Being home alone at night can be nerve-wracking. Maybe it’s your first time living alone, or maybe you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood. There are tons of factors that can make us feel uneasy while home alone. But your home should be a place where you can relax, unwind, and most importantly, feel safe. If you feel anxious or scared while home alone, following these tips will help put your mind at ease.
Get to know your surroundings
Living in a new neighborhood can make anyone feel uneasy at first. Even if your new home is in the same neighborhood, a new building or block can harbor feelings of uncertainty and alienation, which can lead to anxiety and fear during the first few nights.
To combat these feelings, get to know your area. Walk around, familiarize yourself with the buildings, stores, and people, and introduce yourself to your neighbors to make this new territory feel less foreign, and ultimately make you feel safer. Additionally, introducing yourself to your neighbors and getting to know them provides an added level of support should there actually be an emergency or unsafe situation.
Get to know your home
Every home is different, and it’s important to recognize that creaks and sounds are normal in any apartment or house. Familiarizing yourself with the specific quirks of your home will help calm any anxiety or paranoia about home intrusions.
For instance, does the plumbing in your bathroom or kitchen periodically make noise on its own? Are there regular noises that come from the adjacent unit? What sound does the lock on your front door make? Is there a motion sensor light that will go on if someone walks up to your house? Taking note of these specifics will help you differentiate what is normal and what is actually cause for concern.
Install an alarm system
If you own your home, the best way to ensure that you are safe at home at night is to install an alarm and/or security system. Having a sign indicating that you have this system installed will also deter potential intruders. If you rent your home, ask your landlord what security systems are already in place. If you don’t feel safe with what is already there, ask him or her what else they can do, within reason, to make the unit or building as safe as possible.
Turn on the lights
If you are paranoid about burglaries or home invasions while home alone, turn on the lights or the television to let intruders know that someone is home. Burglars are much less likely to target a house when they know that there are people inside. Even just knowing that someone is awake in the house or apartment can be enough to deter a criminal.
Establish an emergency plan
While it is unlikely that something will happen if you’ve taken the proper steps to secure your home, it’s always important to have a plan of action in the event of an emergency. Familiarize yourself with the exit points in your unit (windows, front/back doors, fire escapes), always have close access to a phone, and make sure that you have at least met your neighbors so you have someone to go to for help. If you rent your home, make sure you have your landlord’s contact information on hand.
Distract yourself and find ways to relax
Even if you’ve done everything you can to make your home safe and secure, being home alone at night can be a naturally scary position, and that’s completely normal. To ease your mind, find ways to distract yourself and relax. Watch some TV, read a new book, and have your favorite comfort food on hand. Avoid going down any rabbit holes on the internet about break-ins, crimes, or anything that will feed your paranoia.
If you have persisting anxiety about being home alone at night, consider buying a pet. Having a cute and friendly companion to cuddle with will make you feel less alone and put your mind at ease. Having a dog as a line of defense might even make you feel safer.
When all’s said and done, remind yourself that if you have followed the proper steps to keep your home safe, there is nothing to fear. Try to view the act of being alone as calming and peaceful as opposed to scary or dangerous, and remember that you are ultimately safe inside your home.