How to Feel Less Isolated If You Live On Your Own After College

If you don’t have a roommate borrowing your stuff without asking, or your parent barging in without knocking – then you’re finally living alone! However, the one downside to an otherwise fantastic living situation is dealing with the loneliness. It’s a difficult adjustment to go from having a friend down the hall, or sharing a dorm room with someone, to living in a private space.

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city and miss the days of having a night in with the roommate(s), or knowing you’re having dinner with family when you get home, and it’s taking an emotional toll.

Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to feel lonely! You can feel enriched with your space and living routine without a roommate. Keep reading to find out the small and easy ways to elevate your new, private lifestyle.

Make your living space as comfortable as possible.

It’s your home, so it should feel homey, which means you should carefully curate your space with decor. You can make your apartment physically comfortable with blankets and plenty of pillows, in combination with having plenty of natural light flowing in, as it prevents the feeling of being closed off. “I bring in lots of pillows, blankets, lights and photos to make the place feel cozy and welcoming!” explains Audrey Lent, a senior at California Polytechnic State University.

You can improve your home by decorating with pictures of loved ones. Print out family pictures from graduation and your favorite Instagram pics with your BFFs! It’s a good reminder that you’re not alone, even if they’re not physically with you.

Have a routine that works for you.

No matter how small, a daily ritual can help you embrace and enjoy being alone. It’s especially beneficial when it’s an activity that you can only do while living by yourself, like playing your favorite song when you wake up on your speakers, having an exercise routine in your living room, or simply enjoying a quiet moment. It’s also been suggested that daily rituals can benefit your mental health, specifically a regular sleep schedule, staying active and practicing mindfulness.

“I've been lucky enough to live in a place that lets me have a cat. Just having another living creature to take care of reminds me to take care of myself and it adds a routine to my day,” says Jane Eckles, a senior at Carthage College. “If you can't get a cat or a dog, I recommend getting a fish or a plant, really anything that's alive will remind you that you're not really alone.”

Related: 5 Things You'll Struggle With Your First Year Post-Grad

Find small opportunities to get out of the house.

When you live alone you should try to make time to get out of the house when you can. Whether it’s treating yourself with shopping or just running errands, it’s important to get out so you don’t feel cooped up alone. This gives you the opportunity to talk to other people, get fresh air and have a little fun!

“I try and find social areas to hang out in even if I’m not actual socializing,” says Xandie Kuenning, a senior at Northeastern. “This could be a cafe or a bookstore or a park. Just somewhere where I can feel like I’m out in the world and not just alone.”

Turn off social media.

If you find yourself feeling isolated at home you should turn off social media for a bit. Sometimes looking at Instagram or Snapchat will make that feeling of loneliness get worse because it feels everyone is hanging out without you.

But it’s important to close the apps (and maybe mute or unfollow the people who make you feel bad) and enjoy where you are and focus on other ways of spending free time. Learn to love being alone and enjoy that time to yourself.

Maximize time with friends and family.

Reach out to someone when you do feel isolated, too. You can try to make plans with friends, family or coworkers. Invite friends over to watch a movie or go out to dinner after work. If you’ve moved to a new city, you can research and join groups or classes in your community to meet people with similar interests, such as cooking classes, yoga, volunteer services or book clubs.

No matter where you are don’t hesitate to text or call a friend to talk about how you’re feeling so you don’t have to bottle it up. If you feel lonesome, you don’t have to try to avoid it. It’s also crucial to confront why you feel this way and talk to someone about it. Know that it’s okay to feel lonely and you should contact a professional if you need more serious help.

While being alone can be, well, lonely, it doesn’t have to be. Feeling less lonely doesn’t have to be avoiding loneliness. It can be, sure, but it’s also about embracing that time alone or confronting a more serious issue. No matter how you chose to go about it, living alone can be amazing!