Survival tips for single Christians

Being single can be tough. We asked solo Christians to share their top tips for living well – practically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Here’s what they had to say…

PRACTICAL SOLO LIVING:

“Single living can be expensive. Cook in bulk to save money and avoid food waste. Assess your utility bills and insurance, and switch to save money. Consider taking in a lodger. Shop around for good prices. When yours is the only income, you have to make it stretch.” – Annie

 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and neighbours during times of need. I had to do this recently when I had a back injury. People often feel blessed to be asked to do simple things like watering outdoor plants or getting some shopping. You can reciprocate when they need help.” – Joy

 

“If you share accommodation with other people – housemates, a lodger – check them out carefully, take references and make sure they’re the right person for you. And always have a contract!” – Jane

 

“Keep a spare set of keys with a friend or relative, preferably one who lives near you, so if you manage to lock yourself out, you don’t have to resort to breaking back in. Make an effort to get to know your neighbours. It makes a big difference if you feel you have friends nearby, and you can help each other out if you’re away and you need the bins taken out or pets looked after.” – Andy

 

“Keep your medicine cabinet and first aid box well stocked – if you fall ill, you may not have someone to run to the pharmacy for you. A little store of non-perishable foods can also be handy.” ­– Sarah

 

“It’s easy to be a slob and let your place turn into a pigsty when it’s just you. But keeping your home clean and tidy is better for your mood – plus you’re always ready for visitors. Take pride in your space, even if it’s just a room – one advantage of being single is that you can decorate to your own tastes, with no compromise.” – Cathy

 

STAYING SOCIAL:

“Make sure you have an active social life, or you’ll become isolated and lonely. Intentionally schedule meetings with friends in your diary. Meet with other single Christians from other churches.” – Philip

 

“Find good friends who are genuine and build you up, spiritually and mentally, and invest in those friendships. If you can’t find people, start your own meetup group, or join a ramblers group, choir or gym. For those with young children, try to find other single parents so you can share difficult times together, including outings and holidays.” – Susanne

 

“Learn to be okay in your own company so you don’t overwhelm others with excitement when you see them.” – Amy

 

“Maintain a wide network of friends so you have people to spend time with and do things with. Find people with common interests through networks like Meetup.com. Volunteering is a great way to get to know people as you tend to chat as you work together. And network outside of your own congregation, as churches can be quite insular – festivals like Greenbelt are a good way to meet people outside your normal circle, especially if you volunteer.” – Rachel

 

“Make an effort to approach anyone you don’t recognise at church and introduce yourself – perhaps during coffee time. It’s not always easy, but they’re probably feeling as shy as you are. The best way to make friends is to be friendly!” – Lynne

 

THRIVING SPIRITUALLY:

“Choose a good church! Shop around to find a community that meets your needs, where you are accepted, valued and fed. Don’t be afraid to also visit other churches, which may provide more for you as a single person.” – Jackie

 

“Be thankful for every blessing and lean daily into God’s promises. If there are small groups at your church, always join one.” – Robyn

 

“Take time to let God in. Turn off the TV, take a break from social media, get outdoors and take the time to enjoy the natural playground God has given us (this is where I feel closest to the creator). Time to do this is an advantage of being unattached. Your areas of talent and interest are the unique gifts God has given you, so try to develop those in your life.” – Karen

 

“Pray, read the Bible and spend time in God’s presence every day. When I do that, I find the rest of my life falls into place. And thank God every morning when you wake up – not everyone has woken up this morning!” – Sherri

 

“Work on reaching a peaceful place with God so you don’t need anyone else to share your life. Pray, spend time in God’s word, and listen to Christian podcasts and audio books as you do your chores. Look for a congregration where you feel you’ve found your church family. Join a small group and help in the church as much as possible.” – Susanne

 

“Before you go to sleep, think of three positives about your day and thank God for them.” – Jenny

 

“Be curious about hot topics of debate in the church, and seek out opinions from other Christian traditions – it helps you grow spiritually and stops you developing a narrow tunnel vision based only on your own church’s outlook. Seek out ways to deepen your faith outside normal weekly services –  pilgrimages such as visiting the Iona Community or walking the Camino de Santiago can give you time to reflect, and meeting travellers from other traditions can open your mind to new spiritual perspectives.” – Rachel

 

“Being alienated from my children after divorce was the most traumatic event in my life. During difficult times, you need to cleave to God. Being real with Him about your loneliness and struggles is vital. God created love as the great antidote to a sometimes cruel world, but Christians aren’t always loving – it’s not the label that counts, it’s the fruit you see, so seek out people showing good fruit.” – David

 

“Sing praise to God every morning – it’s a great way to start your day.” – Doris

 

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH:

“Set goals of things you want to do, places you want to visit, fitness goals, books you want to read… it gives you things to look forward to and enriching experiences to enjoy.” – Amy

 

“Be accountable and communicate openly with your friends about your struggles.” – Robyn

 

“It’s good to do things to celebrate ‘you’. In the last year, a lot of my friends have bought houses and got engaged or married. While I’m really happy for them, after going to countless housewarmings, engagement parties and weddings, I wanted to do something to celebrate where I’m at in life. So I saved some money and did a five-week solo backpacking trip in South East Asia – one of the best things I’ve ever done!” – Beth

 

“Create a good routine in your life, to give you structure. For instance, I play tennis every Saturday. Of course, flexibility is important, but you need some structure to create stability and balance in your life, and give you focus. Without it, you can become unmotivated and distracted.” – Jackie

 

“Plan things to look forward to – going to the cinema or theatre, holidays, having friends over, outings – otherwise you’ll get bored and lonely. And be brave: it’s okay to go to the cinema or on holiday alone (or on an organised group trip) – I do it all the time! Some people are unwilling to do anything alone but it’s not as scary as you think. Going outside your comfort zone is almost always a positive thing.” – Rachel

 

“Get to know yourself – personality tools such as Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram can be great for this. It helps you understand yourself and your needs, so you can nurture your own mental health. Sport and exercise is also great for maintaining a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.” – Ruth

 

“Exploring the outdoors, walking, singing and being with animals are my therapy – a dog or cat makes wonderful company! Make sure you live a full life: explore new places, do things you’ve always wanted to do – make a bucket list and tick them off, one by one! Do voluntary work, help people and give as much as you can to others. But make sure you also have ‘me’ time to enjoy, reflect and recharge.” – Susanne

 

* Thank you to everyone who shared their tips (some names have been changed for privacy).