In the age of social media, it is easy to feel the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Everyone is participating in fun activities, and going out and socializing. Seeing these images every day makes it even more difficult for us to be alone with our thoughts and disconnect.
Yes, connection with others creates memories, and with the right people a positive energy in our lives. However, it’s also so important to balance socializing with time to rest and reflect, and simply enjoy alone time. Although introverts already understand this kind of re-charging, even the most social extroverts need time by themselves to reboot.
4 Healthy Ways to Enjoy Alone Time This Year
Go on a date (with yourself).
Take yourself to a movie you’ve been excited to see and treat yourself to popcorn. Or dress yourself up and go out to a restaurant that you love. Studies show that we are easily influenced by others when we go out to eat. We might eat faster than usual, or be so distracted with conversation that we don’t savor every bite of the meal. Leave the book at home, and keep your smartphone stashed away. Slowly enjoy your food while you take in the atmosphere and people around you, or if seeing a movie get there early to watch all of the previews. Going out by yourself will make you feel more empowered and confident in your own skin.
Dance. Whether in your own living room or out at a club, dancing is therapeutic and rejuvenating. Crank up a good song when you’re getting dressed in the morning and let your body move to the beat. Feeling adventurous? Sign yourself up for a dance class, or find a weekly dance night at a local bar. There are plenty of places that will teach free salsa or swing lessons if you go early before the social dance part of the night. These are great events to attend on your own.
Research shows that people that get outside frequently are happier than their indoor counterparts. Even simply looking at pictures of green trees and outdoor scenery can improve brain function and cognitive ability. You don’t need a buddy to join you on your walk, either. Get up early one day, load up a backpack with water and snacks, and lace up your hiking boots. Go for a long walk or hike on your own, and let your mind wander as you take in the world around you. Take deep breaths, smell the earth, and use this alone time to meditate on your thoughts.
Taking a trip by yourself is a big step towards independence, and can be a little scary if you’ve never done it before. However, think about all of the benefits you will incur: only managing your own schedule (and no one else’s), changing plans on a whim, staying out late (or leaving early), and socializing with new people. Traveling alone creates opportunities to problem solve and apply creative thinking. You may learn that you enjoy traveling alone just as much as you enjoy traveling with others - maybe even more!
Rather than feeling lonely, finding things to do by yourself is a great way to strengthen self connection and build your confidence. Create a positive mindset around alone time by thinking of it as a way to find balance, recharge your batteries, and understand your own personal desires and needs.
Remember that just because you’re alone, that doesn’t mean you are lonely!
[Credit: Long, Emily. “8 Things to Try Doing Alone This Year (You’ll Be Surprised by the Results)” Greatist.]