There are two kinds of people: those who draw energy from being around other people, and those who get that energy from being alone.
Okay, so some of us are also somewhere between the two.
I’ve always thought of myself as an extreme introvert, but these days I think I’m more of an extroverted introvert. I find that I rarely “need” or crave company.
We’re not always comfortable with solitude, yet there are so many ways to enjoy spending time alone, so many things to learn and discover. Things that you can only learn through solitude. If you’re one of those people who just can’t stand to be alone, if you’re afraid to try new things all by yourself, then I dedicate this post to you.
6 WAYS TO ENJOY SPENDING TIME ALONE
FIND A HOBBY
Some of you might know that I started this blog when I was struggling with depression. I was in school, working full-time, my husband (fiancé at the time) was running his own business and working pretty much 24/7, my mom, sister, and brother recently moved out-of-state. That obviously didn’t help things as I was alone, all the time. I was on awful meds that took my depression to a whole different level. Everything was a struggle, even getting out of bed in the morning; it seemed like no one understood me. Unless you struggled with depression, it’s pretty difficult to understand. You have people telling you to just “get over it” and unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. I’ve always felt that loneliness is one of the worst feelings us, as human beings can experience. Not having anyone to talk to, to hug, or have fun with, or to just hear you out. Whenever I had some free time, that loneliness was all I could think of. Sometimes you might even be surrounded by people, friends, family, and still feel alone.
My husband kept telling me “Paula, you need to find a hobby, find something to do.” I was the kind of person who felt that they’re just not good at anything. How can I find a hobby, when I’m not really good at anything? I never had any hobbies, things I liked to do, never thought of having a creative outlet. The only thing I really loved to do was read about all things related to beauty. I had all this makeup and skincare products I loved to play with, but no one to talk about it to. That’s when I came up with an idea to create a blog. Next, knowing nothing about it, I got into photography and found a passion for it- despite being completely clueless about it at first. Following that, I realized just how much joy writing has brought me, and there it was- yet another thing I fell in love with. All of a sudden, I didn’t even have time to think about being alone all the time, because I found things that brought me joy, things I loved doing and learning about. Every day, I had something to look forward to and that, helped me not only grow as a person, but it almost made me realize that I kind of love spending time alone when I get to do all these things I enjoy.
There is so much that life has to offer, so much we often take for granted. Finding a hobby can not only help you discover new passions or talents, but it can also help you feel less lonely. It’s a great way to befriend yourself, learn to have fun with yourself- you’re never less alone, than when alone. You have you.
USE YOUR ALONE TIME TO GROW
The great thing about living in today’s world is that we have unlimited resources to do all of those things. We can learn new things, grow and discover new passions or talents we never knew we had, all you really need is a laptop and an internet connection.
BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY
Creativity isn’t something you either have, or you don’t. It’s something we’re all born with. I remember always being jealous of my mom and husband who are both very talented when it comes to art, things like painting and drawing. I, on the other hand, suck at both and thus, never thought of myself as being a creative being. It wasn’t until I read Big Magic a few years ago (which is an amazing book that I think everyone should read!) that I realized we’re all creative beings. You can be creative in the way you dress, the way you cook, the way you do your makeup, the way you work, the way you raise your children- we’re all creative beings.
One of the best ways to enjoy spending time alone is having a creative outlet, boosting your creativity. Even if you think there isn’t anything creative you can do, I guarantee that there are a handful of things you do in your everyday life where you use your creativity. Things you do differently than others. I wrote an entire post (including exercises for boosting your creativity) which you can find right here.
GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
If you don’t like spending time alone, chances are you also can’t stand silence, or being still. Sometimes, being alone with your thoughts can be… a little intimidating. I’ve learned that one of the best ways to learn more about yourself, is by doing things that scare you- and that includes doing things alone. In my post about creativity, I talked about my fear of water and how taking a kayaking trip a few years back, which was traumatizing, to be honest (the water was only about 4-5 feet deep, mind you) changed my life. During that trip, I nearly had a panic attack when the water turned choppy and I was convinced I was going to die. I also almost crapped my pants. Silly, I know. Yes, I can swim, but water (any water that isn’t a pool) just terrifies me- I almost drowned twice when I was little, but that’s beside the point. It was that trip that inspired me to start writing about things like self-growth and that is something that helped me to get to myself a lot better.
TAKE YOURSELF OUT ON A DATE
Go to movies, grab dinner, go to your favorite coffee shop, all by yourself. Do some people watching. Doing these things alone might feel scary or a bit… awkward at first. But think about it. You can do whatever you want; you don’t have to debate and argue about which movie to see, where to go to eat, what to order or when to leave. The only person you have to make sure is having a good time is… well… you. You are the only person you have to worry about. Go where you want to go, see what you want to see, eat what you want to eat.
GET A LITTLE LOST
Try going for a long drive, or a walk and get lost a little. Explore new places, new stores, new towns. One of my favorite places to go and get lost in a bookstore. You can spend hours browsing, exploring- all while enjoying that beautiful smell of books (and freshly brewed coffee, my favorite combo). Turn off your phone, sit in a comfy chair, read, walk through the isles. Pick up random books to browse through. It’s great when you don’t have to worry about finding someone who has time to go with you, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can stay out longer because someone else has somewhere to be. Don’t be afraid to get lost a little- it can be so fun and refreshing.
Loneliness and spending time alone are two different things. I used to be terrified of doing things alone, all by myself. Even things as small as going grocery shopping would be uncomfortable while I was getting over my social anxiety. After I began to embrace my alone time, doing things by myself, everything changed. I don’t want to say that I’ve become a loner, but I can’t say that I don’t get excited when I sometimes get a call about canceled plans.
In life, you have to take some time to slow down, to stop, to re-evaluate some things, when you aren’t in a constant hurry. Silence, solitude, can be your best friends during those times. Don’t be afraid to embrace them.
Do you struggle with spending time alone? What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy spending time alone?