How not to be lonely

Giac has left for Italy on Thursday which is five days ago, and he will be back on the 7th which is in eight days. This means I’m home alone for thirteen whole days. This is quite a big deal for someone like me, who jumps at every suspicious squeaky noise, switches one room’s light on before switching the other room’s light off, and generally is afraid of their own shadow.

I absolutely hate being home alone. My anxiety escalates to a whole new level. Plus, I feel lonely as heck (in spite of being a huuuge introvert). But mainly I have mini panic attacks over the stupidest things.

When I was younger and my parents went on holidays leaving me alone for like a month, instead of turning into a party animal, inviting all my friends over, trashing the house and getting smashed, I would pretty much never leave my room, envisioning the worst case scenario of me dying in the most horrible circumstances and nobody finding my rotting body for weeks. I would have a very hard time sleeping, ending up spending the night on Tumblr and eating cold pizza at 3am.

The things I’m normally terrified of include being murdered, being robbed, slipping on the bathroom floor and banging my head, having a heart attack, fainting, in fact having any medical condition that will lead to my death, leaving the gas running, setting the house on fire, chocking on food, locking myself out, not being able to open a jar and consequently starving to death, spiders.

Since I now live in Wellington I felt obliged to add “dying all alone in an earthquake” to the list.

These are all things that I genuinely believe could happen. And now I’m home alone with so much time on my hand and too much time to think and I haven’t freaked out yet but I know it will happen so how to cope?

I made a list.

  • Don’t oversleep
    I’m doing my best to get out of bet at 7.30 every morning, because if I snooze and snooze I end up wasting my morning and messing up my entire day. Being by myself doesn’t mean that I don’t have to stick to a schedule.
  • Stick to a schedule
    A.k.a. Carry on with your life.
    For some reason, the fact that Giac is away makes me feel like I’m on holidays a little bit. But the reality is that I do have things to do (job hunting, mainly), so I’m trying to stick to my regular schedule – which als0 means that I only have time to remember that I’m alone once the day is over.
  • Get dressed
    Even if I’m not going anywhere, the moment I get up I make a point of changing into something that is not my pyjamas. This helps me not to feel too sluggish and be more productive throughout the day.
  • Get out
    Even if it’s just for a quick morning walk, getting some fresh air is super duper important. I try my best not to be home all day. In fact, unless I’ve got something to do at home, I’d go to the library and get some stuff done there.
  • Shower
    It’s so easy to bask in my own filth for days since I don’t have to share my living space with anyone and I can avoid being around people. But showering reminds me how to be a functional human being, so I make sure I scrub myself head to toe at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth
    As part of the personal hygiene scheme, brushing my teeth after every meal is also something I need to remind myself. Again, not being around people doesn’t mean that you can neglect your oral care.

(I am aware that these are very basic actions that anyone with a grain of common sense would perform on a daily basis without the need of a reminder, but you have no idea how easy it is for me to let myself go when I’m home alone for longer than two days.)

  • Keep yourself entertained
    So important! There’s nothing worse than being bored when you already feel lonely. Since Giac left I’ve been out of the house almost all day every day, sunbathing, picking strawberries, making art … Plus I’ve been going to the gym/running/longboarding every single day. If I keep it up I’ll be fit as heck when he comes back.
  • Eat
    Food is a big deal for me, because when I’m home alone I tend to either forget to eat or eat too much, and when I do eat it normally happens not at a table but standing by the kitchen sink, shoving cold pasta in my face straight from the tupperware. Not good. So I’ve planned every single meal I’m having until Giac is back, and I also prepped everything so even if I’m starving I’m not tempted to just eat plain bread but I’ll make sure I have a whole balanced and nutritious meal ready to go in the fridge.
  • Be home when it’s dark
    Not that there’s anything to worry about in New Zealand, where the average of homicides per year is 72 in the whole country (it’s 137 in London alone). But when I do have my mini panic attacks, they always happen when it’s dark. So at least if I’m home I know I can just go to bed, or make myself a cup of tea, or watch some funny YouTube videos, and feel safe.
    (Plus I’m blind as a bat in the dark.)
  • Treat yoself
    What better excuse to make yourself feel special than thinking you’ve been abandoned? Of course that’s not the case, but it sure helps justifying the fact that you’re eating at Burger Fuel for the third time in four days.
  • See friends
    No boyfriend = more time to spend with your friends! I don’t have many but I’m seeing them as much as I can. Especially those who are also jobless, so we can keep each other company heehee.
    Also did I say boyfriend? I meant husband. (Or roommate.)
  • Explore
    So many new places! I made a list (duh) of all the places I want to walk to or eat at or shop from, and I’ slowly ticking them off. You don’t need an excuse to go exploring but for me it’s more of another thing to do to keep myself busy, and have new places to take Giac when he’s back.

