Take a break from socialising
‘Spend time by yourself for at least a month,’ says psychologist Susan Quilliam, who teaches at London’s School of Life. ‘This allows you to come to terms with aloneness and to recognise the parts of your former socialising which are not what you would choose to do.’
Keep your diary full
When you’re ready to socialise again, always make sure you have forthcoming events to look forward to. Birthday celebrations with close friends or family members, drinks with work contacts, weekend visits to friends in the country, evening classes, lectures or public events. The aim is to be open to the world, and spend time with people you care about, in places you like.
Find out how to make new friends
Draw on memories
Look through photo albums of your earlier life, to when you were last living happily solo. ‘Remind yourself of who you were then and the activities you then loved - sailing, yoga, drawing, walking the hills,’ says Susan Quilliam. ‘Reclaim at least one of these activities in your new solo life.’
Rearrange your living space
Move the furniture so your home looks different to the way it did before you lived on your own. Replace a few old items - a lamp, a chair, a rug - with new ones, for a fresh look to reflect your fresh start. Also, invest in new crockery and glassware, bed linen and towels. When the everyday items you handle have a novel feel to them, it is easier to accept your changed status.
Find out how to breathe new life into tired decor
Relish the solitude
‘We tend to use technology to stay constantly connected to others,’ says Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise And Surprising Appeal Of Living Alone. ‘But if you come home and turn on the television, flip on your laptop, and start texting your friends, that’s not using your alone time productively. Take that time to meditate and think about what you really want in life. It can be formative in shaping your future.’ If the silence is too much, put on a little gentle classical music.
Settle into routines
Although solo living gives you the freedom to do as you wish and ‘make it up as you go along’, we feel more grounded with structure to our lives. So give yourself daily rituals incorporating the aspects of living alone which you most enjoy, whether it’s a morning walk around the neighbourhood, a dance around the kitchen to your favourite pop music while preparing the evening meal, or relaxing in the bath with candles and a glass of wine.
Have a clear out
You can’t overestimate the cathartic value of a major clear-out of surplus belongings –clothes and shoes, tired old knick-knacks, unwanted books and CDs, redundant kitchen gadgets. Bag it all up and give it to charity. Surround yourself only by that which is useful or gives pleasure. Getting rid of physical baggage helps subliminally to liberate you from emotional baggage.
Read our tips for decluttering
Break your bad habits
Recognise your vices and resolve to deal with them. There is no one around to tell you what to do or disapprove of your choices - be it eating a whole tub of ice cream at a sitting or watching endless episodes of Jeremy Kyle. You alone are in charge of your actions, so listen to your inner life coach and do what you know is right. It will boost your self-esteem.
Three writers explain why they think living alone is best in a brilliant, funny feature in the July issue of Saga Magazine.