By: Zara Rawoof
The post-holiday winter months can leave you feeling cold and solemn, wanting nothing more than only a hug to keep you warm until the spring. In autumn, there’s an idea of “cuffing season,” where new relationships sprout as the leaves fall. Summer lovin’ is on everyone’s bucket list as school rings out. Truthfully, there always seems to be some reason to feel you should be in a relationship. The need for companionship was a motivating factor during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as everyone adapted to a lifestyle of masks and social distancing. But with the romanticization of romance, the realities of heartbreak, arguments, and stress in relationships are swept under the rug. It’s easy to announce your desire for a significant other, but a relationship takes work. So many relationships fail because people tend to neglect the most importantly human connection they can have: their relationship with themselves. Before you can show someone else love, you must be able to value yourself. Even if you aren’t looking for an external partner, spending time with yourself is healing for the mind and soul.
Distractions, worries, and countless other thoughts cloud our minds constantly. For many, the concept of meditation can seem impossible with the amount of endless noise rattling through one’s brain. This is why one of the most important initial steps hanging out on your own is reintroducing yourself to… yourself! Using this concept as a mental checkpoint, focusing your mind on getting to know what is currently going on in your life, will remind you of your passions, places you’ve wanted to visit, and the current stressors in your life. Just like with any other friend, taking the time to understand who you really are will only help you spend time doing what you love.
Having fun by yourself looks different for everyone. Sometimes it’s strolling mindlessly around a Barnes & Noble or taking yourself out to brunch. But staying in can be just as fun alone as it would be with a friend. One of the biggest differences between doing things alone versus with loved ones is the effort we put into creating experiences. If you decide on a movie night with the group, you might order in, create a snack station, or turn your room into a fairy light fortress perfect for whimsically lounging around. A narrative has been created in our heads that it’s only when others around these extra steps need to be taken for creating memories. But why shouldn’t you break out the blanket tents and mini snack stations for yourself? These elevations to your experiences make alone time seem a little more appealing.
Maybe you’ve decided on the perfect thing to do alone, but the idea of what to do when you’re there can be daunting. With people around, conversation flows easily and time flies by. Alone, overthinking and more time to spend unattended with your thoughts can lead you down a dark rabbit hole. In these moments of isolation, focus on what’s around you to enjoy yourself. If you are out on a hike, feel the crunch of the leaves under your shoes and the cool, crisp air that flows in and out of your lungs. Your surroundings will keep you company no matter where you are. It’s vital to take the time to appreciate it.
The frequent desire to be around other people can often mean you require the exact opposite. It can be a sign spending time alone is just what the doctor prescribed. The only person guaranteed to be a constant in your life is you. That’s why it’s so important to treat yourself with the same amount of love and respect you would give to a loyal friend. Spending time alone can lead to adventures that won’t be held back by anyone else’s requirements. You are bound to be more explorative on journeys alone when you’re the only possible reason for limitations. Turn moments into memories full of pure happiness and gratitude because the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you can have!