Just imagine your “Ride or Die” BFF has relocated 300 miles away and you find yourself at home, binge-watching Netflix every weekend. Can you see yourself subjected to such a situation? Well, it’s happening every day in one way or another to people just like you. In such cases, you find yourself forsaking new experiences, adventures, and even new people, because it is inconvenient, or out of habit or maybe because you have grown afraid to do things alone. Sounds silly, right? Quite often, we find ourselves stuck in a pattern of only doing new things, or having fun or going out with friends – which is fine, but in this day and time, it just isn’t realistic. It just so happens that alone time is therapeutic, it is essential to our overall well being. How often do you take yourself on a “date” or try something new, totally alone, by yourself, for yourself?
Personally, I find that I LOVE spending time alone, being alone (big Capricorn energy). While I absolutely cherish time spent with my besties, sometimes I crave special moments of solitude, enjoying myself alone. At least once a week, I try to plan time for myself. It may be something simple like going for a walk or going to the bookstore or maybe treating myself to always joyful shoe shopping. Recently, I traveled alone to a conference and had the most fulfilling time in the airport, with my noise-canceling headphones, in my own world! I got to the airport early and had a great time exploring the airport alone. I’d occasionally make eye contact or share a smile, and even briefly chat with people here and there, but for the most part, the quiet time by myself was most enjoyable. I understand how some people don’t feel free or comfortable going shopping, catching a bite to eat, or going to the movies alone. But I have difficulty understanding why? Could it possibly be a fear of seeming lonely to others? Being seen as too shy to socialize with new people? Or could it be that we are so conditioned to travel in packs with our homegirls, that we forget that we can do things by ourselves? But that voice in one’s head that focuses on what some stranger may be thinking or whispering is totally foreign to me. Someone once suggested that when we spend too much time judging others and whispering critical judgments of strangers, we can get caught up with the misguided assumption that others spend time doing that themselves. It seems strange to me but just saying. Part of really loving and taking care of yourself is learning to truly enjoy your own company, developing your own voice, and nurturing a positive outlook and spirit.
Girl, you must learn just how freeing it is to roll solo? Like really solo-dolo out here in these streets? Still Not convinced? I’ve rounded up a few reasons why kicking it alone is the ultimate wave in self-care.
You Can Do Whatever You Want
It is undeniable that we all love a good girls’ trip of planned activities, but one of the great things about being alone is spontaneity. You can do absolutely whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. Every group of friends has the homie who doesn’t want to go here or doesn’t feel like doing that, well, when you spend time alone, you eliminate all that. If you want to spend two hours in Forever21 without anyone bothering you about taking too long, you can do that. If you want to stop in a new bar for a quick sip of something yummy, without having to negotiate whether this is a good spot to grab a drink, you can do that too, no objections!
Practice Not Giving a F*CK
As suggested earlier, sometimes we can feel a little insecure going out alone. I’ve had people tell me that they find it odd that I can go somewhere and eat alone and that when they do that, they feel paranoid, that “people were looking at them.” Well, my first advice is, *eff* what people think. They don’t know you or your life. Second, people are not judging you for being out in public alone. And if they are, then they’re weird and need to get a life, find a hobby or something, instead of worrying about other people, tending to their own business living their own life. I know that it can feel awkward to be out in public or engaged in a social setting without any “barriers,” such as being glued to your phone, talking to a friend, or reading. But try committing yourself to practice being in the moment, alone, just enjoying time by yourself. When you really are having a great time alone, the concern whether others may think of you as lonely, or antisocial or a strange introvert will simply vanish…. and go away.
Rolling solo can be a great way to recharge your mind. Without the natural distractions of any other person with you, you can actually think and clear your mind. You can soak in surroundings and absorb the atmosphere. When we find ourselves in the company of others constantly, whether it’s friends, family, or coworkers, you naturally project a certain version of yourself, with a range of behavior that’s based on who you’re with. That can be exhausting. When you travel alone or go out alone, you can just be yourself, or not, without regard for impressions, or judgments you may feel the need to live down or live up to. While recharging, you can find clarity and inspiration. I do some of my best, most creative thinking when I’m out of a drive or going for a walk alone. Your mind welcomes the freedom to just wander.
Get Lost on Purpose
Whether you are traveling in a new city or country, getting lost can sometimes be a good thing. Of course, when you travel alone you always have to be attentive and alert, especially if it’s a place you’ve never been to before. Always be careful and protect yourself. But, while exploring new places, you should wander, wherever you want to go, without interjections from anyone else. You can find all types of things while “being lost,” like a new store, restaurant, or nail shop. Sometimes we tend to only go explore new cities when we are with others, but it really can be just as much fun going alone. I live in a large city, and I would never have gotten to really fall in love with the area if I hadn’t wandered around when first moving here. Getting lost on purpose really helped me to dive into my surroundings.
Strengthen Other Relationships
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, so give one another some space. Spending time alone, away from your go-to squad gives you a bit of a refresher. It’s okay to miss one another from time to time. In the meantime, you can get your alone time on and poppin’. Spending time by yourself allows you to get in touch with what you like to do, what you think is fun, as opposed to thoughtlessly following and just going with the flow of what others want to do. The fact is, you cannot pour from an empty cup – meaning, you cannot keep giving yourself to others and constantly depleting yourself. You need that time to build yourself back up and have some private self-care time. Alone time helps you to strengthen yourself, which in turn makes you a better friend, partner, etc.
Try to unlearn the habit of only going somewhere when you have company. Learn to wander, and explore, discover the you that loves and cherishes the you that makes your world go round. Going out alone should feel familiar and welcome to you at any moment you can capture. You can be an introvert and go out to social settings alone and expand your horizons, embrace the experience, and enjoy yourself. It may take some getting used to, but it’s so worth it. What are some ways you spend time alone? Let us know in the comments!
Courtney D. Johnson is a fashion industry professional, or “pro-fashion-al” as she likes to call it, a freelance stylist, and writer. She is a published and award-winning fashion scholar and researcher, and a proud HBCU alumna. Courtney loves to research and write about Black beauty, style, and culture, as well as being an advocate for mental health. She is a proud auntie who loves to spend time with her nieces and nephews, friends, and family as much as she can. Courtney currently resides in the greatest city in the world, New Orleans, LA. Follow her on Instagram @_xoxocourtney