While most people probably hear the word "date" and immediately picture an amorous, candlelit outing between two people, a romantic date isn't the only kind of date you can go on. Going on dates by yourself is a great way to practice self-care: you get to indulge in whatever makes you happy — whether that's a surf and turf dinner or a spa day — and you can use your solo time to get to know yourself better. And what better time of year to date yourself than summertime, when you have almost endless options for date activities?
"Spending time alone is a wonderful way to build confidence and rally your spirit of independence," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "Spending time with your own thoughts is a wonderful way to get new perspectives on challenging problems or learn new insights about yourself."
Even if you're in a relationship, going on dates with yourself can be super beneficial to your well-being. It's an important reminder that, regardless of your relationship status, you're worth spending time and energy on. Plus, if you are single, it's great to spend time getting to know yourself because you'll be in touch with you really are. So the next time you want to show yourself some love, here are seven ideas for dates you can take yourself on this summer.
1Read A Book By The Water
Nothing nourishes the soul quite like cracking open a good book, and what could be a more tranquil reading spot than one with a gorgeous water view? (Yes, pools count too!)
"Grab a book and head down to your local body of water," Graber says. "Headphones will always be your best friend if you don’t want to talk to anyone."
2Go See A Movie
One serious perk of taking yourself on a date to the movies? You can see whatever movie you want — no matter how cheesy — and there's no one that you're forced to share the popcorn with.
"Going to the cinema is a great starter for going on dates alone," Graber says. "There’s minimal human interaction (unlike, say, a restaurant) plus air conditioning! Once the lights go down and the movie begins, you’ll forget that you’re there by yourself."
3Take A Solo Weekend Getaway
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, try planning a quick solo weekend trip somewhere, whether near or far. You can have fun sightseeing, eat whatever and wherever you want, and even make some new friends if you feel like socializing.
"Hostels are a fantastic way to travel alone, yet end up with a group of new friends," Graber says. "They’re also incredibly cheap, so keep an eye out for good flight deals and create an adventure for yourself that you never forget!"
4Check Out A Local Festival
Summer 'tis the season for festivals of all varieties, and they make for super fun solo date spots. There's the opportunity to mingle with other folks in your town, or you can take in the experience totally on your own if you'd rather.
"Whether it be a music or food festival, it can be fun to take yourself to a local festival," Holly Zink, a relationship expert for Grapevine, tells Bustle. "You get to connect with yourself and your community."
5Attend An Art Class
Going on your own to some kind of art class — like painting, pottery, or even sketching nude models — can be a fun and creative way to spend time with yourself, even if you're far from an artist.
"Art classes are a great way to relax and unwind from everyday life," Zink says. "Maybe you’ll discover a passion for art you didn’t know you had!"
6Hit Up Happy Hour
It's always nice to have a drinking buddy, but sometimes it can be fun and relaxing to unwind with a cocktail with no company but your own. Take yourself on a happy hour date, and enjoy your fave beverage while you make friends with the locals — or simply read a book while you sip.
"Never underestimate the power of sitting alone at the bar," Caleb Backe, Health & Wellness Expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "You can meet the most amazing people, and have some of the best 'one night stand'-like conversations. Here today, gone tomorrow. It never hurts to have a place where you are a regular or semi-regular."
7Go For A Hike
For the outdoorsy types, going on a solo hike is a great way to get to know yourself while taking in the beauty of nature.
"Just you, a backpack, and the outdoors," Backe says. "Obviously, you need to plan accordingly, take necessary safety and security precautions, etc., but otherwise there is nothing stopping you."
Ultimately, it's not really important how you spend time alone: what matters is simply that you *are* taking that time to get to know yourself while indulging in a pastime that makes you happy. And remember that, while you don't have to give up romantic dating completely, you shouldn't underestimate the benefits of dating yourself, too!