Are you the type of person who only does certain activities with others, but never gets to do them because other people aren’t interested or too busy? Well, this post is definitely for you.
For some, doing things alone is nothing much but for most of us, it’s a (HUGE) deal. People usually won’t spend time with themselves for two reasons: they think it’s more fun to do things with other people (which is true sometimes) and they are afraid to. If you look deep down inside it’s probably the latter.
Although I consider myself a very independent person, doing (fun) stuff along didn’t come naturally to me… At first, I was super self-conscious and thought everyone was constantly looking at me (and judging me…). It felt weird and uncomfortable (what the hell should you do with your hands anyway, right?).
Eventually, It all changed when I realized three important truths. First of all, nobody’s looking at you- people are so self-absorbed that they couldn’t be bothered. Second, you shouldn’t care what other people think of you. You should only care what you think of you (and maybe of them… lol). And finally, being a strong, independent woman who takes care of herself is a reason to be proud of and not ashamed of. Don’t you agree?
Actually, in today’s 24/7 connected world it seems finding solitude has become a lost art. I think it’s because most people confuse solitude with loneliness. Well you know I’m not talking about sitting alone in the dark in your parent’s basement, crying into your pillow, right? I’m talking about spending healthy quality time with ourselves.
You come home, make some tea, sit down in your armchair, and all around you is silence. Everyone decides for themselves whether that’s loneliness or freedom | Unknown
Sure, we go places by ourselves all the time –the grocery store, the mall, driving to pick someone up, but – these are tasks and NOT dates! If you wouldn’t want your partner taking you to the supermarket on your weekly date night – you shouldn’t do it to yourself either.
I know this whole idea may sound a bit intimidating at first or maybe even pointless because why should you spend an evening alone if you can go on a date or hang out with friends.
A couple of years ago I also found this concept a bit strange because of the whole “happiness is only real when shared” crap people sell you. But in fact, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone.
Step outside your comfort zone because that’s the only way you’re going to grow | Madeline Brewer
Spending time alone strengthens your sense of independence and confidence (which can help you build mental strength), it pushes you outside of your comfort zone (which is always a good idea) and it can spark creativity.
Alone time will allow you to recharge, to reset your mind, unwind and relax without the pressure of the environment. And it’s a great opportunity to think about and plan your life, to be mindful of the present moment and be able to make more conscious choices.
Dating yourself will help you to connect with who you are and will teach you valuable things about yourself (which will lead to personal growth). Plus, you can do whatever the hell you want (which is always fun).
But most important, it’s declaring to yourself and the world you are taking care of yourself and showing yourself love which is extremely important.
Ok. you’ve decided to take the plunge and ask yourself out on a date. What now?
Dedicate a specific day and time for your date as you would do with another person. Put it in the calendar and make sure to follow through – It’s really easy to flake out (or chicken out) when no one else is involved.
Of course, if you’re feeling spontaneous and want to take yourself on an impromptu date be my guest.
Plan this date night like any other. The plus side? You can do whatever YOU want to do, without compromising or making adjustments to anybody’s mood, desires or schedule. It’s your night baby so choose your activity by whatever you feel like.
Dating yourself doesn’t mean you can (or should) do it in your sweatpants and a hair bun because nobody’s watching. On the contrary, show up for yourself. Take a shower (even shave your legs for the good feeling), put on makeup and something pretty and comfortable. Do whatever makes you feel “your best you” – some lipstick? Your favorite pair of shoes?
Trust me, when you treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve (and expect from others) you’ll feel 10 times better. Show up to this date like you would for someone you’re trying to impress because you’re dating a very important person, remember?
First, take a deep breath. Although it may seem like it at first I assure you everybody is not looking at you. Stop thinking about what anyone else is thinking of you (it doesn’t matter and also it’s nothing bad) and just relax, and enjoy yourself. Be present at the moment. Be in a Leisure state of mind.
Pro Tip: If this is your first time and you’re afraid it might feel a little awkward – come prepared by bringing a book, journal or a magazine. Try not to go to your default cellphone staring (you can do that back home).
Here are some fun ideas for your uno quality time. Basically, this should be anything that makes you happy or anything you ever wanted to do but didn’t have the company.
Well, a girl’s gotta eat, right? Why not make it a date night? Who says you can’t take yourself out to a nice meal and maybe even order a nice glass of wine?
Because it’s a special occasion you can treat yourself to things you usually don’t eat (Cheat meal anyone?). If you can do this during the weekend it’s even better because you can enjoy a long lazy meal of chilling out and because well, weekend brunches are the best!
I love movies and seeing them in the movie theater is a whole different experience than on your laptop/TV. It might be weird at first but once the theater goes dark nobody will see you anyway so no occurred stares. Plus, you don’t need to share your popcorn with anyone.
It’s a fun easy way to “escape” life for an hour or two. P.s the same goes for a theater show etc.
I don’t mean workout (although it’s also a great self-care solo activity). I mean go outside and be one with mama nature – whatever that means to you (the beach, the woods or the local park). Go for a little walk, enjoy the (hopefully) sunshine and quietness.
