There are so many ways to volunteer your time in service of others. You can volunteer in person or help out remotely from home. Either way, helping others can make you feel good. Plus, it can help you feel connected to others while still getting in some quality alone time.
Research volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. It’s important to find something that feels right to you. Make sure their needs are a good fit with what you’re willing and able to do.
If the first thing you try doesn’t work out, it’s perfectly reasonable to move on and look for something else.
Perform a random act of kindness whenever the opportunity presents itself.
- Acknowledge things you’re grateful for
Research shows that gratefulness can boost feelings of happiness and hopefulness.
It’s easy to take things for granted as you go about your day. Devote some time to reflect on the things you’re grateful for.
Make a list — mental or physical — of the things in your life that you appreciate. The next time you’re alone and feeling down, whip out this list to remind yourself of everything you have going for you.
- Give yourself a break
Self-reflection is a good thing. Harsh self-judgement is not. It eats away at your self-confidence and happiness. When that negative inner critic comes to call, turn toward that more positive voice that resides in your head (you know it’s in there somewhere).
Don’t judge yourself more harshly than you’d judge anyone else. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t keep beating yourself up over them. Remember the many good qualities you possess.
- Serve yourself a top-notch meal
No dinner companion? Eating alone doesn’t have to mean eating prepackaged food in front of the TV. Prepare a fabulous meal for one.
Set the table, use a cloth napkin, light a candle, and do whatever you would do if you were throwing a dinner party. You’re worth it all by yourself.
- Find a creative outlet
What have you always dreamed of doing, but have put off? Don’t worry if you’re not good at it. The point is to try something new and different, to take a step outside your comfort zone.
Take on a home improvement project. Learn to play an instrument, paint a landscape, or write a short story. Do it on your own or enroll in a class. Give yourself ample time to see if it’s worth pursuing.
If you don’t like it, you can at least cross it off your list and move on to something else.
- Make plans for solo outings
Find interesting things to do and put them on your calendar. Give yourself something to look forward to. After all, anticipation is half the fun. Plus, seeing it on your calendar might also help you follow through.
Visit a nearby town and stay in a bed and breakfast. Attend a local festival or farmers market. Buy a ticket to a concert or that amazing art exhibit everyone’s talking about. Plan for something you’re really interested in and make it happen.
Long-term tips to keep the ball rolling
As you become more comfortable with the day-to-day aspects of being alone, you can start digging a bit deeper.
- Shake up your routine
Even a routine that works well can eventually morph into a rut, leaving you uninspired. Think about your day-to-day routine and immediate surroundings. What’s still working for you, and what’s become dull?
If you’re not sure, take a shot at it. Freshen things up. Rearrange your furniture or paint a wall. Start a garden, clean and declutter, or find a new coffee shop. See if there’s something you can change to pull yourself out of that rut.