How to actually enjoy being single

Not having a partner shouldn't stop you from enjoying everything life has to offer.
Single woman dancing in pyjamas

If it seems like everyone around you is breaking up, that’s because statistically speaking they probably are.

British data journalists David McCandless and Lee Byron analysed 10,000 Facebook statuses for the phrases ‘break up’ and ‘broken up’ and charted the most popular times for couples to break up.

They found that the period leading into Christmas is when most couples decide to call it quits (ouch!). The second most common time to break up was the four weeks from mid-February to mid-March, AKA right now.

Whether it’s because summer flings are coming to an end or the pressure of Valentine’s Day making people reassess the viability of their relationship, we are in peak break-up season.

Getting over a broken heart takes patience and lots of soul-searching. But before you drown your sorrows in wine, wail about how you’ll be alone forever and set a TradeMe search for abandoned cats, stop and really assess – is being single really such a bad thing?

The benefits of being single are greater than the obvious payoffs like getting to take up as much space in bed as you like and doing pretty much whatever you want whenever you want. For people who have been in long-term relationships, being by yourself is an opportunity to figure out who you are as a singular entity and learn to live a full and rewarding life without a partner.

Your relationship status is just one factor that contributes to your happiness. Instead of stressing about it, work on developing all aspects of yourself.

Focusing on self-fulfillment will do more than just building the type of robust independent life that would make Sasha Fierce era Beyoncé burst with pride. It means that you’ll enter future relationships sure of who you are and with clear expectations of what you actually want from a partner.

Just like a committed relationship, being happy on your own takes time, work and comes with no guarantees that it will last forever. However there are some simple things that you can do to make embracing the single life easier.

Fill your house with plants

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In 2017 the Washington Post published an article declaring “Millennials are filling their homes and the void in their hearts with houseplants”. And honestly, why not. Plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide so they are an inexpensive way to beautify a dreary home and also to clear out bad break-up vibes at the same time.

As long as you choose wisely and know how to properly care for indoor plants, they can be great mood boosters, reducing stress and promoting productivity. Additionally, having a plant that requires watering and attention can give those who suffer from loneliness something to care for and the rewards of seeing something thrive.

Podcasts and audiobooks bring the house alive with chatter

No matter how busy and fulfilling the life you have built for yourself is, coming home to an empty house can feel hollow. One of the inescapable realities of single-dom is that it will always be your turn to cook, do the dishes, clean the house and put the rubbish out. Quite frankly, when facing the housework alone, the work can seem insurmountable. Enter podcasts and audiobooks.

Having something to listen to while you potter in the kitchen or tidy up can be a great way to fill the house with background noise and keep your mind busy. Being engrossed in a podcast or the chapter of an audiobook makes a mundane task like doing the dishes pass with relative ease.

There’s a podcast for every interest imaginable and plenty that recap and discuss television shows, which mean you don’t miss out debriefing about your favourite show if you live alone.

Make your meals work for you

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Even those of us that love to cook will admit that when you live alone, cooking can be the bane of your existence. Cooking for one is just as messy and time consuming as cooking for two and makes just as many dishes. Pair this with the conundrum with what you’re meant to do with all the ingredients left over (because supermarkets don’t sell individual celery sticks) and the whole experience is enough to tempt you to eat cereal for every meal.

Nextovers are the answer. Nextovers are like leftovers or meal-prepping but instead of cooking a big batch of one meal to eat throughout the week (boring!) you utilise the ingredients for one meal to create different meals for tomorrow.

This might mean roasting a chicken and tray of vegetables to eat with a raw slaw for dinner at the start of the week. Then taking the meat sliced with slaw to work as a salad, or shredding the meat to stuff into tacos, quesadillas or bao buns.

Knowing exactly what you’re having for dinner during the day makes you less likely to abandon plans to cook dinner in favour of takeaways. Likewise, cooking meals that you know you’ll want to eat for lunch the next day make you much more likely to actually take your own food in.

Go it alone

Not having an on-call partner in crime shouldn’t stop you from enjoying simple things like going to the movies. Going it alone can seem intimidating, but the thought is always more daunting than actual experience. Buy your ticket online, and never look back.

Living alone means you often have free time to browse online sales until your heart’s content. But if you don’t exercise a little restraint your bank balance will be anything but content. You’re less likely to make impulse purchases in real life so instead use your extra time to physically go out to the shops.

Set limits for yourself

One of the great things about being single is you are in control of all the decisions in your life. This is also one of the trickiest things about being single. While it’s great having the freedom to eat ice cream, in your undies, on the couch, it can be very easy to slip into bad habits without realising. Setting goals and having a routine you stick to can make it easier to make good decisions.

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