How To Be Better At Being Alone

Humans are naturally social creatures — we’re hardwired to seek comfort and companionship, so it makes sense that being on our own can be a struggle for many. However, as much as it sucks sometimes, it’s vital that we learn how to be at peace with and even learn to enjoy our own company since there’s no one else we’ll ever spend more time with than ourselves. If being alone fills you with boredom, anxiety, or even dread, here’s how to be better at rolling solo.

  1. Create a comforting daily routine. There’s something sort of peaceful and relaxing about establishing a daily routine that you know you can rely on. Maybe yours includes setting your alarm early so that you can do some journal prompts and drink a cup of coffee before getting up for work. Or, perhaps you always turn your phone off by 8 p.m. and take a hot bath before reading a book in bed to unwind. Whatever tasks or habits make you feel balanced and relaxed are good bets here.
  2. Rediscover old hobbies or try some new ones. This is one of the simplest and the most fun ways to get better at being alone. Sometimes one of the reasons it’s so hard to be on our own is that there are too many hours and nothing to fill them with. It doesn’t have to be that way. If there’s a pastime you used to enjoy that you’ve since given up, why not go back to it? Or, why not try something new that has always interested you?
  3. Take yourself on a solo vacation. You don’t need a relationship or even your girls to plan an amazing trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. If you’re a woman of means — or at least enough to afford an economy-class flight to LA or Tulum or wherever — what’s stopping you? It’s incredibly empowering to travel alone, and you’ll no doubt be glad you did it.
  4. Focus on fitness. I know it sounds kind of ridiculous to suggest that exercise can help you get better at being alone, but it can — at least indirectly. Because physical fitness releases feel-good endorphins that boost your mental health, it puts you in a better place to deal with tough times and to just generally be in a good place in life. Plus, it keeps you from scrolling endlessly through your phone for hours and thinking about how lonely you are.
  5. Get in the kitchen. Step away from Uber Eats for a few nights and commit to home cooking. Spending time preparing food that’s nourishing and delicious will not only give you a sense of pride, but it also just makes you feel better. What we put in our bodies matters, and eating well — unprocessed, whole foods that don’t come from a can, jar, or packet — can go a long way in making us feel good physically and mentally. Plus, when you do hang out with a friend or a romantic partner, you can impress them with your bomb culinary skills.
  6. Create a space you love coming home to. This is another easy way to get better at being alone — in fact, you’ll even learn to love it! Decorate your living space in a way that feels cozy, reflects your personal style, and serves as a sanctuary that you enjoy spending time in. That includes cleaning up after yourself — a tidy space leads to a tidy mind, or whatever the saying is.
  7. Develop a meditation practice. This is good advice in general, not just for coping with loneliness. Meditation gives us the time and space to tap into our thoughts and feelings, reflect on them, and decide whether or not there’s anything we’d like to work on or change. This is a good way to look at why you struggle with being alone and what it is that experience brings up in you. Give it a try — it might make you feel silly at first, but you’ll be shocked at what a difference it makes.
  8. Volunteer. If you want to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a bit of perspective, volunteering is a great way to do it. There are so many people out there who are worse off than you and who would be grateful for any bit of help you could provide. This will make you feel incredible, too — find a cause and make a difference.
  9. Get a pet. There might be no other item on this list that is as effective at helping you be better at being alone than getting a pet. Cat, dog, parrot, hamster, you name it — find a furry friend to love on and take care of, and you basically have yourself a new best friend for at least the next decade. Just be prepared for how much you’re going to adore that little fuzzball because it can be overwhelming!
  10. Call your girlfriends and guy friends and plan something fun. Just because you live alone or you’re single with no dating prospects doesn’t mean you have to live in self-imposed purgatory. You have loads of friends who would probably be thrilled to get an invite to hang out. Either invite them over to your cute apartment/house or make plans to hit the bar or local coffee shop. It’ll be the boost your mood needs.
  11. Listen to some podcasts that promote personal growth. There are plenty of these out there, but try Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Good Life Project, and NPR’s Life Kit to get you started. Whatever resonates will make a positive difference in your life, and that’s what we’re going for here.
  12. Consider therapy. If you really are struggling with being alone and nothing you’re doing is alleviating the feelings you’re having, it might be time to call in the big dogs. There’s no shame whatsoever in working with a therapist on this. They have the tools and tips that will help you navigate this and many other issues, and they’ll be happy to do so.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill