Millions of people who live alone stop doing things that they had previously enjoyed because they would have to do them alone. In our couple-based society, doing something on our own is a challenge that many people just can’t face. Especially if they have suddenly found themselves living alone as a result of divorce or relationship break up, widowhood or children leaving the home of a single parent. Yet their mental health could benefit from the feel-good effects of simple activities undertaken alone, such as a walk in the park, a visit to the cinema or a trip to the seaside.
For both the long-term and the suddenly single, the fear of being visibly alone once they step outside the door is very real and debilitating. I talk about this fear and how to get rid of it in my book Solo Success! Overcoming the fear and challenges brings many rewards – improved confidence and self-reliance for example – that helps them to value themselves more and which, in turn, supports their everyday wellbeing.
Doing things on our own is both valid and valuable for every adult at any stage in our life, whether or not we are in a relationship. In fact, it’s good for us to cultivate some independence when we are one half of a couple. Many such people pursue a hobby or skill, which involves being a member of a group or club, without their partner. Doing something that we enjoy and that makes us feel good, whether as part of a group or alone, is vital to our everyday wellbeing. Mind, the mental health charity, also lists the ability to take time out just for ourselves as essential to our wellbeing: it helps us to become more resilient in our daily lives when coping with worry, pressure or stress. http://www.mind.org.uk