woman sitting on white bed

Most people will have to deal with roommates at some point in their lives. While living with roommates is definitely cost-effective, it can be extremely stressful when roommates’ lifestyles, cleaning habits, or personal views don’t match up. When dealing with difficult roommates, moving into a private living situation can often seem like a light at the end of the tunnel (no more sharing refrigerator space! No more cleaning up after other people’s messes!). However, living alone has its pros and cons.

Here are some important things to know before you make the decision to go it alone:

Living alone might be a health risk

Thanks to modern research, we know that social isolation can lead to depression and other mental illnesses. One study found that living alone can increase your risk of death by around 30%! However, living alone doesn’t have to mean living in social isolation. If you maintain a healthy social network, living alone might not be a problem for you.

When you live with roommates and/or family members, you automatically have someone to chat with when you come home at the end of your day. Their presence can be a source of comfort, even if you sometimes take it for granted. Before moving into a solitary living situation, take some time to reflect on what social interaction at home means to you. If you do decide to live on your own, make sure to get a healthy amount of social interaction every day.

On the other hand, living alone might make you less lonely

A separate study found that, within the same income brackets, people lived alone were less lonely than people who lived with roommates. So it looks like living alone can have either a positive or a negative effect on mental health–and therefore on overall health. It’s important to understand how you’ll respond to a new living situation before making the jump.

If you’re naturally outgoing and you have a flourishing social network, your social life probably won’t suffer as a factor of living alone. If anything, you might find that you have more freedom to entertain guests in your home! On the other hand, if you have a natural tendency to isolate yourself from others, it might be wise to curb this tendency by placing yourself in a living situation where you’re regularly exposed to other people.

Your personal quirks might become more pronounced

When we don’t have to share our space or compromise with others, our personal habits can become intensified. When you move into an individual living situation, you might find that your natural tidiness intensifies to surgical levels, or that your natural sloppiness intensifies to the point where you can’t see the floor. If you tend to be a hoarder, you might find that you accumulate a wildly excessive amount of stuff when you don’t have to share your space with roommates.

If you decide to live alone, it’s important to keep track of your natural habits and make sure that you’re not getting carried away. Store those cooperative skills away for future use–you might need them again one day!

Living alone is an opportunity to give your space purpose

When you live with others, common spaces like kitchens and living rooms are often a mishmash of everyone’s stuff. Living alone is an opportunity to design your space with individualized intent. If you want your new home to feel like a relaxing escape, focus on incorporating calming colors, images, and even scents. If you’re chronically disorganized, consider building in some storage features to keep your stuff in control.

Living alone isn’t right for everyone–but if you decide to make the switch, you might find that you’re refreshed by the independence and relaxation that a solo living situation can provide. Have you ever lived alone, and loved or hated it? Do you dream of decorating a studio apartment? Let us know in the comments below.