I'm the type of person who needs alone time. While I'm often quite social and have lots of friends, I also have the tendency to get super overwhelmed if I don't give myself time to decompress and be all by myself. Alone time allows me space to center myself and unwind. That being said, knowing how to be happy when you're alone can definitely be a skill that takes time to master. Hell, as much as I enjoy my alone time now, it definitely took me a while before I really figured it out.
For many people, spending time alone can be kind of uncomfortable and, you know, lonely. Being alone means there's no buffer between you and, well, yourself. But trust me, since I've practiced giving myself some regular time for just me, being alone is not only something I need for my emotional health, but it's also something I deeply enjoy.
Furthermore, guys, while you may sometimes see negative stereotypes associated with people who enjoy spending time alone (like it somehow makes you antisocial or means you're unhappy), studies actually beg to differ. Spending time alone can help to make you more centered, calmer, and more open-minded.
So, here are some tips for not only developing ways to spend time alone, but also ways to genuinely enjoy that "me" time for exactly what it is.
1. Shamelessly Indulge In Your Tastes
One of the great things about not being around other people is that whatever you choose to do can be exactly — and I mean exactly what you want. You can eat what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want, and go where you want, without having to concern yourself with anyone else's needs or wants for the time being.
Think of it as an adventure of sorts, whether you're hanging out in your room, or taking a day trip. You want to listen to Zayn while eating banana pancakes for dinner and topping off the night with a little Riverdale? Go for it.
2. Get Super Cozy
While you're having some quality "me" time, being really cozy is a great way to both enjoy that time, and make yourself feel safe and comfortable being on your own for a while.
Get into your softest sweatpants, and curl up in a beautiful blanket to read a book or do some sketching. Or, if you feel like getting out of the house, wear your favorite sweater and wool socks while you take a nice walk around the block.
3. Allow Yourself A Breather
Maybe your thoughts are all over the place and you feel anxious, or you're overwhelmed by what feels like a never-ending to-do list. Take this time alone to sit and focus on your breathing, or even try out a quick meditation.
I know mediation might seem like the last thing you feel like doing, because it kind of feels like putting another layer of being alone on top of, you know, already being alone.
But the thing is, allowing yourself to get quiet and simply be in your body goes a long way in cultivating some inner zen that lasts. In fact, research has shown that meditation and mindfulness practices can significantly reduce stress-related health issues like depression and anxiety.
So, even if the concept scares you a little at first, it can't hurt to try it at least once. And for all you know, you might just love it.
4. Remember That Music Is Your Friend
Try the radio, a new album you've been meaning to listen to, or even some kind of white noise if that's your jam. Music of any kind can really help distract from racing thoughts and can have a positive influence on your emotions.
5. Ask Yourself Questions
What's great about spending time alone is that you have the opportunity to ask yourself questions you might not normally have the space or time for. Spending a little time with yourself is a really good way to get in touch with your feelings. Have you been more stressed than usual lately? Do you feel like you can never do enough in one day? Maybe get out a journal and do a little writing to check in with yourself and see where you're at.
I know for me, when I give myself the time to literally just talk to myself, it allows for certain feelings and thoughts to come to the surface that I might otherwise ignore, or even subconsciously suppress. Being able to identify your feelings can be super empowering, and it can help you to ultimately feel more content in life.
6. Be Cool With Being Uncomfortable
So maybe being alone feels super uncomfortable for you. That's totally OK, and totally normal. Loneliness, anxiety, dread — these are all uncomfortable feelings that might come up when you start spending time alone. Rest assured, these feelings don't last forever.
What you can do, though, is try to find a way to work with these uncomfortable vibes. You can recognize your feelings, while also reminding yourself that they will pass. Ask yourself what you can do that might make you smile, or what you can do to make the setting you're in more conducive to your "me" time.
7. Take Yourself On A Date
Maybe you don't want to hang out at home for those precious few moments you have for yourself. What about taking a trip to a museum and just wandering through the exhibits to soak it all in? How about sitting in the back row of a theater with a big bucket of popcorn you don't have to share?
In my experience, taking myself on a date can often feel like traveling in another country, and it even helps me appreciate my city in a totally new way, without the distraction of conversation or someone else's timetable.
8. Give Yourself Time To Daydream
Turn off your phone, and shut down your computer. Consider just walking around, or simply lay back on the couch and let your mind wander. See where it takes you.
Not only is this a nice way to totally unplug, but daydreaming is also, potentially, a sign of intelligence.
So, are you ready to set aside an hour — or, if you dare, even a whole day — just for you? Yeah, I thought so.