There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, but solitude can be a source of anxiety for many people. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Being around the people you care about most in the world is important for your wellbeing, but there is a lot of value with spending time with yourself, too. After all, you’re a great person to spend time with.
Being comfortably alone is an important life skill that can only be developed with practice. Keep reading for helpful tips on how to make the most of your time alone, and truly enjoy the time you spend solo.
1. Take It Slow
If you’re used to being around others nearly all the time, you won’t want to schedule a five day solo vacation tucked up in the mountains right away. Start small by spending an afternoon or evening on your own. Try reading a favorite book or scheming your family’s next Western Caribbean cruise adventure with no one else around to interrupt. It may take some time to come up with ways to entertain yourself and keep yourself busy without boredom or loneliness, so be patient with yourself.
2. Make Some Plans
Some approach alone time with no itinerary, but for people new to the experience, this can result in boredom or anxiety. Set up a few sure activities to do on your own, such as going for a walk, completing a project, watching a favorite show or preparing one of your favorite meals. Have a few options to choose from, so you’re not left wondering what to do with your time.
3. Enjoy Your Hobbies
Alone time is the perfect opportunity to really invest in the things that are most important to you. If it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a paintbrush, or your guitar has been collecting dust in the corner, pick up a favorite creative tool and get to work. Solitude gives you the chance to not only invest in a favorite activity, but improve and better your skills at it, too.
4. Do What You Like
When you’re on your own, you don’t have to run plans by anyone else. You can listen to what you like, leave when you’re ready, eat only what you want and do it all on your own time. Take advantage of being the only one in control of the remote or the spice level of your pasta sauce. It’s a great feeling to do exactly what you–and only you–enjoy.
It’s nice to stay connected to friends and loved ones, but constant connection can defeat the purpose of dedicated alone time. If possible, turn your phone or other devices off entirely. To really practice being by yourself, and enjoy it, you have to give yourself the chance to be truly alone with your own inner dialogue.
6. Go at Your Own Pace
Whether you’ve been waiting to check out a local exhibit at a gallery or visit a new consignment shop in town, go at it alone and make it happen at your own pace. It’s nice to have someone to discover something new with, but it isn’t often that you get to explore something on your own without worrying about if you’re taking things too fast or too slow for someone else.
7. Stay Positive
Your thoughts create your reality, so if your headspace is negative or filled with anxiety when you’re alone, it’s not likely to be a positive experience for you. Remind yourself that being alone is a good thing, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. The more you’re able to tell yourself that solitude is a positive thing for you, the easier it will be to feel as time goes on.
One of the best ways to enjoy being alone is to make it relaxing, restorative and filled with things that feel soothing and personal. Solitude can function as a respite from the stresses of everyday life, and it’s even more rewarding when you’re the one creating a positive, calming experience for yourself.