Today, I decide to step out! I took myself on a date. I realize this may sound super dorky. You're probably thinking that I must be pretty weird and very lonely. Interestingly enough, I was way lonelier before I started spending time alone. The feeling of being so uncomfortable in my skin and feeling like I needed to be around people all the time to take a deep breath -- that was loneliness.
I just did it. And let go of trying to look "cool." Pulling out a Nike cliché here -- but "Just Do It." That was my approach. It's pretty awkward the first time you go to the movies alone and are sitting there and your bag is in the seat adjacent, and you're pretending to the others in the theater that your boyfriend is just getting refreshments and should be here shortly. Face it, you're just there alone. The awkwardness will pass -- and so will the fear of what other people think of your alone-time. Give up trying to look "cool" to others. Chances are, you'll never see these strangers again and they probably wish they could ditch the chatty Kathy they chose to see the movie with and be where you are.
Make a list of your favorite things. And don't wait for anyone.
I realized I should maybe start spending time alone when I had all these things I wanted to do but never did them because friends were always busy or had other plans. If your favorite band is playing a one-night only concert and none of your friends are free, don't lose the opportunity to do one of your dream activities. We could wait forever for other people to be available, and in the end realize we missed out on thing we love. Plus, making plans for one is a lot fewer back and forth texts (and damned group chats). So take out a piece of paper and make a list of every single thing you love to do but sometimes don't do because you don't have anyone to do it with. That excuse is no longer valid.
Everyone’s talking about self-care. It’s all over social media as #selfcare and it’s popping up on blogs and in workshops. Self-care may be a trend, but it’s one that’s much needed!
What is self-care, anyway?
Self-care is exactly what it sounds like: taking care of oneself. It’s any activity or practice that’s embraced solely for the purpose of one’s well being. Self-care comes in all forms. Exercise, meditating, spending time in nature, oil pulling, or treating oneself to a facial. It’s not one specific practice, but anything done to nourish the body or mind.
Take a self-care trip.
Taking a self-care trip can make a huge difference in your life. Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed, getting away for a weekend every now and then can help you disconnect, relax, and be rejuvenated. These self-care trips don’t have to be costly; simply drive to the next town over and see the sights, or go camping nearby. The goal is to veer away from your normal schedule and take the time to do something just for yourself.
Take a self-care break by getting outside.
Spending time outside can help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and be more mindful. Studies have even shown that getting outside can help reduce fatigue, making it a great way to overcome symptoms of burnout. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you do some physical activity, like hiking or walking, while you are outside.
In today’s fast-paced world, we tend to turn to our phones for entertainment or comfort, scrolling through news feeds that can contribute to our stress and anxiety rather than helping it. Instead, consider bringing a book with you when you leave the house. Even better, bring books on self-care, so that you can learn more about how to take care of yourself while you are taking care of yourself. You might be amazed at the difference it can make when you slow down instead of always looking at your phone. Not only can it help improve your mood, but it can also help you to stay more present and mindful.