The past year and a half has been a major adjustment for everyone. For me, it meant a lot of personal change. I got divorced, moved into an apartment last January and started co-parenting. Being alone half the time has been…. well, an adjustment. I think this is the first time I’ve ever lived alone and so I’ve had to find ways to feel more comfortable alone. While I’d be lying if I didn’t say sometimes it’s honestly amazing to have quiet time without two kids — I mean really, what parent wouldn’t? — I also crave connection. That said, I’ve found incredible comfort and peace in my own presence and company this year.
I’ve realized there are ways that make me feel more comfortable and happy alone, and others that can make me feel well, much lonelier. Whether you’re living solo full-time or part-time, or whether you’re looking to better appreciate time just for you — which I honestly believe is critically important for every human — there are definitely ways to find comfort in solitude.
How to feel more comfortable being alone:
Music is my jam! That’s so cheesy but it’s true. The music adjusts to the mood. Sometimes it’s booty shakin’, other times it’s chill or country or I just find a random playlist via Spotify or Apple Music. Especially on spotify, the search feature is so good — genre, mood, and also podcasts, etc. It’s great background noise while doing things around my place, laundry, relaxing with a bath or outside with a glass of wine. Need an instant pick me up? Seriously: put on early 2000s jams or whatever you love. I’m instantly half dancing, so happy remembering all those songs…. I instantly feel more comfortable alone!
PUT DOWN THE PHONE / AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA
I know, you’re bored so you pick up your phone. I’m so guilty of it, too. But do I ever feel better? Rarely, and now I’ve also wasted hours of my life looking at other people’s (fake) lives. Funny/ridiculous when you consider it that way, right?
It’s one thing if you’re on Pinterest researching recipes or decor, it’s another if you’re on Facebook or Instagram and instantly subconsciously, or consciously comparing your life to others vacations, relationships, experiences. If you’re feeling left out, stressed or sad, step away. That is not their real lives and letting their fake lives make you sad isn’t OK. Put your phone in another room, put that music on, and take time to find another activity. Also: it’s a tip that’s been around forever, but put apps you’re trying to use less in a folder, and on the second or third page of your phone. We often open our phone and click an app open without realizing — I’m super guilty, and swiping before I realize what’s happening, lol. Doing this with a couple of apps has really helped me.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Take advantage of this time for you and move your body in a way that is FUN and JOYFUL for YOU. For me, sometimes that means a run/walk, other times it’s going to a workout class or doing one in my house with a few kettlebells, weights, a band, ankle weights, just your body weight or whatever (what I use). Or go for a walk on the beach, do a hike or walk around your community, go paddle boarding, or simply having a dance party in my apartment for 20-30 minutes – moving your body just makes us happier. Find what you like. I also enjoy going to a few local workout classes — it’s solo yet if you crave being around people, it’s a great way to engage with others and meet new friends with similar interests, too.
BE SELFISH WITH YOUR TIME
Hello, best part of living alone – you do what you want, when you want. With my kiddos here, we are either so busy or I’m making 94 snacks, cleaning, creating LEGO figures, you get the idea. My solo time is my time. Catch up on a project, spread out on the couch, grab lunch or dinner on your clock, go for a bike ride, you get the idea. I try to tackle one project or drawer each time I get a couple days. That could mean the underwear /bra drawer clean-out, that kitchen drawer or an entire room — zero pressure or guilt, just a little project that makes my place feel better.
EXPLORE AREAS NEAR YOU
Are you a victim of routine? Try mixing it up. I’ll go for a bike ride and just see where it takes me. If you’re in a warmer climate, head to that further-away beach you’ve been wanted to check out. Grab lunch at a new spot on your way back (Yelp is this best!). I even recently went about 30 minutes south for an outdoor lunch and then walked around and holy cow, the change of scenery, was so refreshing.
Don’t be afraid to explore. Check out that museum (I’m at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, in the pic above), visit art galleries, go for a stroll. Make a list on your phone of places, restaurants, areas, etc so when you have a free day, you’re not stressed about occupying your time – it’s all about having options ahead of time.
GO ON A SOLO DATE
Don’t be afraid to take yourself out. We’re adults, do what you want, without judgement or care. I don’t have my kiddos on Mondays and Tuesdays, which are quieter restaurant nights and I have two local spots where I feel safe and comfortable and the servers know me so I’ll sit and have a bite and drink. Sometimes I even run into someone. Or, if you’re anxious about going out solo, I love doing this: go to a restaurant and order takeout once you get there (instead of in advance)… then sit at the bar or outside with glass or wine or cocktail while it’s being prepared. It’s low stress, if you’re anxious you can say “oh just waiting for my takeout.” I’ve had such great conversations this way, and also just enjoyed people watching for 20 minutes, and then home with Netflix and a great meal.
I know being solo can feel isolating. When I’m feeling that way I do seek out activities like workout classes where I can be around others without pressure. Do what feels comfortable for you. And, would love to hear any other ideas you have to feel more comfortable solo!
Do you have any extra tips on how to be comfortable being alone? Let me know in a comment below!