When I was living in Sheffield, I was forced to learn how to be alone for the first time. Now I have come to believe that spending time by yourself is a very healthy habit for everyone to practise. So for today’s post, I have summed up some tips and activities on how to spend time alone.
You may also enjoy »Scotland Trip Highlights«,
in which I describe my first solo travel experience.
Why I spend time alone
As already mentioned, I was pushed into spending time alone when I moved abroad. Sometimes being alone happens involuntarily, like after breaking up with someone, or moving to a new place. In my case it mostly had to do with living abroad where my social network was different, and I no longer had a large pool of friends to choose from for my varying interests.
Although I didn’t have much of a choice at the time, I have also come to think it is healthy to have your own interests and to be able to entertain yourself. It can take a lot to become comfortable with yourself in that way, and I know that for many people it doesn’t come naturally. However, the benefits of learning to be alone can be quite good, as you will also feel less dependent on others for quality time.
Activities I like to do alone
As much as I am an extravert, I still need to build in alone time for myself because my mental health requires it. I also haven’t been in a relationship for a long time, and weirdly enough I have only recently come to realise how much that affects how I fill my time. So, here are some of the activities I like to do alone.
Reading, for perfectly logical and logistic reasons, is one of the best activities to do alone. It doesn’t take much energy or effort (unless you’re not much of a reader, I suppose) and books are all around you! The real challenge is to step outside the house with your book. Read at a café, the local library, or at the park.
I started going to cinema a lot when I was in Sheffield. There were usually plenty of interesting screenings near me, and tickets were cheap, too. However, I didn’t always have someone to go with, so I just started going on my own! It is one of the most comfortable experiences you could have solo.
Going for a walk
I used to not go for walks unless they had a purpose, for example getting to cinema or a shop. Recently though, I have been trying to teach myself to get out in the fresh air just for the sake of it. This mostly started as a way to explore the city, but I do find myself going out for short walks more often now. Sometimes I bring my camera and make a photography trip out of it!
One of my favourite winter activities is sitting down for a good puzzle. I used to do this with friends or family, but as I am now living more independently, this winter I took on the challenge just by myself. I usually get so focused I completely lose track of time.
Listening to podcasts
I wouldn’t just sit and passively listen to a podcast as an activity by itself, but I do enjoy it whilst doing other things. While I’m puzzling, for example. I also entertain myself with podcasts whilst cooking, cleaning, and whenever I travel. Listening to podcasts makes me feel so much less lonely, not just as a distracting factor, but mostly because a good host will make you feel very comfortable. My favourites are Gilmore Guys, Potterless, and Ted Talks Daily.
One of my favourite ways to end a day is to pop on some good music and just sing along. It can be a total mood changer, and you get to relief some stress and energy too! In fact, I think I much prefer this activity by myself than in the company of others.
This one lines up with my previous tip. Dancing has been a hobby of mine for a very long time, and it helps me let go of emotions a lot. So, much like singing, I like to go all out after a long day!
Last but not least, writing is of course one of the many activities suited for quality alone time. I spend a few hours a week writing for my blog, but then I also keep a diary every day.
All of the things above I feel free to do on my own without any concern. Getting out in public by myself was probably the most difficult to get over, as I’ve got some issues with social anxiety too, but eventually I conquered my fears.
Nevertheless, there will always be activities you won’t enjoy doing alone. That is completely fine, of course. Personally, I would never go out for an evening drink on my own. I also haven’t enjoyed seeing bands by myself much. It made me feel massively uncomfortable and tense. However, it’s important not to let negative experiences get in your way. Just try something else next time.
Tips for spending time alone
Perhaps you need a little push to get started, so here are some tips that helped me:
- Keep a schedule of your week and spot any gaps where you might be spending time by yourself. Consider how you will fill this time.
- Come up with a list of things you could do by yourself and keep these as back-up activities; this can be useful for whenever you are faced with unplanned alone time.
- Keeping a diary may help you get things off your chest or process any thoughts you haven’t been able to discuss with someone.
- The biggest hurdle at the start might be going out on your own in public. This can be somewhat intimidating, but it will fade over time.
- Try lots of new stuff! There are a million things out there for you to try, you just need to give it a go.
How do you like to spend time alone?
I asked this question on Twitter and got the following suggestions: reading, drawing, painting, walks in the forest, shopping, and singing. Perhaps there’s something in there for you to give a go!
Let me know what things you already enjoy doing by yourself, and what things you would be willing to try. Drop your suggestions in the comment section down below, or Tweet me.
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