Written by: Jenny Smith
For many working parents, time alone is a rare experience, it is often associated with a special treat of snatched time when everyone else is momentarily taken care of and you can put your feet up for five minutes. However, even if the opportunity rarely presents itself, learning to relax and enjoy your own company for longer periods is a precious gift to give to yourself, because after all, if we can’t enjoy our own company, how can we expect anyone else to!
Spending Time With Yourself
Culturally we are very conditioned to always be out in company. A person dining alone or on a solo cinema visit may still attract sideways glances or even sympathy, but slowly things are changing as people make different choices in their lives. We don’t always have partners or available friends to share social times with. How might you spend a date with yourself? What might be the challenges for you to hang out alone? What would get in the way, how do you imagine you might feel with just yourself for company? Are you happy to just sit with yourself or do you need to keep active so that you don’t ever fully face yourself?
Whatâ€™s your thing?
Even if you have a list of commitments as long as your arm, see if you can carve out a bit of solo time every now and then, without filling it with practical tasks that involve you rushing around keeping occupied. Take a bit of time to ponder what you might enjoy doing. See if you can plan to have some ‘me dates’. Spending time in nature might be your thing, or you might prefer to immerse yourself in some art or other culture. Imagine being asked what you would love to spend a few hours doing and then create that opportunity for yourself. Start off gently and then overtime, think about what would be a risk for you, what would be your edge in terms of taking yourself out publicly and see if you can find the courage to take the step.
You might initially feel quite shy with yourself if you are not used to spending time alone in this way. Be patient and gentle as you take the first steps, being able to relate kindly and positively to yourself is as important as the counter balance of being able to relate well to others, increasing your ability in the former, will have very positive knock on effects on the latter.