When we experience a lonely spell, it's tempting to melt from the couch and onto the floor in a "no one loves me" type of tantrum. But rather than wanting to fill up your social card as quickly as possible, you can try to enjoy your alone time. While it's lovely to have a date you can go out Friday night with, or have brunch friends you can drool over red velvet pancakes with, there's something to be said about taking yourself on dates and loving it equally as much.
There's a stigma in our society about being alone. When you go buy a movie ticket for just one, you get this feeling someone is going to bring up an "L" sign to their forehead all slow-like. Eating alone at a restaurant is a disaster, and if you don't bounce from partner to loving partner, you begin to worry if you're a cat lady in the making. Well, forget that noise.
Instead, take yourself out. Be selfish with your time. Do everything you've wanted to do with people, just with yourself. Trust me when I say you're excellent company. Below are 11 tips on how to enjoy your time alone.
1. You Have Time For Introspection
OK, this one isn't as scary as it sounds, promise. Rather than going everything you've done and said in the past year with a fine-tooth comb, use this as a chance to discover what matters to you and what you can improve on. Lifestyle writer Adam Dachis at Lifehack recommended, "Instead of criticizing recent behaviors or worrying about the future, use introspection to think about what you believe and what matters to you." Examples: If you suck at cooking, buy a cookbook. If you want to get more creative, go write stories in coffee shops. If you want to give back, volunteer at a dog shelter.
2. Try Stuff Others Think Are Lame
Do you think you'd get flak for trying rooftop yoga? Or would your friends roll their eyes at doing one of those painting-and-wine-classes? Or suggesting a poetry reading would be met with groans? Take this as a chance to go do all the things people would tease you for. Dachis encouraged, "This allows me to not only try something new but also experience it unencumbered by the opinions of others." It's a prime time to go do it!
3. Get Picky With Your Time
Why would you go on a coffee date with someone you feel "meh" over just so you don't have to spend time alone? Get picky with your time! There's only so much free time you have - don't give it away all loosey goosey. Lifestyle writer Tyler Tervooren at self development site Riskology explained, "It’s very easy to find someone to spend time with, but when you have high standards for the people you allow into your life, you’re telling yourself that you’re better off by yourself than with someone who isn’t a great fit for you." This teaches you that you're good enough by yourself, which makes you more comfortable alone.
4. Use It As An Opportunity To Assess
When you're not distracted with a calling card of dates and friend hangouts, you can sit in your apartment quietly and take stock of where you've landed. Lifestyle writer Laura Lifshitz at PopSugar suggested asking?, "Do you like the woman you are today? Are you happy with your job, your living situation, your friends?" If you find something that's not quite satisfying you, here's all this time that you can use to change it!
5. It's A Chance To Stop Caring What People Think
Lifestyle writer Leigh Weingus at Huffington Post explained why we hate alone time so much: "The not-so-fun part comes in when you’re thinking about how others are perceiving your aloneness and worrying that they simply think you have no one to hang out with." The wonderful part here? The more you do it, the less you'll factor people's opinions into the equation, and the stronger and more confident you get!
6. Make Plans & Do Them Off The Bat
Look forward to the future and what you want to accomplish...and then get started now. Tervooren explained, "Pursue these plans immediately. Don’t put them off. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Perfect never comes, and the longer you wait, the harder it is to get started." You've got this free time now — there's no excuse not to!
7. Go On A Dinner Date Solo
Is there a restaurant you've been dying to go to but no one's around to tag along? Who needs 'em. Lifestyle writer Ali Segel at Hello Giggles suggested you turn it into a whole date and make it special, not awkward. She offered, "Indulge in your favorite comfort food, fully, unabashedly and without regrets. For one night only, food has no calories. Dress up fancy. Flirt with the waiter." Go all in. Bonus points: You can take as many pictures of your food without the person across from you rolling their eyes.
8. It Gives You A Chance To Become Self-Reliant
If you're one that doesn't like taking the steering wheel, then alone time is necessary for you. Use it as a chance to see that you can rely on yourself and get stuff done without a lick of help. Dachis explained, "The more you learn to do on your own the more self-sufficient you become, making it easier to handle tasks on your own when you can’t rely on friends." So go walk a trail solo, cook a fancy dinner from scratch, take a mini road trip alone — and prove to yourself you're stronger than you gave yourself credit for.
9. Movie Ticket For One
I never understood the fear of going to go see a movie without a buddy. Like, you can't talk during it anyway. What's the issue here? Segel agreed and urged you to go for it. She explained, "I get to see the kinds of movies that no one else will see with me —10am matinee of a Tyler Perry movie, anyone? Put on sweatpants, grab your favorite soda, chow down on nachos with a side of jalapenos and get real comfy with yourself in the theater. Laugh loudly. Cry. Spread out." Sounds amazing, right?
10. It'll Make You Appreciate Company
When you give yourself a healthy amount of alone time, it will make you appreciate company all the more. Tervooren pointed out, "There is no such thing as a boring person. There is no such thing as a boring situation. If you’re ever bored, it’s because you’re not paying attention. This is a problem with you, not with your surroundings." By not being constantly stimulated by people, you don't take them for granted. You begin to realize everyone has something to offer and work a little harder to see it.
11. Go On City Adventures
One of my favorite things to do alone is to take my camera in my purse and go on a city adventure all alone. Explore those neighborhoods you've always been curious about and haven't had the time to get acquainted with. Segel shared what she did in LA, "hiking trails, Chinatown, that Indie bookstore in Los Feliz, the Mexican Marketplace at Olvera Street. There were food trucks to be eaten from, gardens to gaze at, lattes to drink at coffee shops that were way too cool for me, and museums to wander aimlessly through."
Being alone doesn't mean you're out of options. If anything, being alone means you've got a world of more activities you can now do. So get out there!
Images: @abeautifulmess/ Instagram