Living alone is of one the greatest perks of adulthood. After going from your family home to a college dorm and having roommates, getting the opportunity to live alone can feel like a heaven-sent retreat. When you don't have to wait in line to use the bathroom, throw away anyone else's rotten produce, or pull anyone else's hair out of the drain, you feel like you're living in the lap of luxury. When you live alone, your home is yours alone. You get to decorate, you get to set the rules, you get to put your feet on whatever you like. You become the queen of a castle.
But living alone also has its downsides — particularly the fact that you are indeed ~alone~. It's easy to fall into unhealthy habits without anyone there to keep you on your toes. And if you don't make sure to build up your life outside of the house, living alone can become (gasp) lonely. That's why it's so important to establish boundaries with yourself and take precautions so that you can ensure your status as the queen of the castle and not the duchess of disaster. These are 11 habits that you should always maintain when living alone:
Locking Your Door
You should always be in the habit of locking the door as soon as you enter your apartment, whether you live alone or not. But it's particularly important when you're living alone — for your safety. And if you ever think you're in danger or someone is following you, don't let them see where you live. Instead, call someone you trust and walk to safety like a police department or public place where you can call for help.
Having A Check-Up Buddy
Make sure that you have someone in your life who you check in with regularly. Whether it's a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a neighbor, make sure they know you live alone and have an idea about your whereabouts.
Keeping Emergency Supplies
You never know when the power is going to go out, when a storm is going to roll in, or when a pipe is about to freeze or burst. These things happen all the time and when you're living alone, you should be prepared with backups like batteries, bottled water, non-perishables, first-aid supplies, and basic tools.
Giving Someone A Spare Key
Find someone you trust (it can even be your landlord or doorman) and make sure they have a copy of your keys. This might save you locksmith bill and, it's a good safety precaution in case anything happens to you and you are unable to unlock the door to let someone in. Just make sure you set rules with the person who holds your key: they're only allowed to use it for emergencies — it's not for pulling a Kramer.
Knowing Your Neighbors
Introduce yourself to some of your neighbors. You don't have to be best friends, but you should get to know some people in your building. It's nice to have someone to say hello to, and you never know when you'll need sugar or an emergency contact.
Keeping Your Home Clean
Just because there's no one there to tell you to clean up after yourself, doesn't mean you don't have to. Keeping your home clean is essential for your health. Just because no one's sharing a bed with you doesn't mean you don't have to wash the sheets. Keep your home neat, clean and orderly — it will help you stay organized outside of the home, too.
Making Plans Out Of The House
With no one to judge you for how much time you spend alone, it can be tempting to hole up and get too used to it. Making plans and keeping a social schedule will keep you mentally balanced. Conversation, laughter, and other intimate interactions can increase endorphins and keep you happy and healthy.
There's no need to get dolled-up for yourself, but forcing yourself to get dressed every day will keep you in a healthy mind-space. Make sure you change out of your bedclothes and head out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just to pick up food or take a walk.
Having TV Limits
We all have our binge-watch days, and no one's trying to take that away from you. But when you live alone and you don't have to fight anyone for the remote, it can be hard to cut yourself off. Give yourself a time limit for your daily TV-watching allowance. Make time for reading, writing, cleaning, and getting out of the house.
Don't leave a drain clogged for six months because you don't know how to fix it — call a plumber right away. Don't leave rooms dark because you can't reach the light to change the bulb — get a ladder or call a handyman. Make sure that you're not ignoring leaks and breaks. Have respect for your home and keep it up-to-date and functioning.
Eating Proper Meals
We all have nights where dinner consists of a can of tuna eaten on the couch with a cracker as a spoon. It's totally acceptable to be too tired to cook some nights, or too lazy to order in. But make sure the nights you spend home alone eating dinner, are at a table with a well-balanced meal. Treat yourself like the adult who you are ... at least most nights.