Alone Time: Falling In Love with Ourselves
As a society, we spend so much time impressing the importance of making connections with one another that we forget to nurture the most important connection of all: the one with ourselves.
I have never had a problem with being alone. Actually, I find that many people enjoy alone time, but the fear of being judged for spending time alone holds us back. What is it about being alone that is embarrassing, or that we, as a culture find sad? While loneliness is an epidemic in our country, there is a difference between being lonely and alone. I firmly believe that we, especially women, need solitude to process emotions, unstructured time to let the mind wander and to simply affirm sense of self.
Ladies, it's time we date ourselves. For many, time "alone" is treated as an unattainable luxury, however, I believe that these solo experiences don't have to cost money and are "doable" if you plan ahead.
Here are a few ideas on how to create space to spend time by yourself.
1) Opt outside.
Nature has incredible healing and renewing powers, but only if we create space for it. When was the last time you've seen the sun rise, went for a walk along a river or taken your painting materials and captured the scenery from a park? I encourage you to pack water, make a loose plan and carve out at least an hour to enjoy the sunshine! Check out Cincinnati Nature Center and Great Parks for more ideas.
2) Book a solo staycation.
I love a change of scenery, even if for just a day. I find that clearing my calendar and having a day of new experiences to be simply thrilling. If you are in Cincinnati, OH book a night with Red Whale Rentals in Mount Adams, enjoying coffee from Bow Tie Cafe and wandering the Cincinnati Art Museum. Can't do an overnight? Simply take a day trip to a quaint nearby town (consider Yellow Springs, OH or Madison, IN).
3) Travel on your own.
In 2019, I hopped on a flight to Paris, France the day after I quit my corporate job. I took myself on dates to restaurants like Tavline, aimlessly wandered Marché VERNAISON and popped into Hemingway's favorite bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. In the city of lights and love, I had never felt more in love with myself. Not quite ready to hop on an airplane solo? Check out AirBNB's "explore nearby" option for a few ideas for overnight getaways.
4) Go see a show by yourself.
This is a great first step for those exploring how to "date themselves." Whether it be a movie, concert or theater performance, enjoy alone time while getting lost in a storyline. Take it a step further and get there early to people watch and enjoy the previews. I personally love American Legacy Theater, movies at the Esquire and checking out free live music across the city.
5) Take yourself to dinner.
I love going to dinner by myself. I love experiencing the artform of food- the flavors, the visual representation, the discussions I have with myself. Start with a solo cup of coffee at Untaza and work your way up to "dinner for one." My favorite "date myself" memory was enjoying a 3-hour, 13-course dinner at Enoteca Paco Pérez in Barcelona, Spain. I had the room completely to myself, enjoying each dish while sipping on incredible wine and laughing with the wait staff. Later that evening I enjoyed a nightcap at Paradiso, a secret bar only accessible through a refrigerator in a Pastrami bar. I have a strict "no cellphone" policy with myself and force myself to simply "be"- this allows me to acknowledge the power -my power- in myself.
Pro-tip: In my early years of dating myself I used to bring a book to dinner to read to help curb false feelings of insecurity.
Remember: the most important investment you can make is the one in yourself. You are the only person who can prioritize your needs. Need childcare? Check out Sitting Made Simple. Make a plan to date yourself today!
What are your favorite "date yourself" activities?