Learning To Be Happy Alone

My mother recently sent me an article about being alone. This is often her way to let me know that she is fed up with my complaining. My complaints in question center around my struggle to be happy alone in London. She tells me that I am being ridiculous because I have a lot of friends. To which I exhale and explain that all my friends are in serious relationships and have begun to hoard life savings. All I seem to receive is a reoccurring message from Bumble offering me a free upgrade. So yup that is where my life is right about now. For anyone who sucks at being happily alone, please, join hands with me and never let go.

Some people are terrific at spending time alone, they thrive in these situations. I know this because I used to be the person who enjoyed staying home and being alone. It was only after I decided to move countries and found out that being alone was a lot harder then I realized. My mind plays games on me; that pesky voice that reminds me I haven’t washed my hair in days and no one is returning my texts. The sadness sets in and the malbec starts to flow.

It’s hard to make the change to being comfortably alone in a city like London. So I started by googling ‘how to be better at being alone”. The first thing that came up said this: ‘close your eyes in a dark room and appreciate the silence.’ Fortunately for me, the light bulb in my room broke so I have been in darkness for the last 48 hours. The second tip said that rearranging furniture can help to cope with being alone. I am slightly at a loss to how exactly this would improve my situation in my new found darkness, but let’s not doubt the people who are here to help. So, I rearranged seven of my plants and placed them in height order.

If you are serious about being alone and not feeling unsettled by the thought, I would recommend that you start with these easy tips. They come via my therapist who seemed confused when I stopped the session midway through and started quizzing him on strategies to be alone. He recommends that you attempt some of these to become more confident in your own space. I have also added my own advice because I am incredibly obnoxious that way.

1. Meditation

Meditation can be a great tool to allow you to grow more comfortable in paying close attention to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Realistically, I just find it incredibly hard to stay silent and still for five minutes. You need to find what works for you. Meditation can come in so many different forms. I personally chant, “I am my favourite person” whilst listening to Paula Abdul

2. Unplug from the world

I take a more abrupt approach when unplugging from social media, I delete Instagram for the effect. Because almost everyone else has an accurate level of emotions, give yourself an hour at minimum every day to unplug and separate yourself from the technologies that make us so dependent on people. Allow yourself to be present and away from the chaos of the fake lives that we feed into daily.

3. Treat yourself

A personal favourite saying and religion in my household. Treating yourself can come in various methods, some which will hurt and damage your bank account and others that are free and easy.

Either way, giving yourself time alone in a completely outrageous setting such as your bath with bath bombs, oil and will make you V relaxed.

4. Book a holiday somewhere alone

To most people, the thought of booking a holiday alone would be extremely scary and overwhelming. But not us, we now meditate and occasionally veer away from social media. We must be ready to holiday alone. Start off slowly; book a night in London somewhere. Then, slowly get excited about the thought of making travel plans to a country that you have never been. This is your chance to go anywhere, plus, you won’t have someone else putting their two cents into the plan.

5. Netflix and chill alone

Okay so technically this was not on the list that my therapist mentioned, but I love to Netflix and chill. Why would you want someone around when you can have two pizzas in bed alone? Life can get hard, so let yourself eat whatever food in a luxurious bed whenever you want.

6. Volunteer and give back.

Technically is not a total way to be alone. But if you are seeking a place to go that allows you to be surrounded by new people, whilst giving your time to a worthy cause then go for it.

7. Engaging in new skills

Yes, this is totally something our mothers would tell us to do. Go find a new skill, get off your backside and be proactive. I can just hear her now rambling in my ear. All the same, this is a great way to cope with those moments when you feel alone and the bad thoughts take hold. Take up knitting, tarot card reading or learn how to read brail. Whatever interests you, that clock will tick by faster when you are consumed with a new activity.

We all know that being alone in a large city like London can be hard on your mental health. For me, my anxiety decided to rear its ugly head in full force when I moved here. It all stemmed from being alone and hating the feelings that came with it. As we get older, new pressures are placed on us and it makes sense that allowing ourselves to have time alone will help our mental health. Now don’t think that shutting yourself indoors and watching Netflix every evening is the answer. You need to find a happy medium between yourself and the outside world.

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