1. Love yourself – join an exercise program
Okay, we all know it’s important to exercise. But did you know that joining a program or a gym can help you feel a real sense of community? By making this commitment over time, you get to know others who feel the same way about taking care of themselves. You see each other frequently. It’s a bond that can rival what some find with fellow church members or volunteers for a cause. Those buddies are there for you even when storms occur in other parts of your life – relationships, jobs, and so on. If funds are low, check out city programs or the Y in your area.
If you hate groups, find a workout buddy – OR if you’ve got the cash, a personal trainer. It’s so good to have company on those days when you’re just too tired to work out. And with the trainer, since you’re paying him/her, there’s no commitment. You don’t have to feel bad if you absolutely CAN’T make yourself go. Just reschedule.
2. Treat yourself regularly – you deserve it Reserve time for your favorite pampering activities — pedicure, manicure, waxing, or whatever your bag is. Even if you’re not used to doing this, giving yourself this time is a powerful way to affirm that you are special. If funds are low, give yourself the gift of time to do it for yourself. Go to a salon and have someone show you what to do. As a friend once said – a man’s man who also had pretty good sensitivity, “Hey, if you don’t do it for yourself, why would anybody else?” Another great one – plan a day in bed. No guilt, just enjoy!
3. Open your heart – give as generously as you can Because you’re the only one supplying them, both your time and your money are precious to you. But opening your heart does more than nice things for others – it clears the way for you to receive even more good. Choose a cause you care about and dedicate some time/money. Take the time to choose and purchase gifts that truly reflect your recipient’s personality. If you need ideas, spend some time on Google searching for “gift ideas” for the type of person you’re buying for. Or get to know someone who has that magical ability to put romance in every gift – and then ask him or her!
4. Fall in love! Adopt a pet Unless you’re allergic to every living creature in the world, you’ll get more out of taking care of a pet than it will cost you. Visit the animal rescues in your area. If you don’t have the time or energy for dog walking and don’t like cats, consider a unique lower-maintenance pet – bird, snake, rabbit. Talk to the experts before you go for these types of animals–each requires a learning curve to have the most successful relationship. Look up the House Rabbit Society or similar groups. And be sure to have a backup who’ll take Mortimer when you’re out of town!
5. Don’t live in fear – take reasonable risks with money As the sole support, you likely don’t have much backup if things go wrong. But by making sure you understand what your options are – and realizing the worst possible outcome is probably not as bad as you think – you may be able to spend more than you think. On the other hand, don’t dig yourself in beyond recovery. It’s not fun to live with no credit at all for 7 years – the typical fallout from bankruptcy.
6. Learn to enjoy eating out alone Yes, it can seem hard at first if you haven’t worked up to it. Try this: go to your local coffee shop or café. Order your favorite drink (coffee, latte, wine, whatever) and promise yourself you’ll sit there for at least 5 minutes before you leave. If even that’s too much, at least plan to walk casually down the street with your cup for a few minutes. Next time, order a muffin with your coffee. Practice! If you need distraction, bring a book. Some experienced SWWANs bring a notebook to write in or sketchbook to draw in – observe your surroundings. Hint: If you wouldn’t mind some conversation, try sitting at the bar or one of the new “single diner” areas popping up in a few better restaurants.
7. Ask for help! Long-time successful single women know that it can be hard to ask for help. We all want to be strong and independent and not needy. But hey, everybody needs help. Why should you – who are handling it all alone – have even less help than other people!? Practice with small things first. You’ll get better with time. And you’ll find that most people are glad to help – they were just embarrassed to ask because they didn’t want you to think THEY thought you were needy!
7.5 Dance! Dance – at home before you go out, when you’re feeling blue, instead of eating! Let the magic of music and movement transform your energy. Let yourself go – you’ll feel a tremendous difference.