical sense. Can you imagine yourself changing and growing with these people in your life? Will this pair of shoes be worn as much as possible and last a long time? Everything from cleaning supplies to the relationships you have need to be a lifetime investment. When you don’t have someone else paying for your everyday necessities – or advising your decisions – it can be easy to not justify doing what’s going to be best in the long-term but, when you think of everything as an investment you start to not only treat your belongings and yourself better, but you grow to live a more efficient life in every sense of the word.
  • Find an Outlet: There’s no-longer someone to act as a buffer nor someone to do nothing with. When you have an outlet you spend your time doing something you enjoy and this can really act as an escape from stress, anxiousness or that pile of dirty dishes in the corner. A few of the outlets i recommend include writing, playing music, ice-hockey and other sports, working out or (my personal favourite) tattoos.
  • Your cozy spot: This might be a chair with a throw, a room, your bed or wherever you’re sitting right now. Either way, make sure this is your space. Decorate and design it however you want. No one else is allowed to disrupt or impose on that space. Make sure it isn’t cluttered with other mundane activities; Use this space to zone out and collect your thoughts. Read a good book there, or write your best-selling novel or to just think.
  • Make your house a home: Buy things and display things that not only remind you of that past, present or future place which made you feel safe, comfortable and at home. I found this out after a few months. For me it was a picture frame, but it could be something as big as painting a room a specific colour or displaying that stuffed bear you’ve had since you were a kid. This is going to be the space where you spend the majority of your time, you need to make sure it makes you feel comfortable and completely at ease.
  • Sunday Mornings in Bed: I like to spend one morning every week, either a weekend or a weekday i have off, staying in bed and doing work. Invest in a lap-desk, get your laptop and your hot cup of coffee, and you can be productive while staying in bed all day. Not only is this satisfying, and more comfortable than putting jeans on and working in a Starbucks, but you also end up feeling more motivated and/or inspired. Your brain is still refreshed from the great sleep and because you have made an executive decision to be somewhat physically ‘lazy’ you are now motivated actually be productive and get the work you’ve been planning to do for weeks, done.
  • Money Management: Let me preface this by saying that this is only what works for me, and i truly have no idea how to manage money or the best way to invest BUT here’s my tip; Every month, put $100 in savings OR 10% of your monthly income. Over time this will accumulate and as discussed above, enables the lifestyle of investments. It’s hard when you don’t have family either telling you what you can and can’t buy OR simply not giving you the money for certain purchases but this is a great way to prevent insecurity and increase financial security. Another tip is putting a charge on your card or every time you use your saving account; 50 cents goes into your account every time you use your debit card (instead of cash) and you get charged $5 when you spend money from your savings. It’s been god for me that way my savings is never completely empty and i lose money if i spend the money i have saved.
  • Support System: Make sure you have friends and/or family who understand or in the least support you and your new living situation. If i have learned anything, its that living alone can be incredibly lonely and having that support system behind you can make a huge difference in a positive way.
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