recipe for having a great time alone

Earlier in my blogging days, I wrote a post about the difference between lonely and alone (read it here).

This absolutely beautiful poem by Andrea Davis changed my views on being alone. I was always self-conscious about it, but now I embrace it. Read the words to the poem when you’re done.

This may not be a “recipe” per se, but these are some suggestions that I have found very enjoyable in my times alone. I hope you find how beautiful, refreshing, and rewarding time alone can be. (If you are a visual person, scroll all the way to the bottom of this post and read the last paragraph to see pictures instead!)

  • If it is a school night, try to do something technically “productive” during the day (homework, cleaning, studying, what have you) because it makes “doing nothing” at night feel that much more well deserved and carefree.
  • Do something different food wise – break your routine and eat something special! If you usually pick up food to go, cook a meal for yourself and if you usually cook, treat yourself to some delivery. Thanks to Pinterest, we now have access to a million new recipes we never knew existed. The sheer number of Nutella recipes alone could keep you practicing your culinary prowess for the entire weekend.
  • Never skip dessert.
  • Do “one of those things” you always want to do, but never get around to because you “never have the time” and I know you know what I’m talking about because everyone has a list like this in their head, even if it isn’t written down.
  • Clean something. It doesn’t have to be a huge project, and you definitely don’t need to go all out and clean your whole room (although you could), but put something away and tidy up some area. It totally clears head space and makes the night feel productive.
  • Watch a movie. I love doing this alone because I am a talker and I don’t  have to worry about annoying everyone around me as I ask a million questions during the movie. I also require captions because I don’t have that great of hearing, so I can watch a movie to my own specifications.
  • Pull a subject and read way too much about it in depth on the internet, enter a virtual vacuum, acquire some interesting but completely unnecessary knowledge about a random topic. For example, one time I read articles on the Roman Colosseum for an hour until I felt like an expert on the topic.
  • Definitely take a long and relaxing shower.
  • Stay away from things you know will stress you out, like school, contact with people, social media. Whatever it is–take a break.
  • Treat yourself and have a spa night. Shower using cleansers and scrubs. Moisturize your skin and put product in your hair. Blow dry it or let it dry naturally. Curl it, straighten it or style it. Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure. Give yourself a foot massage. Take a soothing bath using bath bombs and/or bath salts. This will relax you and help you sleep easier, as well as looking fantastic the following morning
  • Go on a date with yourself. Take yourself out for lunch. Go to one of your favorite restaurants and order the meal you’ve been craving. Bring a book along if you’d like, or enjoy your meal while people-watching. Asking for a table for one at a fancy restaurant is a uniquely terrifying experience. Grabbing a seat at the counter of your neighborhood diner, ordering pancakes, and paging through the Sunday paper? Not nearly as intimidating, and also a really fun way to start your day. Sit at the bar for dinner with a good book and a glass of wine.
  • Find a new coffee shop and people watch. No, Starbucks doesn’t count. Find a different coffee shop that you’ve never been to or even a diner—some place that people gather to hang out. Bring a book to read if you’d like.
  • Put together a jammin’ playlist, and rock out in your room. Jump on the bed, run around, and groove the best way you know how. Don’t be shy; channel your inner hip-hop dancer! Better yet, make up a dance, and teach it to your friends and family later.
  • Hit up Netflix and watch the whole season of your favorite show for a personal marathon or find a show you’ve been meaning to catch, but have never gotten around to watching. My personal favorites are Fringe, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Once Upon a Time!
  • Do an art project. Modge podge, knit, mosaic, whatever makes you happy. Sit in a ceramic studio all day and paint yourself silly.
  • Go to your favorite place at sunrise. There’s never a better time for self-reflection.
  • Have a photoshoot. Get all dolled up, set a self-timer, or camp out on your Mac, and pose away. Experiment with different settings. Hello, head shot!
  • Make a painting or a drawing. Go to a craft store and buy a few supplies, or just use pencil and paper you have around the house.If you aren’t artistically inclined, get a paint-by-number set. They’re fun and satisfying to complete, and when you’re done you’ll have a new decoration for your room.
  • Make a comic strip. Use yourself, celebrities, family and your friends as the characters. Draw detailed people with perfect scenery or make messy stick figures. Put them into funny and ridiculous situations, and then show them to your friends next time you see them.
  • Make a scrapbook. If you have boxes of photographs, ticket stubs, restaurant menus and other random knick-knacks, take some time to make that scrapbook you’ve been meaning to put together. Consider adding witty or sentimental captions.
  • Write a book. The silence might be able to help you concentrate. If writing a book is too great an endeavor for one afternoon of free time, try something a bit more low-key:
    • Write a journal entry, or start a new journal.
    • Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
    • Make a list of your goals for the next month or year.
  • Get your nails done. Make an appointment at a salon or walk-in at the spur of the moment. If you don’t want to spend money on a manicure, give yourself one at home. Don’t just paint your nails, give yourself the works: file your nails, soak them, and use several coats of polish. If you still have time leftover, give yourself a pedicure, too.
  • Learn a new skill. Is there a guitar lying around the house, or a piano that rarely gets played? If you make time to practice a skill every time you’re alone, you may end up getting quite good at it.
  • Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. Catch up on phone calls to your relatives and friends who live in other places. You could email them or text them if you don’t want to make a phone call. Having time alone is a great opportunity to right imbalances.
  • Meditate, or simply take some time to think. When was the last time you lay on your bed and allowed thoughts to wash over you, uninterrupted? Think through decisions that have been weighing on you lately. What are the pros and cons of the options before you? Write them down if that helps you sort through your thoughts. Use your imagination. Go to a different place in your head and imagine a different world. Allow yourself to daydream. You may even come up with a great new idea for a story or a blog post.
  • Go outside and enjoy nature. A solo hike allows you to observe nature without distractions of friends. You’ll be surprised how fun and relaxing watching the clouds go by can be.
  • Exercise. Jog around the neighborhood, or work out inside on the treadmill. Look online for exercise videos, like yoga or pilates, and follow along with the instructor.
  • Have an adventure. Drive to the beach and spend your day getting a tan or swimming. Drive to a town you’ve never seen, or visit a park you’ve never been to. Take pictures!
  • Listen to music. There is more music in the world than you could ever listen to. Find artists you’ve never heard before, or take the time to listen to entire albums straight through. Listen to the lyrics and attempt to interpret them. Learn how to play the instruments from a song on guitar, bass, or drums, or sing along.
  • Go to a museum. Once you’ve strolled through an art museum solo, you’ll find it hard to go back with other people. Want to spend 20 minutes staring deeply into a solid blue canvas? Go right ahead. Want to skip the impressionist corridor entirely because you’ve secretly always hated it? Be my guest! Plus, art is good for the soul. You’ll leave feeling renewed and inspire.
  • Go shopping. I actually find wandering through the mall by myself to be something of a meditative experience. You get to take your sweet time, make your own decisions about what looks good, and don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else. You also don’t have to buy anything. Window shopping can be just as fun.

Do everything you would normally do with a partner or friend. Many times it isn’t the partner or friend you are missing, but the activities and hobbies you shared. For example, if you would have gone out to dinner or to a movie on a date, then take yourself out to a movie or to a nice restaurant. Don’t hold yourself back.

But wait! There’s more! I could write an endless list of things to do alone (because really, anything you can do with another person, you can do alone), but I wanted to keep this post relatively short. One of my favorite blogs on Tumblr is Learn How to Be Alone. There are endless pictures of people doing activities or hobbies alone that can stir endless ideas and inspiration!

The next time you spend the day alone, share your experience with me. 🙂

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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