I used to hate spending time alone – any day that didn’t involve plans of socialising would result in frantic phone calls and texts in an effort to persuade somebody, anybody, to spend time with me. But being comfortable and happy in solitude can lead to you feeling the happiest, bravest and most independent you have ever felt – feelings that will stay with you throughout the rest of your life. Here are 9 things to try – alone.
Shopping alone can be extremely therapeutic. You have no worries that you’re boring someone else by dragging them around shops they don’t even want to be in, or by taking forever in the changing rooms and deliberating over THAT sequinned bikini (hey, you’re not a Victoria’s Secret model yet but the way to get scouted is wearing that bad boy). You can shop where and when you want, at your own pace, and no one is going to judge you for having 3 Starbucks pit stops – except maybe the barista, but they know you by now (see number 4).
Having a motivator is good when working out, but if the thought of someone else seeing you getting sweaty fills you with dread – go it alone. You’re more likely to push yourself harder if you’re not bothered about ruining that perfect ‘I’m going to the gym’ make-up whilst looking like you’ve just ran a marathon (after 20 minutes on the treadmill).
I don’t mean a microwave meal for one to eat by the kitchen sink. I mean carefully choosing a recipe, buying the ingredients and preparing a tasty culinary masterpiece just for you. Put on some music, crack open the vino, and enjoy the feeling of creating a meal from scratch. And no sitting in front of the TV either – set the table and really savour every mouthful of the meal you took the time to create.
4. Sitting in a coffee shop
A cliché but one that brings such simple enjoyment. Read, write, listen to music, drink endless cappuccinos, eat too many chocolate muffins or just simply watch the world go by. Such a peaceful way to relax and let your mind wander. Plus, you never know who you might meet whilst there (a kind stranger brought me a drink over while I wrote this very article sat outside a coffee shop!)
Like exercise, sometimes you need someone to motivate you to finish that assignment or read that proposal. However, company in this situation can sometimes be a distraction and, especially if they’re a friend, this work date can often lead to gossiping, laughing and generally being un-productive.
Now, I can’t deny that sleeping whilst cuddled up to a loved one is one of the best ways in which to catch some Z’s. But every so often, a solitary sleep is very much needed. Having that big bed all to yourself, with all the pillows and no fighting over the quilt at 2am – can’t beat that every once in a while.
It’s got to be done, and for those who hate to do it alone – here are some perks; if it’s your morning commute and, like me, you’re not very communicative on a morning, travelling alone can really give you the chance to have some ‘you’ time, properly wake up, get your thoughts in order, and arrive at work feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day (plus, no one is going to think you’re rude for putting in your headphones). Travelling alone can be a peaceful experience – use the time to respond to e-mails, read a novel, enjoy a nice snack, or simply enjoy the view!
8. Dining out
A hard one, I will admit, but once you’ve done it once, you’ll feel much more comfortable about doing it again. Start off doing it somewhere you don’t know – you’ll feel like a tourist and less likely to feel out of place. Gradually eat alone at places closer and closer to your locality – and if it makes you feel more at ease, take a book or a notepad to look busy! Treat it as a date to yourself and pick whatever you want on the menu – you’re paying, after all.
Last but definitely not least, the biggie – holidaying alone. As long as you look after yourself and be aware of the no-go areas to go wandering at 3am, holidaying alone can be the ultimate therapeutic experience. Relaxing on a desert island, discovering a forgotten cave, wandering around a new city – whatever takes your fancy. Book your ticket, pack your suitcase and go on an adventure. Create new memories, meet new people and do something you’ve never done before. Make those new discoveries – including those about yourself.
All of this isn’t to say that spending time with your nearest and dearest isn’t important – of course it is. But they’re not always going to be there for every waking moment, and they’re not always going to want to do the things you want to do. Do you want to be left twiddling your thumbs until your significant other gets back from their ‘friends only’ holiday, or until your best friend gets back from their business trip? Didn’t think so. It’s your life, so don’t let a fear of solitude hold you back from living it.