Why Being Alone Doesn't Have to Mean Being Lonely
My ideal Saturday morning: up and out the door by 9, a quick coffee run, and then a walk down by Lake Michigan... by myself.
Spending time alone is pretty high up on my list of favorite things to do. And if I’m being honest, I’m the type of person (i.e. introvert) who can spend days on end by myself. That’s not the case for everyone, though. I’ve met people who dread the thought of spending even a few minutes by themselves, let alone an entire day.
After moving to a new city where I didn’t know a soul and living on my own, I’ve realized that alone time doesn't have to be lonely. As an advocate for embracing and enjoying alone time, I’m sharing five reasons why you should stop avoiding it and make sure it’s time well spent.
1. Doing things for yourself is a part of taking care of yourself.
It’s the best way to get around to all of those self-care things that have been hanging out on your to-do list. Sign up for yoga, take a cooking class, pamper yourself with a face mask and a bubble bath. Whether you’re meeting new people over pasta made from scratch, or sweating out your week in downward dog, do something that improves your well-being and gives you peace of mind. When alone time becomes synonymous with bettering yourself, it will never be unproductive, boring, or lonely again.
2. You get to be selfish, and being selfish isn’t always a bad thing.
When you remove others from the, “What should I do today?” equation, you get to put yourself first. No more compromising on which movie to see or restaurant to eat at, the decision is always yours. There’s more to it than just getting your own way, though, it’s also about realizing that you can do things on your own and enjoy it just as much. While it may be challenging at first, being independent of others and relying on yourself to seize the day and find happiness is the payoff.
When alone time becomes synonymous with bettering yourself, it will never be unproductive, boring, or lonely again.
3. Be present and live in the moment.
If you’re guilty of always planning ahead, falling victim to FOMO, or can’t quite unplug, alone time is the best way to hone in on those weaknesses. Make a conscious decision to do something alone and try not to reach for your phone. Better yet, leave it at home. When you disconnect, you’ll realize how we use our devices as a crutch to fill tiny voids. Practice being present with yourself and it will come naturally when you’re around others. No more scrolling through Instagram at dinner.
4. Indulge in “normal” alone time.
Alone time isn’t always about doing things that make you uncomfortable. Time alone should and can be indulgent. Catch up on your favorite shows or read the day away and don’t feel bad about it. Apply those same principles to being "selfish" and present—enjoy every last moment.
5. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Doing something new or foreign to you can be challenging, weird, and just plain scary. And that's totally understandable. But it's when we push past our insecurities and our self-doubt that we really start to experience life — and all it has to offer. Try going to dinner alone (if Carrie Bradshaw can do it...), seeing a movie solo, or simply taking a walk to clear your head. If you're worried about what strangers will think of you — don't. When was the last time you saw someone alone and judged them? Plus, this isn't about them. It's about you.
Spending a lot of time alone is not everyone's cup of tea, but like getting enough sleep and maintaining healthy habits, it's all about balance and moderation. If you're feeling lonely and like "alone time" is the last thing you need, it might be a good idea to put yourself out there and text a friend to meet for coffee. And if you can’t remember the last time you weren’t around people, it might be in your best interest to clear your schedule.
When was the last time you stole some alone time for yourself and what did you do? Tell us in the comments!