Spending Time Alone
The idea of doing things alone is a frightening one for many, specifically adolescents. The stigma associated with simply going to a coffee shop or going shopping alone is reason enough for so many people my age to feel the need to call a friend before doing anything. It’s embarrassing for many 17 year old girls to grab a book, order a chai latte and sit down in public alone. Chances are you’ll catch her doing that thing where she looks up every 2 minutes in wonders of who is judging her– even though I proudly prefer to spend time alone, I admit to doing that also. Luckily this stigma has slowly started to diminish. It is definitely not as prevalent as it used to be thanks to the ubiquity of female independence that saturates media today…
Once you get over this stigma, do yourself a favor and make an effort to spend more time with yourself. Of course interacting with friends you love and having that desire to be surrounded by them 24/7 is amazing… But, there definitely comes a point and time when that dependence on others turns habitual. I can’t quite relate to that instance being that I am the polar opposite. I have always been a girl who insists on doing everything by myself. It takes a large amount of energy out of me to ask someone to tag along. Conversely, this can become a problem also. Allowing yourself too much alone time can result in an overwhelming amount of overthinking.
Too much of anything is not healthy- alone time included. Despite whatever end of the spectrum you deem yourself at, make sure to balance out your time with yourself and your time with friends and family. Once you’ve successfully balanced your time, make it an effort to allot yourself one day every once in a while to being by yourself. Yes, an entire day. That statement probably sounds consoling for some and terrifying for others…
Spending a day alone has proven to increase productivity, allow you to unwind your mind, think deeply, give chances to discover yourself, flourish your creativity, and become more relaxed in general.
In need of a plan for a day of solitude? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I dedicate these days to myself quite too often, and this is what I like to do:
Waking up early has never failed in instantly putting me a productive, positive mood from the second I roll out of bed. I’ve never been one to sleep in late, so 9 am is a pretty typical time for me to get up regardless. If your natural call time is in the p.m., at least make an effort to get up an hour or two earlier. You definitely don’t want to be grumpy by getting up too early.
Hands down, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Perhaps this is because it’s the only meal I can actually make somewhat decently. I have a few go-to breakfast dishes I usually resort to (clearly I have a sweet tooth and a passion for cinnamon). Most of the time I’ll make:
-Oatmeal: heat up 1/2 cup of oats, mash 1/2 of a banana, almond milk, and add lots of cinnamon on the stove and top it off with whatever fruit I have (frozen blueberries are a fave of mine)
-Banana smoothie: just 2 frozen bananas, almond milk, lots of cinnamon (again), and sometimes frozen strawberries if I’m in the mood
-Smoothie bowl: blend up 1/2 a frozen banana, a heap of frozen fruit (any kind), almond milk and top it with some fresh fruit and almond butter (my personal favorite)
To all those people who have said working out improves your mood: you were right. I used to never work out mostly because of time reasons, but recently I joined a gym and the feeling after a good workout is incomparable. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, take a jog, dust off your bike and take a ride, or even just walk for an hour or so. I promise, you’ll feel great.
Don’t just take one of those quick showers and throw on an outfit you picked out essentially blind-folded. Take your time. I find that I feel my best after getting ready at a steady pace, with some good music in the background, and my phone off to the side. And even if you’re not going anywhere fancy for the day still put thought into your outfit.
Being productive always improves my mood, and the best time to be productive is alone. Take a trip to a coffee shop, grab whatever schoolwork you have, order your favorite drink and revel in the next few hours you have all to yourself. Do me one favor: try not to look up and worry about who’s staring. Does it really matter? If you’re really concerned about seeing someone you know, drive an few extras miles and go somewhere no one else goes. You’ll get to experience a new place at the same time– definitely a win-win!
Once I’ve felt productive enough I usually like to recoup by shopping a bit. Go to your local thrift store and start digging! I usually like to go thrifting alone anyways because it allows me to focus more and not get distracted. Thrifting is a deep process people.
Now, I’m not telling you to not interact with anybody for the entire day. Around dinner time I’ll go home and spend some time with my fam and catch up with them. I’m not telling you to completely isolate yourself.
Finishing off the day by reading or watching something I love always ties up the loose ends of my day. During the summer I usually never force myself to go to sleep at a certain time. My rule is simple: whenever my eyes can’t stay open anymore– I shut the lights off. I’m not sure if this is “healthy” but I always find myself experiencing a smoother and better sleep when I don’t force shut eye on myself.