Being childfree can be a bit lonely sometimes. While you have the freedom to spend a Saturday hiking and exploring a new town, your parent friends have to consider sitters and nap times and scheduling around soccer practice or cub scouts. My husband and I love going on new adventures together but that's not always an option. My husband also enjoys spending his free time golfing or playing in his garage band. This leaves me to fend for myself. I'm an introvert so often times I don't mind, but it's also highlighted the importance of dating myself. Taking yourself on a solo date is a scary thought. We've been brainwashed to believe that if we are alone we should feel embarrassed or ashamed. Activities are meant to be done with friends, so if you're alone, you must not have friends. Spending time with yourself is actually healthy and beneficial to us. From things like increased confidence to a sense of independence, it's a form of self care and can ultimately increase your overall level of happiness in life.
So how do you start?
Start by letting go of the fear and judgement associated with doing things on your own. One, who really cares what other people think? The most important weight you'll ever lose is the weight of other peoples opinions. Second, people don't think about us as much as we think they do. Strangers and even your friends are likely too engrossed in their own lives to even notice whether or not you're sitting by yourself or embracing some much needed alone time. If anything, someone might look at you and wish they were able to get some time to themselves. Next, ease into it. Maybe going to dinner alone somewhere is a bit much, but sitting alone in a Starbucks is a regular occurrence for many, so start small. The more activities you do by yourself the more your confidence will grow and the more you'll look forward to your next self-date night. Tip: Leave your electronics at home/in your bag. Would you be happy if your date was on their phone all night? Probably not. If you need something to start, bring along a book or notebook. You can enjoy your devices at home, this is about getting out of your comfort zone.. even if the first step is a small one.
Don't forget to look nice! You're going on a date so you should probably look the part. We need to get more accustomed to treating ourselves the same way we expect others to treat us. If you were going on a date with your husband, partner or even out with friends you would be dressing the part. Don't sell yourself short. Finally, pick a day and time. I often take advantage of the time my husband is off golfing or has an evening work meeting to spoil myself. You can plan ahead of time if that's the type of person you are, or just go on a spontaneous date if that's how you live your life. The ultimate goal is you spending that time to yourself, however you manage to get there.
Okay, you've let go of judgement, agreed to start small, got yourself looking nice and have a time planned out. How do you decide what to do?! Well thankfully I've got some ideas for you!
Matinee Movie - In my own biased opinion I think seeing a movie in the daytime is actually the best time, but it's really the ideal time to go on your own. Low crowds not only removes a lot of pressure but also gives you plenty of seating options!
Solo Breakfast - Going out to breakfast is really quite heavenly. Grab your favourite book or a newspaper and treat yourself. I've often seen solo diners at breakfast so the pressure is really quite low.
Take a class - Ever wanted to try pottery throwing? crochet? flower arranging? Take a class somewhere! The great thing about these classes is people are typically so friendly and most of the class you're just sitting listening to an instructor. You have the opportunity to meet new people or just quietly hangout on your own learning a new skill or hobby!
Hit the water.. or trails - Almost every city has the option for different kinds of rentals. Bikes or kayaks or paddle boards, the list goes on. These activities, although can be done with friends, are more or less solo activities anyways. Go rent a kayak, hit the water and enjoy some quiet time with you, yourself and natures sweet song.
Hike - I love adventuring around my own backyard. I did a bit of research and learned there are so many incredibly beautiful trails within a few hours of my house. With a little googling you can likely find tons of places to explore close by. Pack yourself a lunch, put on your running shoes or hiking boots and see a little more of your own backyard!
Sunrise/Sunset Picnic - If restaurants are a little too intimidating, or maybe not quite the vibe you're looking for, why not just pack yourself a nice romantic picnic? I can't say I'd ever want to be up for a sunrise but you do you! Pack some delectable desserts, foods you love and head out to watch a gorgeous sunset in the park or along the water.
Bookstore - Remember when I said grabbing a good book can be a great way to ease into being out on your own, well turn that book shopping into a date in itself! We have many bookstores that double as or are connected to a coffee shop, so grab yourself a nice hot tea and take a seat!
Take A Spa Day - Treat yourself to a mani/pedi or even a hot stone massage. Spa days are meant for us to embrace the quiet, to spend time relaxing and recharging. An activity that yes can be enjoyable with friends, but will ultimately be more enjoyable when you can fully embrace the experience. No chit chat about potty training or hearing about your friends coworker who just won't stop bringing fish to the office, just the soft sounds of white noise and stress leaving your body. You deserve it!
Stay Home - Time at home can be just as special but I do encourage you to still try and get out of the house. (Remember we're trying to build confidence here folks!) If you have a rainy day or its the dead middle of a rough Canadian winter and going out is just not even a consideration, a solo date night in is totally an option. Treat yourself to a dish that you love, or order in if you're #lazy, watch your favourite show and make yourself a delicious cocktail! Try and enjoy your solo time by not being on your phone all night, no Instagram or Facebook or TikTok. Try single tasking for a while and see how it feels, you might just find you end the night being a little more relaxed.