Most of us are far less independent than we might think. We can rely on parents, partners and friends in lots of ways- and while in many cases this isn’t a bad thing, sometimes it can be. When we’re depending on someone else to take care of us emotionally, financially or in any other way, it stops us from growing and evolving as a person. We all need a little support and help at times, and that’s what family and friends are there for. But for the most part, we should be standing on our own two feet. We should be able to look after ourselves without relying on others to do so- achieving this is freeing for both us and them. If you know you’re not as independent as you should be, here are some of the ways you can make changes.
Learn to cook
All of us need to eat. It’s about fuelling our bodies for energy, and giving it the things it needs to ward off illness and generally feel good. You might have moved away from home and no longer rely on parents to feed you, but do you rely on your partner? Do you resort to eating takeout and convenience food because you feel like you don’t have the knowledge or skills to cook for yourself? Learning to cook can save you money and also allows you to take responsibility for this area of your health. If your repertoire includes boxed mac n cheese and baked beans on toast then it’s time to make some changes! You don’t need to become a michelin star chef, but it is important to know how to feed yourself nutritious food that you enjoy and that fits within your budget. It’s surprising the number of adults out there who aren’t able to do this, so if this sounds like you you’re not alone! Things like pasta bake, chili, soups and stews and curries can all be simple to make and can be put together with humble ingredients. Check out sites like Pinterest for inspiration and learn to cook a number of dishes that would allow you to feed yourself if it came down to it without having to resort to convenience food. Even if your partner likes to cook and does all of the cooking, it’s worth you knowing as well. If you ever broke up, these are skills that you’ll need to get by on your own.
Get a car
You might get around ok using public transport, but nothing will give you true independence quite like your own vehicle. Learning to drive can be a long and arduous process, but the quicker you get started the sooner you can pass and look into getting on the roads yourself. Buying a car can be expensive, so one trick is to save a little each week as you’re learning to drive. By the time you have your license you’ll have a good amount stashed away that you can put towards either the car or the insurance. To cover the cost of the vehicle, you have companies like sofi loans for personal loan options or you could also go with car finance. These allow you to spread the cost, and have the car right away instead of having to save up for months.
Manage your money correctly
Speaking of loans, being able to manage your money correctly is a sure step to independence. Even if you’re in the lucky position where you don’t need to work, it’s worth having some kind of income of your own. Working, even part time can help you to develop your skills, keep you productive and gives you access to money that’s yours. You could work from home, starting a blog or a home business could earn good money. If you’re skilled at writing, website design, app design or something else then you could become a freelancer. Budgeting is also incredibly important, whether you have a little or a lot to work with, knowing how to manage this will prevent you needing to ask others to help you financially or falling into debt. Budgeting apps, spreadsheets, even old fashioned pen and paper can all help you to keep track so find a system that works for you.
Get comfortable with alone time
As humans, we’re social creatures. Loneliness is a real thing, we all need social interaction and a good network of loved ones around us- it’s actually good for our mental health. However, we should also be able to spend time alone when needed, and we shouldn’t be relying on others to be entertained, fulfilled or to provide emotional support at all times. Being independent is about being able to rely on yourself, being able to be there for yourself, keep yourself occupied, cheer yourself up if you’re feeling down. When we rely too much on others for emotional support we can become a burden to them, and not only that but it’s a dangerous game where you will almost always be left disappointed. Allow yourself to cry on a friend’s shoulder when you need it, but be able to pick yourself up too. Learn ways to make yourself feel better when times are hard- it could be reading a book, exercise or having a hot bath. Get comfortable with alone time and learn to enjoy your own company. There are always going to be times when the only person you have is yourself, so get to know yourself, get to like yourself.
Consider living solo
There’s no better way to put all of these lessons to the test than by living by yourself. If you really want to know what you’re made of, and have the opportunity to stand on your own two feet then go for it. Maybe you’ve just come out of a relationship, or perhaps you’re looking to move out for the first time. Instead of looking to move in with others, give solo living a try. Cooking, budgeting, getting around and spending time alone are all things that you will have to learn to do and it can really help you to grow as a person. It doesn’t have to be forever, utilise this time and use it for self discovery and personal development.