When you’ve lived with someone for a good chunk of your life, their death can be mentally jarring.
It’s more important than ever to take good care of your mental wellness, create strong social connections and learn to adjust to the inevitable (and uncomfortable) life changes of which there will be plenty of.
With the right plan and habits, you can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life living on your own.
Here are the best tips for living happily on your own.
Finalise any unresolved issues
The sooner you deal with any pending issues regarding benefits and pension the better. And not just for your finances but for your peace of mind.
Make sure you follow the right process to register their death and report it to the government using the Tell Us Once service.
Don’t forget to also inform the banks, utility companies and any other relevant institutions.
Only after you do that can you follow up on bereavement benefits, pension and things like insurance and property.
With these out of the way, you’ll be able to settle down and focus on maintaining the quality of your life.
Seek psychological support
Everyone processes their partner’s deaths differently. Some people are able to cope and move on after some time.
Others feel overwhelmed by the situation. It is not abnormal to start experiencing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you feel you can’t handle it on your own, I highly recommend you speak to a professional. They can help you go through this tough time without completely breaking down.
Look specifically for a grief councillor with experience helping bereaved individuals.
Have a support network
Even if you don’t need a psychologist’s help, it’s still important to have a support network consisting of friends and/or family.
They’ll not only help you cope with your grief, they can also help around with errands like cooking and organisation.
You can even have someone live with you for a while.
Whenever you start to feel lonely, seek out family members and talk to them. If that’s not possible, check whether there are local community centres you can go to meet other people.
Some towns also have support groups specifically for bereaved individuals.
One of the best ways to cope with your partner’s death is to stay busy. It will take your mind off the grief and help you adjust more quickly to living alone.
You don’t have to go away from home to stay busy. Start a DIY project at home. Maybe something to do with carpentry. You can also try writing, painting, drawing and reading. Even things such as regular vacuum cleaning can help!
When you get a chance, look for activities away from home such as volunteering or a low-intensity job.
A job has the benefit of keeping you financially independent.
If you don’t think there is anything you can do, there are always opportunities to learn new skills.
Check whether there is an organisation or charity that provides free or affordable skills training in areas like cooking, sewing or technology.
Install safety measures
People, and especially seniors, living alone are appealing targets for burglars. To feel safe and protect your home, install several safety measures.
Some basic ones include outdoor and indoor security cameras, security lights, a deadbolt, garage lock and an alarm system.
Make sure it’s easy to contact the police or family members in case of an emergency.
Take care of your health
Without your partner around to encourage and support you, it’s easy to let your health slide.
But staying healthy is essential to being happy and adjusting to life on your own.
Make sure you eat healthy foods. Have a weekly meal plan to make shopping and cooking easier.
It’s also important to stay active. Go for brisk walks or use low-impact exercise equipment such as an elliptical.
If you can exercise with a friend or a group, even better.
Things like yoga and meditation can also help you cope with your grief and avoid depression. Again, it’s much better when you do them with friends.
Don’t forget to stay on top of doctor’s appointments and medications. This is where a planning and reminder app or a good old calendar can help.