February 14, 2018
The (Scientifically Backed) Upsides to Being Single
Hint: you may get significantly more shut-eye
Photo courtesy of Image courtesy of rawpixel/Unsplash
By Rebecca Davis
writer for The Natural
A funny thing happened to life coach Gala Darling when she got divorced: The author of Radical Self Love (Opens in a new window) truly enjoyed being unattached (and not just in that watch-Bridget Jones-on-repeat kind of way).
“When I think about being single, I think about it being this ecstatic freedom,” she says. “The great thing about being single is it gives you the opportunity to really explore who you are, without a lot of limitations.”
Of course, being single doesn’t mean being entirely alone. “We really, really need that emotional support system — it’s essential to our health,” Darling emphasizes. Whether it’s through friends, family, or that work colleague who you actually have a ton in common with, creating time to establish relationships with others is one of the perks of so-called solo living. (“Just make sure that your needs are being met, and you’re not just sitting in your house all the time,” she adds.)
That’s not the only benefit — here are a few key (science-backed) upsides to being single.
You’ll spend less time doing chores
Think to the tune of 50 fewer minutes a day doing housework versus people who are married, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (That’s an extra episode of The Crown a day — more on your extra downtime in a sec.) After all, more people in a house actually means more mess to clean up. Not to mention, no one wants to be nagged for leaving their dishes in the sink, even if just once.
Image courtesy of Sladjana Karvounis/Unsplash
You’ll have more leisure time
Wondering what you might do with that “bonus time”? “Being single opens up your schedule — you have much more free time, so if you want to take a dance class or write a novel or go to Mexico for a week and work on a project, you really have a lot of creative freedom to do that,” says Darling. “These days we’re in very modern partnerships where our partners do give us the space to do these things, but sometimes even when we’re in those ‘liberated’ partnerships, we still feel pressure to be there [with them].”
And the numbers back her up: Those flying solo clock an average of 5.5 hours a day on overall leisure time and nearly an hour of “educational activities” (think courses, workshops, or even going back to school) each day, compared to 5 hours of leisure time and paltry 5 minutes of education activities by their married counterparts.
Image courtesy of Omar Lopez/Unsplash
You’ll develop stronger, more supportive social networks
Forget the myth of the isolated singleton; what’s more likely to happen is that you’ll be spending your time building out an incredible support network filled with friends and family who’ve got your back no matter what comes up.
“When I was single, my friendships really, really flourished,” remembers Darling. Not only have studies found that the unattached are more attentive to those in their orbit, but they’ve also found that they’re literally logging more minutes keeping in touch (be it via text, FaceTime, or Instagram DM…). And this, according to the life coach, is key: “When you don’t have a primary partner, you do have to seek comfort and love and affection in other places — we’re human, we die without it.”
Your well-being gets major attention
From healthier BMIs to more time spent on personal care (which includes everything from catching up on your zzz’s to making it to that boxing class that gives you a total endorphin rush), studies have found that there are even some health benefits to being single. And sleep — which we’re constantly reminded is the foundational element to feeling like one of those 100 emojis — can be majorly impacted for the better if you’re the only one in bed; single people get more shut-eye than people in any type of relationship (regardless of whether they’re casually dating, engaged, or married).
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