In a world where everyone is connected through technology, being alone is a rare thing. Because of this, some people struggle with being alone: sometimes, it's because they don't how to spend time by themselves, or because they're so used to being around people that being solo feels like uncharted waters. But no matter the reason, it's possible to learn how to enjoy being alone in just three days.
"People may have difficulty spending time with themselves for several reasons," Dr. Jennifer Sweeton, a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, with expertise in trauma, anxiety, and the neuroscience of mental health, tells Bustle. "This can include concerns about missing out (sometimes 'fear or missing out,' or 'FOMO'), being extraverted, or suffering from a mental health condition (such as depression or anxiety). However, it can be beneficial to go solo sometimes, as it provides a break from external influences and allows an individual to reconnect with their values and goals."
While being surrounded by friends and family can be just as fun as spending time by yourself, solitude, and the self-reflection and contemplation that comes with it, is essential to see things in a different perspective. Some people actually thrive when they're alone, as opposed to constantly being surrounded by others.
If you're someone who maybe doesn't know how to chill by yourself, then it's time to learn to adore it. Here are seven things to do so you enjoy being alone more in as little as three days.
1. Realize It's Important To Enjoy Your Own Company
At the end of the day, you only have yourself. While there will always be people in your life on whom you can count, the most reliable person is you — even if you don't realize it.
"[A] way to embrace being alone without feeling lonely is to remember that learning to enjoy your own company is important to help you feel comfortable with yourself and in your own skin," Dr. Erika Martinez, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle.
If you can't think of all the ways you're so great and how being by yourself can be really fun, then ask your friends to remind you just how funny, smart, loving, and caring you are. Then turn around and look inward. In three days you'll be able to see that what your friends say is true: you're fun, funny, witty, and overall great. Why wouldn't you want to spend more time with you?
2. Understand That It Makes You Aware Of Your Worth And Direction
According to Martinez, when you wholeheartedly enjoy being alone, it does wonders for your self-worth.
First, it allows to you focus on you, to be introspective, and to be mindful of who you are. Mindfulness can help us realize what we want, how we're going to reach our goals, and understand our place in the world. This self-analysis isn't easy to do when you're constantly surrounded by people and their influences.
Everyone should know that they're worthy of love and respect, as well as having a handle on where they'd like their future to take them. When you can truly see this to be fact thanks to ample alone time within in three days, you'll realize that solo time is essential to figuring out the big questions in life.
3. Get In Touch With Yourself
If you've never tried journaling, now is the time. When we put our thoughts down on paper, we're able to see things differently and gain new perspectives. These two factors are everything when trying to be at peace while solo.
"Take time to journal and do self-reflection," Jenn DeWall, a millennial life and career coach, tells Bustle. "[Check in] with your goals, dreams, and use alone time as an opportunity to recalibrate where you want to be. Then think about how you can use your time alone to focus on what is meaningful to you or what will help you get closer to your goals."
Using alone time to focus on the future can help you get the most use out of it, so you're ready when that future finally arrives.
4. Give Yourself A Pep Talk
Because some people's fear of being alone is due to the fact that they judge themselves for it, turning those negative thoughts around. Instead of cutting yourself down for rolling solo, speaking highly about yourself and the strength it takes to be alone. In other words, don't dwell on what you think might be "wrong" about you just because you're alone, but practice talking to yourself like the royalty you are because you're alone and totally cool with it.
"Many times we can fear to be alone because we're judging ourselves that we're not good enough, popular enough, etc.," DeWall says. "The more work you do on loving yourself, the less you'll spend alone time judging yourself."
DeWall suggests writing down a list of all your accomplishments and things you truly like about yourself. Then, when you're done, read it out loud every day throughout those three days and beyond that. Your self-confidence will get a boost, as you realize just how fantastic you are and how great your own company is.
5. Make A List Of Solo Activities
Whether you're trying to enjoy being alone because a recent relationship ended or because you know, deep down, that solo time is good for you, making a list of what you want to get done during this period will help bring extra meaning to your life.
"Once in a relationship, we've all found ourselves missing some of the things that we used to do (or did with greater ease) when we were single," Martinez says. "Think back to those things and make a list of them. Then get started doing them when you're feeling lonely."
DeWall agrees with this technique, but in addition to things that you miss doing, she suggests including things on the list that you haven't had time to do either.
"Think about [the list] from a personal standpoint," DeWall says. "Have you been blowing off hitting the gym? Have you been meaning to read a book? Write down the list and begin crossing items off. This will keep you occupied, give a sense of accomplishment, and build momentum for days to come."
6. Know That Alone Time Is Better For Your Relationships
If you can step outside yourself and picture your future relationships, you'll see that enjoying your alone time won't just be great for you, but for the relationships you have with other people, both romantic and platonic.
"[Being alone will] improve the quality of your interpersonal relationships with others down the line," Martinez says.
If you're able to be comfortable in being alone, you're less likely to become codependent in the future. You'll be able to function when everyone is away on holiday or if your partner decides you two need a break, you'll be able to handle it better.
7. Change Your Concept Of Alone
Because there is that big difference between being alone and being lonely, it's important to understand what each word means to you. Although neither word is bad, how you interpret them could be, so that's something on which to work. And in three days, you have this figured out.
"If you define being alone as being bored, replace the definition and look at alone time as an opportunity to relax and rest," DeWall says. "Reframe the way you view alone time."
With all the benefits that come with being alone, viewing it in a positive light will have a big effect on not just solo time, but all that can be accomplished during it.
Although it may take some practice, it is possible to enjoy being alone in three days. So take it step-by-step and you'll see in no time, with these seven things to do, you'll get more and more comfortable with it.
Dr. Jennifer Sweeton, Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist, Best-Selling Author, and International Trainer
Dr. Erika Martinez, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist
Jenn DeWall, Millennial Life and Career Coach