Some people absolutely love being alone, while others fall into a pit of loneliness and despair at the very thought. (After all, FOMO is real.) But however you look at it, there are benefits to a little solitude, as well as ways to make the most of your alone time.
First, let me start off by admitting that I used to be in the latter camp, with a pretty constant case of FOMO. This was when I was younger, and couldn't wrap my head around the idea of an evening spent alone. Now that I'm advancing into my 20s, however, I can totally see the benefits of hanging out all by my lonesome.
I can appreciate now how alone time offers the perfect chance to figure yourself out, recharge from the day, and indulge in any and all gross/embarrassing things you've been dying to do. Not to mention, it's the best time to focus on your hobbies, and all those things you really want to learn but never had time to do.
If all of that sounds appealing (and I promise, it is), then please snag alone time next time the next time it pops up. And then follow these tips for taking full advantage of your newfound peace and quiet.
1. Turn Everything Off And Recharge
If you're going to do this whole "alone time" thing right, then start by turning off your phone, staying away from Facebook, and not checking email. This is supposed to be a peaceful moment where you shut off outside influences and just do you. So disconnect, and enjoy being away from world for a little while.
2. Let Your Thoughts Wander
Not only is zoning out good for you, but moments of pure, unadulterated, free-thinking don't happen very often. Take advantage of this rare moment, and see where your thoughts take you. It'll be relaxing, and maybe even a bit revealing about the inner workings of your brain.
3. Reflect On What You Want Out Of Life
Daydreaming not really your style? Then try zeroing in on the tough questions in life. Do you like you job? Are you happy? As Tony Robinson said on Lifehack.org, "Being alone gives you the perfect opportunity for a little self reflection. Since you aren’t spending so much time processing the thoughts and feelings of others, it’s the best time to turn your focus inwards." Take a while to think it all over, and see what you figure out.
4. Go On A Solo Adventure
Whether you do a cross-country trip, or simply go across town, heading out all by your lonesome can be quite the experience. As Hilary White said on PopSugar.com, "Traveling alone ... gives you the luxury of going at your own pace so that you're able to soak up everything about the trip that you want to." Solo traveling also teaches you to rely on yourself, which is a pretty handy skill to have.
5. Hit Up An Embarrassing Movie
If you've been lusting after that really stupid movie, now's the time to go. Not only will you save loved ones from their potential boredom, but you'll be able to more fully enjoy the movie — no eye rollers or popcorn stealers allowed. And if it's not a "stupid" movie? Well, consider your life more cultured, and pat yourself on the back.
6. Play An Entire Album, Start To End
Just like with the movie, not everyone shares the same preferences when it comes to music. That's why it's so incredible to put on an album and listen all the way through without anyone barging in or passing judgement. Queue up a few albums you've been meaning to listen to, and have them waiting on standby.
7. Try Your Hand At House Repairs
When things break, my first instinct is always to call my mom or my brother. (They are so handy, while I am not.) The next time this happens, however, I've promised myself I won't call in reinforcements, but will instead learn to fix the thing myself. Doing your own repairs has got to be the most rewarding, I'm-finally-an-adult experience there is. And what better time to learn then when all by yourself?
8. Get Some Stuff Done
Been meaning to clean? Dying to finish your painting? Ta da! Now's your chance. As Robinson said, "Time spent alone can be some of the most productive time in your life — mostly because there are less distractions, and you can just put your head down and get to work." Use the time wisely, and finish up what you can before your partner, roommates, or family members come barging back in.
9. Take Yourself Out To Dinner
This one can be scary, because "look at that loser eating by herself." But keep in mind that other people aren't as interested in you as you are. In other words, they aren't paying attention. So enjoy the moment. As White said, "Try to resist the urge to look at your phone and take your time as you enjoy ordering anything you want without anyone else asking for a bite." Once you try it, you'll be dying to eat alone all the time.
10. Walk Around The House Naked
OK, let's be honest. The best thing about living alone, or at least spending an evening alone, is the whole no pants thing. When no one is around to judge, the entire house becomes your oyster. You can vacuum sans pants, dance sans pants, or sit on the couch sans pants, and no one has to be the wiser. It is the best.
11. Learn Something New
If you devote your life 24/7 to the needs of others, then I bet there's not much time left over for that bucket list of yours. This is another reason why alone time is so great — it gives you the time necessary to learn new skills, whatever those skills may be.
12. Realize You Are Totally Self-Sufficient
The best and most important thing to take away from all of this is that spending time alone is the best way to build confidence. As Adam Dachis noted on Lifehacker.com, "Increased solitude equals increased self-reliance. If you can’t count on others for everything you do, you have to learn to do quite a bit more yourself. Of course, you should rely on others sometimes, but alone time helps you create a balance between getting help from others and relying on yourself." Again, this is an invaluable skill to have.
As is spending time alone. I know it can be boring/scary/depressing at first, but get in the habit of liking your own company, and suddenly a day spent alone will feel like the best thing ever.
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