Fun fact: The first night I was by myself I locked the door with an extra door chain just to feel safe, then found out the next morning that I’d left the key in the keyhole outside the whole time.

How to save money

Hi lovelies! Today I thought I’d write about how to be more aware of your cash flow and save some dough.
I live in London which is one of the most expensive cities on the planet, so obviously this is a recurring issue in my everyday life. Although I’ve got a stable job it’s still quite hard for me to be able to put money aside every month (especially now that we are moving to New Zealand, and trust me that costs a fortune).
So if you also struggle to balance being a responsible bunny but still enjoying all the amenities that your city offers, here’s a brief guide that might help you manage your finances so you don’t have to spend the last week before pay day living on beans on toast.

  1. Keep track of every single penny you spend

The best thing to do this is to write everything down.
I used to have an Excel spread-sheet where I would keep track of my cash flow. However, because it was hidden away in a dusty folder on my computer, I would often forget to update it. What works for me is something that I can constantly see. I now use a big piece of paper stuck to my wardrobe. It’s divided into categories (food, commuting, nights out, books…) where I keep track of how much I spend on what. This is very effective because I can see it every day and it’s a constant reminder of how I’m doing.

  1. Put money in your saving account the same day you get paid

This way you know you’re done for the month, and what you have in your account is what you can actually spend. If you wait till the end of the month before putting money in your saving account, by the time next payday comes you’re more likely to have spent it all. But you won’t be tempted to spend it if it’s simply not there.

  1. Set yourself a monthly budget

Decide how much money you’re allowed to spend and on what and try to stick to it. Be realistic though! Set yourself realistic goals and don’t be too stingy, otherwise it can be frustrating to see you can’t stick to what you’d planned but this might only be because your original plan was too ambitious.

  1. Plan your meals

Obviously one of the things you need to consider in your monthly budget is food.
With food, what I found really works for me is meal planning. I tend to cook all my meals myself for various reasons (not only because it’s cheaper, but also because this way I know exactly what I’m eating), so this is what I do: on the weekend I sit down and plan what I’m going to eat throughout the week. If I can I plan every single meal Monday to Friday, but sometimes I’ll leave a couple of meals out and I’ll have lunch at work (we have an amazing café in the office and the salad bar is pretty much all vegan, it’s very cheap and healthy but this is my only exception, I don’t really eat out for lunch other than that). Then I would go grocery shopping and buy only the things I need to cook for the week.
I can easily get by for a whole week with no more than £20 on food, sometimes even less. (Obviously this is based on a vegan diet.) Remember being vegan doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of my diet is based on potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, legumes, and lots of fruits and vegetables. I would advise to buy in bulks if you can, and don’t forget fruits and vegs can be frozen (without losing any nutritional value) and they’ll last you for a very long time.

  1. Can you do it yourself?

Everything you do, think whether you can do it at home. If you get Starbucks every single day on your way to work, this can cost you up to £15 per week –only on plain black Americanos. That’s £80 per month, excluding weekends. Why don’t you get yourself a reusable thermos, and enjoy a cheaper caffeine experience by making coffee yourself? This will save you money, avoid queues, be more environmental friendly, and your coffee will never ever come with your name spelled horribly wrong.

  1. Carry cash

Carrying cash instead of paying by card is also a good idea. I’m not very good at it because I tend to spend cash if I have it but also with cash you know exactly how much you have so it’s easier to keep track of what you’re spending.

  1. Have free days

We all know how hard it is to go even one day without spending a single penny, especially if you live in a big city. But it’s very satisfying when you manage to. Giac and I often have free weekends, when we don’t allow ourselves to spend anything at all. (This doesn’t mean we never leave the house for two days. There are plenty of things you can do in London for free –I’ll write a separate post on this.)
I’m also a proud survivor of a whole free week –I managed to not spend anything from Monday to Friday a couple of weeks ago. I promise I’m not this stingy normally, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it (also I bought a wedding dress on Saturday so I pretty much spent in one morning what I would have spent in an entire week anyway).

  1. Don’t be fooled by the brand

Being a little woman myself, when it comes to makeup or beauty products I know how easy it is to buy something just because the packaging looks pretty. But remember that more often than not expensive products contains exactly the same ingredients as their cheaper counterpart, although they come in a more fancy-looking box. Don’t be fooled by the packaging! Expensive products often are not worth the money, you can have the same benefits with a dupes.

Alright guys, this is it! I hope you found this helpful, stay tuned and speak soon!