Independent Skills That Are Important To Have
Teenagers and young adults who move out on their own for the first time may find it beneficial to learn basic life skills to help them live confidently. Learning independent skills can also allow people to work autonomously and feel more positive about their life choices. Understanding how to develop independent living skills can prepare you to live on your own. In this article, we discuss what independent living skills are, why they’re important and 13 independent skills to consider developing.
What are independent living skills?
Independent living skills are behaviors and knowledge required for a person to live successfully on their own. These skills allow people to make properly informed decisions and take care of themselves properly. There are several categories of independent living skills, such as:
- Personal care, which includes dressing, grooming and practicing good hygiene
- Personal organization, which includes tracking items and managing time
- Food preparation, which includes cooking, buying necessities and storing food properly
- Clothing care, which includes doing laundry, sorting clothes and buying new attire
- Money management, which includes learning to save, budget and invest money properly
- Home maintenance, which includes maintaining a lawn and garden and fixing basic things in a home
Why are independent skills important?
Independent skills are important because they help people live on their own, earn an income and care for their health. They allow people to depend on themselves for shelter, food and a job. Developing a sense of independence can empower people and give them a sense of confidence and purpose. Independent living skills may also help people find a routine that works for them and their lives.
13 independent skills
Here’s a list of 13 independent skills to consider developing:
1. Prepare healthy meals
Preparing healthy meals is an essential independent skill to develop because it can help you save money and improve your overall health. Consider learning basic cooking skills that you can apply to several meals, such as boiling water, chopping food properly and following simple recipes. If you learn how to meal prep and save leftovers, you can cook one meal to eat for several days, which may help you save money. Cooking your own meals may also improve your overall health because you can choose your ingredients and portions.
2. Shop for groceries on a budget
Learning how to shop for groceries can help you save money and prepare meals at home. Before going to the grocery store, take an inventory of what’s in your kitchen and list any essentials you need to buy. As you learn more about what foods you use and how much you eat during a week, you may remember what items to purchase during future visits. Here are a few tips to help you grocery shop on a budget:
- Purchase nonperishable items.
- Purchase perishable items in an amount you plan to eat.
- Buy vegetables and fruits that are in season.
- Use paper or digital coupons.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise allows you to build strength in your body. Exercising is an important skill because it can help you remain physically and mentally alert and sleep better at night. Consider making a daily or weekly exercise schedule for yourself, whether this involves taking regular walks or going to the gym. Here are some exercises you can do:
- Taking a walk or a run
- Climbing stairs
- Using a stationary bike
- Jumping rope
- Doing weight training
4. Clean and organize your home
Knowing how to organize your home can help you keep your space clean when living by yourself. This can also help you discover where to find your belongings. Regularly cleaning your home can involve vacuuming, wiping your kitchen counters and dusting your furniture and other surfaces to minimize dirt.
5. Maintain your finances
It’s important to track how much money you make and spend so that you can budget properly and understand how you’re using your money. This can also help you create a retirement fund or learn how to save your money for emergency purposes or large purchases, such as a home or a new car. Consider tracking what you spend money on, such as bills, rent, entertainment and food.
6. Communicate effectively
Learning how to communicate with others effectively is important for explaining your needs and learning about other people’s needs. Effective communication can help you make friends if you move to a new city or start a new job. You can also use this skill to share your ideas at work. Additionally, talking to others can help fulfill your social needs, which might increase your well-being.
7. Act professionally at work
Acting appropriately at work includes learning the proper attire to wear and the proper language to use. This can include adhering to your company’s dress code if they have one. Appropriate work behavior may also include being inclusive of everyone in the workplace, supporting your colleagues and paying attention to directions from your manager.
8. Manage your time
It’s important to manage your time well because you may have several tasks to complete in a day, week or month. Balancing your personal life with your work can allow you to fulfill your personal tasks, such as taking care of yourself and cleaning your home, and fulfill your work tasks, such as finishing a project. Here are some tips you can use to manage your time:
- Plan ahead.
- Set goals.
- Remove nonessential tasks.
- Set time limits.
- Take breaks between tasks.
9. Maintain good personal hygiene
It’s also essential to take care of your personal hygiene to keep yourself clean and healthy. Caring for your personal hygiene might increase your personal confidence. Here are some ways you can maintain good hygiene:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Take a shower at least once a day, such as after exercising.
- Wash your hands and face before bed.
- Trim and clean your nails.
- Cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough.
- Wash your hands before eating.
10. Schedule regular checkups
Learning how to schedule appointments for general checkups is important for making sure you’re healthy. The more you frequent your health appointments, the better your doctors can inform you about your health and any conditions you might have so they can treat them. Here are some health appointments you can make:
- Dentist appointment
- Doctor appointment
- Eye appointment
- Counseling appointment
11. Set educational and career goals
Setting achievable educational and career goals can help you plan for the future. These goals may include choosing if you want to continue your education in a college or at a technical school and deciding what subject you want to study. You can also create a five- or 10-year plan for your career and education, such as deciding where you want to work or what position you want to hold in five years.
12. Develop interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills refer to how you communicate and interact with other people, both verbally and nonverbally. Developing interpersonal skills can help you build strong relationships with your friends, family members and colleagues. They can also help you make new friends and learn how to develop new relationships. Additionally, these skills can allow you to work with people from different backgrounds, engage in interesting conversations during interviews or work in collaborative settings.
13. Find a suitable job
Having a job can help you be independent because it can supply you with money to pay for shelter, food, clothing and entertainment. You can develop your job search skills by learning how to find jobs online, create a resume and cover letter and schedule interviews. It can also be helpful to learn how to conduct yourself in an interview, such as learning how to talk about your work and educational background effectively.