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Living alone is great. You can walk around the house in your underwear, play whatever music you like, decorate your space however you want, and enjoy ‘me time’ all the time. We could go and on about the benefits of being alone, but let’s address an issue that many solo women try to ignore, and that is loneliness.

Feeling lonely is normal when you’re living alone, even if you’ve been independent for a long time now. And in a pandemic where social distancing is a must, it’s easier to fall into feelings of loneliness as opposed to the times when you could go out with friends whenever you wanted.

While times are still uncertain, find ways to decrease your feelings of loneliness while living alone. Here are some of the best things you can try.

1. Foster a dog

Having a furry companion significantly diminishes feelings of loneliness and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also gives you something to care for; a sense of purpose and responsibility that can help motivate you to get out of bed every morning. And for people living alone, this is an excellent way to fill the space with more love and energy.

If you’re not ready to make the commitment yet, you can foster a dog until they find their forever home. This period can also help you determine if you are truly ready for the time, energy, and money it takes to care for a pet. But if you believe that you are ready to make the commitment, consider adopting a dog from the local shelter (the pandemic may have caused families to give up their dogs for adoption, so you’re also doing the community a favor by decreasing the burden on shelters). However, if you’re adopting an untrained dog, expect that you have to take them to a dog training or boot camp for proper training.

2. Talk to people as much as you can

While it is still unsafe to go out and meet with loved ones physically, take advantage of modern technology to connect with them, whether it’s chatting with friends, video conferencing with co-workers, or calling your parents. In times that you have no one to talk to, try joining women’s forums or online groups that center on your interests.

3. Play music and podcasts

listening to music

One of the best ways to beat loneliness while living alone is to fill up your space with music. Aside from combating feelings of loneliness, listening to music can also reduce your stress levels, help you sleep better, and strengthen your memory, among a myriad of other health benefits.

Podcasts offer pretty much the same benefits, too, but might be more effective in combating loneliness since you’re hearing people talk. Moreover, podcasts can help you learn new things or simply entertain yourself while doing something else. There are countless topics and genres that podcasts cover, so you probably won’t have trouble finding a few that resonate with you.

4. Pay attention to your cycle

If your feelings of loneliness are often triggered by premenstrual syndrome (PMS), tracking your cycle can help you manage your emotional symptoms. There are many ways you can manage loneliness, depression, anxiety, and other emotional symptoms caused by PMS. Hormonal birth control is one, but consult with your physician first before trying it. If you don’t want to take BC, you can:

Be more active. Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you’re about to have your period, but it’s a great way to ease your physical symptoms as well as your emotional ones. Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, 4 to 5 times a week.

Eat healthy food. Minimize your intake of high-fat, high-calorie foods since these can make you feel even worse. Maintain a balanced diet throughout your PMS week and offset unhealthy snacks with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plenty of water.

Get enough sleep. Resist the urge to binge-watch your favorite show throughout the night. Lack of sleep can not only ruin your mood, but it can also make your body more prone to illness. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, try sleeping with a white noise machine or using a weighted blanket. Consult your doctor if natural methods don’t help; they can prescribe sleeping aids if necessary.

Living alone helps foster independence and confidence, and for many women, it’s an empowering lifestyle that helps them become better people. However, no amount of independence can eliminate loneliness completely. So if you’re feeling down, especially during this pandemic, try these strategies to help make your home feel fuller, even if it’s just you in it.

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