Back in my high school hay days, I made sure I was constantly surrounded by people.
Whether I was hanging out with my friends, which was basically 90% of the time, at home around my family, or falling asleep on the couch with the TV blaring, I made sure to always have stimuli at close hand.
I enjoyed my alone time, don’t get me wrong, but only for short bursts of time when I had completely drained myself between school, friends, soccer, work, parents, ect.
I would take a bath to enjoy time alone, but the minute the towel hit the floor, I was hopping off to my next engagement.
When I was alone, I was anxious that I was missing out on something, and scared that I would delve into the frightening yet familiar dark corners of my mind. I thought that I constantly needed people around me to keep me sane, distract me from my demons, and keep my incessant fear of “missing out” at bay.
I adore my best friends and would never trade the obnoxious amount of time we all used to spend together for anything, especially now that we live hours apart, but when I look back on it, I think I would have began to better my life quite a bit sooner if I had stopped being such a coward when faced with my own reflection.
After years of struggling with disordered eating, body image, and self-esteem, coupled with depression I fight to keep under control every day, it has been a grueling, uphill battle getting to know, love, and spend time with myself…just myself, and love every single second of it.
Below are some tips on how I became my best friend and someone I genuinely love spending time with!
- PLAN OUT YOUR BFF DAY WITH YOURSELF! Cook yourself an incredible breakfast, blast your favorite music while you clean/organize your personal space, take a walk to get some coffee, go get a manicure if that’s what you’re into, go grocery shopping and stock your fridge with food that loves you back. Whatever your perfect, stress-free day entails, enjoy it with yourself and for yourself!
- START A PROJECT! As a knitter/cross stitcher/wannabe gardener, I LOVE projects. I love setting goals and reaching them, getting my hands dirty, making something out of nothing, enriching my life with beauty from my own hands. Starting a project will get your creativity flowing, challenge you, and give you a personal goal that is meant to make you proud of you!
- CREATE AN EXERCISE ROUTINE! Shocker alert, I LOVE exercise. Yes, I’ll admit, some days I drag myself to the gym or make myself get out on the trail and run when I really don’t want to, but most of the time I sincerely love exercise. Having an exercise routine is a great way to challenge and bond with both your mind and your body, and not only keeps you healthy, it keeps your whole life in shape! As an avid runner for the past three years, I’ve shaped a body I am proud of, because it came from hard work, sweat, and perseverance, and can kick past me’s ass with no problem! I have an endless reserve of energy, am sharper and more alert than ever, and my stamina is pretty much that of a cheetah.
- GO ON A SOLO PICNIC! Last summer when I first moved to Rochester, I was hours away from my friends and family, worked on a fishing boat where I interacted solely with the captain and no one else, and was adjusting to life out of college….I was a friggin’ mess. One day when I was feeling particularly blue and could not for the life of me stop feeling sorry for myself, I decided to enjoy the gorgeous day outside my window and go on a picnic, just me myself and I. Let me tell ya, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, PERIOD. I brought a lunch, blanket, and book, and ate at the park with only the sounds of birds around me, read in peace while smelling fresh air, and sunbathed until I fell asleep and woke up with some extra freckles! I left the park that day with a serene smile on my face and calm in my heart knowing that life really isn’t out to get me, and hangin’ with myself is the most satisfying thing there is.
In today’s society, being alone is frowned upon, gawked at, and basically shunned.
Well, fuck that. Learning not only to be alone, but to absolutely love and cherish the time you spend with yourself is, to me, one of the most important life lessons any of us can (and should) learn.
Get to know and love yourself and plan some you time NOW!