It’s a great opportunity for quality alone time and some people watching. Music is a great addition but no phones!
Related: 10 ways of self-care to beat the winter blues
There is something magical and therapeutic about seeing the sun come up first thing in the morning, or when it goes down at dusk. Think of the best location near you to enjoy a sunrise/sunset and take yourself there with a hot cup of beverage to start/end the day with. It’s an amazing opportunity to contemplate life and unwind.
Reading is an activity that usually falls between the cracks of free time – we all say we want to read more but usually can’t find the time for that. That’s why it’s the perfect solo date (especially for beginners).
Go to your favorite bookstore and spend the appropriate amount of time picking the perfect book. Once you found your treasure take yourself to a nice, quiet café, grab a drink and allow yourself to get lost in the book.
Related: My top 5 best happiness books to read for some inspiration this year
If we’re already being so sophisticated a museum or an art gallery is a great day date. The plus is you can go at your own pace without feeling rushed or needed to wait on someone. You can check out if there are any special exhibitions/lectures or events that day or just finish off with a nice lunch (yes, food is a reoccurring motif, I know...)
I love picnics as they combine my two loves – food and being outdoors. If the weather permits take yourself on a picnic to a local park, the beach or a pocket garden near you. You can pack some snacks or just grab a takeaway from your favorite place. You can combine it with the sunset/your favorite book/listening to a podcast or some music or just enjoy your quiet time.
Here’s the best part: this is a perfect date time on weekends, your day off or at lunch from work. It doesn’t have to be long but enjoying your meal outside in the sun will do wonders for your mood.
Related: 25 Fun summer leisure ideas under 25$
I think retail therapy should be recognized as part of our health insurance with its mental benefits LOL. Go out and buy yourself (!) something nice. Not something you need, something you want. Try something you never dared to or just something different (because no one else is judging you or telling you-you can’t pull it off).
Pro tip: If you extra serious about dating yourself – pick yourself some flowers on the way home. Don’t wait until someone else buys them for you – it’s not the same.
Take advantage of the time you partner/roommates/parents/cat is out of the house and throw yourself a little party of one. If you live alone and think this is just a regular Tuesday night for you – it’s not.
Related: 20 Fun (& Affordable) Indoor winter activities
Make your time alone at home special. Treat yourself to a dish that only you love or you usually don’t cook (lazy much?) or order in, pair that with a little Netflix binging (of YOUR favorite show) and maybe some great wine and it’s the perfect night!
Need I say more?! Oh yeah. Try to cherish this solo time and unplug. Yes, yes – a whole night free from phones, Instagram feeds, Facebook posts or anything like that.
This may sound like advanced level solo time to you but it’s actually the easiest of them all. Yes, it may sound scary to travel alone but it’s also really rewarding – it’s truly the fastest and easiest way to get to know yourself better.
It’s also a great way to make new friends, have awesome experiences AND you can do all 9 suggestions above because somehow all these things are easier abroad… It doesn’t have to be a long vacation (weekend getaway is always a good idea) but it has to be all about you. and NO, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary).
Related: 7 reasons why traveling in your 30s is a great idea
Pro tip: the first time you hear “a table for 1?” can be a little daunting. Take a deep breath – you have nothing to feel embarrassed, self-conscious or weird about. If you’re still feeling uncomfortable just remind yourself that “you’re safe, you’re doing ok, you deserve this’.
So next time you go out on a date with yourself raise your chin up high and be proud of your (own) company.
Tell me, do you ever go on dates with yourself? Do you find it easy and natural or super uncomfortable? Which dates are you more likely to try? Would love to hear from you in the comments.
P.s – If you want to explore more of this journey back to yourself and increase your confidence around it – you’re more than welcome to hop on a complimentary free call with me and see how I can support you through this. Just click the link here to book a free call with me!
Love this post! Loving ourselves is so important and I totally agree that dating yourself is a lot of fun! I love taking myself out for coffee and breakfast dates, and it feels even more indulgent when you’re by yourself. Besides, you don’t have to share!
YES Tessa! thanks so much! breakfast or coffee are my favorites as well!!! (I don’t like to share my food as well hahaha)
I really liked the bookstore idea. The other ideas I’ve been already doing because I’ve been single for a while now lol. I work as a traveling therapist, so I do most of my activities alone, although some time I meet up with coworkers. But I loved how you put into words all these great ideas and how well you explained “Dating yourself”. Loved it! Thank you Jeni.
Thanks so much, Patty! and yes, for sure – as the first and most important relationship is with ourselves we have to make an effort and date ourselves first!
Love this article. 🙂 Stumbled on it while researching about dating yourself and I’m excited to implement things from this article in my life.
Hey Mahogany, so happy to hear that!! hope you have a great time with yourself!
I liked this aritle. I makes so much sense and I plan on doing some of these things.
YAY Josefina! so happy to hear this! Enjoy on your dates 🙂
I’ve recently decided to start dating myself. I don’t really know who I am so this is perfect. I’m so excited to find out the real me and even more excited for the process xx
Chelle!! yes! this is such a beautiful start in your journey back to yourslef! I’m excited for you!!