We all feel stuck in a rut sometimes. It just takes a moment, a sideways glance at our life, to notice the same old day after day dull routine. Perhaps we suddenly can’t remember the last time we went out to socialise in the evening. Or we realise that our social life follows a pattern of the same things on certain nights of the week without variation or addition. We can all get used to, and be bored by, having a social life organised around the invitations of family and friends. Or, feel that a friend or partner leads the way in decisions about what constitutes a good day or night out. In such circumstances, who could be blamed for wanting a bit more independence, or a change, at least once on a while. Any of us could find ourselves in any of the above circumstances, whether individually, and regardless of whether we are in a relationship, or as a couple.

However, people who live alone often withdraw from social activity that they would have to embark on alone, for all manner of reasons. These are usually to do with perceptions about being seen to be, and judged for, being alone in a society where couples are the norm. But this can be equally true for example in the case of the “single spouse”, whose partner works away from home all week; the retiree left at home alone during the day for the first time; or the single parent whose children have recently flown the nest. All can create a rut because of their reluctance to socialise without a partner or regular companion by their side.

To help and inspire individuals or couples to dig a way out of a rut, I’ve given suggestions in 3 categories below. Feel free to choose any or all and mix and match across categories, as appropriate.

Change a routine
• The regular route and/or transport choice for a specific journey. Perhaps include walking for part of the route.
• Any regular mealtime choice such as when, where and what to eat, and maybe who, if anyone, to eat it with.

Do something new
• Pursue a new hobby or under-used gift, skill, passion. To sing, dance, paint, craft, design, play bridge for example? Internet research will help to find any appropriate groups, clubs or courses.
• Support a local charity or cause by doing something to raise money in an individual or organised event.

Do something challenging
• Visit a local gallery, exhibition space or concert to challenge views, values or taste. The shock of the new can be refreshing as well as startling. Invite someone else along (not necessarily a partner) – but make sure to choose the venue or event.
• Want to see a film, play, group, comedy act but not sure if it would be to others’ taste? Don’t miss out – get a ticket and go anyway, and alone.

Look forward to change and have fun!!