People vary so much when it comes to spending time alone. Some would happily spend most nights a week on their own, while I get itchy if I have more than a night or so without plans. And the weird thing is, I really like spending time alone. But I can only take so much of it.
And some people really don't like it all. They feel anxious, uncomfortable, or even lonely on their own. But it's so important to be able to be alone with just yourself and your thoughts. It means you can pursue your own interests, but it also makes you more self-sufficient. Perhaps more importantly, if you are someone who wants to date, being able to be alone means you make more intelligent and thoughtful choices about getting into a relationship, rather than getting into a relationship with the wrong person just to avoid being alone.
So if you're someone who loves being alone, you're in a really good place. But if you're not — if you struggle with it— there's nothing to worry about. Some people have to learn how to be around other people, and some people have to learn to be alone — and there's nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of ways to do it, if you're patient with yourself.
Here are seven ways to be better at spending time alone, because it might take some time to find out:
1. Ask Your Friends What They Enjoy Doing
If you're someone who's always used to being around other people, you may find yourself bored on your own. You just need some ideas — talk to your friends about what they like to do on their own. Exercise classes, podcasts, relaxation routines, walks can all be inspiration for what to try on your own.
2. But Know Those Things Might Not Work For You
But if you don't like what your friends do, that's fine too. It's a bit trial and error, so if at first you feel restless or bored trying solo activities, don't stress about it. You just need to keep mixing it up. I love exercise classes— yoga, pilates, punishing bootcamps — but my roommate has no interest in spending her free time that way, which is completely fair. Find what works for you and don't worry if you keep getting it wrong. It'll happen.
3. Schedule It Out
I know this might seem forced, but trust me. Between stand-up, writing, seeing my friends, and seeing my girlfriend, I have a tendency to have a calendar that's busting at the seams. I have to schedule "me" time into my day or week the same way I would schedule anything else or it's not going to happen. And I'm someone who likes alone time. If you're someone who doesn't like being alone, you're going to have to be even more strict about scheduling it in.
4. Keep Things Balanced
Remember all those exercise classes I mentioned? Well, when I fill my free time with just those I end up, in a word— exhausted. You need to balance it out. Make sure that for all the active alone time you spend, you spend some relaxed time as well. And it's true the other way, baths and TV marathons are nice, but if that's all you do on your own it's going to be a little... flat. You need a bit of both.
5. Remember That It's A Choice
If you're not used to being on your own, it might feel a little lonely at first. But remember that you're not on your own because you don't have any other options, you're doing it because it's good for you. It helps increase concentration, helps you unwind, and even improves your relationships with others. It makes you a better friend, partner, worker, and person. So don't feel like you're stranded and lonely — remember it's a choice. A healthy choice.
6. Give Yourself Some Time To Get Used To It
Like I said, it might not work the way you want it to at first. Don't be afraid to keep at it. If after the first few times you're still feeling lonely and feel like it's not for you, that probably means you need it more than anybody else. It's so important to your mental health to be able to spend time alone. So if it's feeling tough, give it time — and remember you need it.
7. Remind Yourself Why You're Doing It
There's a reason you're trying alone time. Whether it's to be less stressed, be better at work, discover more about yourself, have a less dependent relationship, there are lot of important motivators for spending time on your own. If you're struggling with it, that's completely understandable. But remind yourself why you're doing it — why it's better for your life as a whole — and it will help push you through.
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