Doing things alone can seem like a daunting task if you’re not well-aquatinted with solo time.
Whether it’s worries about feeling awkward, looking lost (or weird!) or being approached, spending time by yourself can take some getting used to at first.
We’re not just talking about time spent in your house, curled up in your pjs with Netflix. We’re talking about venturing into the outside world and doing something on your own because you want to.
Time spent by yourself is a great opportunity to learn more about what you do and don’t like. You can focus on your own interests and work on building your independence and confidence. Plus it’s fun!
I’ve always enjoyed my own company but the first time I took myself out for lunch I was very aware of myself.
I think a core concern about time spent alone is the hyper-awareness of your own actions – and thinking that other people have the same heightened perception of you too.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You may get the odd person who gives you a second glance – but it’s very rare someone will ask more than a passing question about you being alone. People really don’t care that much about what you’re doing.
This year I have fully embraced spending time with by myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing friends and family. However, I also think it’s important to dedicate the same effort to myself. I want to learn what I am capable of, how I respond to situations and continue growing my confidence – and these are things you can only really do alone.
Once you’ve spent time solo travelling it becomes very normal to do anything and everything by yourself. So, if you’re trying to get more comfortable doing things on your own, here’s a few tips that I’ve learned along the way!
Sit with the awkwardness
The first couple of times you do something or go somewhere alone, you may feel awkward. It’s pretty natural if you’re used to always being with someone or chatting to fill the silence.
The quickest way to get around this awkwardness is just to allow yourself to feel it, but also examine it.
Why do you feel uncomfortable? Is what you’re worrying about actually happening? For example, you might think everyone’s noticing you’re alone or staring at you – but are they really?
If you allow any awkward feeling to stop being a scary or negative emotion then you can start to ride it out. It will pass – especially as you spend more time doing things alone.
Bring something to do
Sometimes I love sitting in a coffee shop and just taking in what’s going on around me without any pressure to do something. Other times, I need something to focus on to actually relax.
Spending time by yourself doesn’t mean you can’t do an activity or speak to other people – it perfectly lends itself towards just that!
Keep an idea of something you can do, almost as a ‘backup’. It could be taking a book or notepad, planning to write a blog or downloading a podcast. Time alone is for you to enjoy however you like!
Take small steps
You don’t have to walk out the door straight into a week of solo travel if you’re not ready for it.
Take little steps by doing things that you already enjoy doing or that people are used to seeing others do alone such as spending time at a coffee shop, going for a walk outside, wandering around a museum or going to the cinema. Don’t overcommit yourself if you don’t feel comfortable.
Once you’re used to time spent alone, it’ll be a lot easier to spend more time and do more adventurous things too!
Enjoy the freedom
Instead of trying to justify why you’re alone or focusing on where you’re heading next, try and enjoy the freedom in the moment. Soak up what’s going on around you and use it as a moment to pause.
Time spent alone can be a great, mindful activity as you’re more open to what’s happening around you and how you’re feeling when you’re not focused on another individual.
Understand why you’ve chosen to do it
People like spending time alone for so many different reasons. It can help to build your confidence to be by yourself if you recognise why you are.
Some people just enjoy their own company – but it may be that you’re looking to understand yourself a bit more or you want to do activities that others aren’t interested in.
Whatever it is, having your own personal reason for doing it can help the time alone to feel less like a random or forced occurrence and more like an active choice. It can be quite an empowering feeling!
Do you have any advice for starting to spend time alone? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Photo credit: Madison Brooke