Only the lonely

We’ve probably all experienced times when through circumstance or choice, we’ve spent periods of time alone. If it’s by choice, then it’s probably not an issue but if you’re not used to spending time alone, it can be dislocating and daunting.

A lot of people bounce from relationship to relationship simply to avoid being alone. But whether you’re in a relationship or not, it’s not just physically being alone that’s the issue. You can still feel lonely even if you’re not on your own. Even in this hyper-connected age, various studies are confirming that the numbers of people experiencing loneliness is in fact growing.

It’s completely empowering learning how to be alone but not lonely. There are obvious options such as pampering yourself with long hot baths and being completely self-indulgent – walking around in your pajamas all day while eating ice cream straight from the tub type behaviour – but there are better ways to spend time on your own.

  • Go to a movie. On your own? Cringe. But why not? Watching a movie is a completely solitary act anyway so why not huddle down in a theatre with a coffee and while away a few hours?
  • Go for a walk. Somewhere new. Somewhere you’ve driven past and thought, I must do that walk one day. Tell someone where you’re going then just enjoy the adventure.
  • Visit an art gallery or two. Again, a purely individual experience so why not go alone?
  • Try your hand at writing. A short story, a poem or journal writing about recent experiences. Writing helps to process your thoughts and emotions and is an easy creative outlet to try.
  • Buy a cheap artist canvas and splash some paint around. Being creative is not just for kids. Pick colours that you find uplifting/relaxing.
  • Read. Treat yourself to a new magazine or swap with a friend and lose yourself in a myriad of new ideas, new recipes, new travel destinations. Be inspired.
  • Make ahead. If you never seem to have time to make those healthy soups you crave, set aside an afternoon to chop vegetables, make stock and then fill your freezer with soup for cooler months. If you have too much, drop some around to a neighbour. Social interaction is good too!

Being alone doesn’t have to be a negative experience. In fact when you’re surrounded by demanding people all day, it can be invigorating and restorative. But beyond that, being happy with your own company¬† builds resilience and self-belief.

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