Four game changing ways to truly enjoy alone time
In this edited extract from her new book, self-care coach and “podcast queen” Stacey June explains how you can learn to enjoy your own company.
Finding new ways to spend your time as an adult is hard enough with a group of mates and even in a relationship – those texts with no-one committing to the type of restaurant to go to, or you and your partner finding it hard to decide what to do on a Sunday that doesn’t involve just sitting on the couch.
So the following is a list of different elements of my single life that I feel changed the game for me. Not just hobbies, but ways of living that we perhaps avoid because doing it solo can seem scary, confronting, or often appears to mean more than it has to.
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1. Break up with your phone
Phone time isn’t a social activity. It tricks you into thinking that you’ve interacted with people or spent time chilling, but it’s not the soul-filling goodness you need.
Your phone is also not a place to go to for relaxation. The underlying adrenaline that notifications, likes (or no likes) and scrolling requires makes this far from a restorative activity. Our phones are tools that help us live our lives, not lead our lives.
They help us share our hobbies or pastimes, but are a slippery slope if we rely on them to be our hobby or pastime. Get off your phone and go live your life first. Share your life after you’ve lived it.
2. Let yourself be bored
Getting comfortable in discomfort will become your greatest party trick! My tip is to schedule it in. Yep, schedule boredom in. Pick a Sunday, try not to make plans and don’t use your phone to pass the time. Watch a movie, take a bath, go for a hike that isn’t your usual walking track, and make a playlist on Spotify (OK, you may need your phone to do this).
I suggest to my coaching clients that they make a list of activities or self-care practices they like to do to remind themselves of how many options they have. This list comes in handy when you haven’t scheduled this time, too – when friends cancel or you have nothing to do on a Saturday night.
Stick it on your wall or the back of the bathroom door. Often, it isn’t until we step out of our habits and meaningless go-tos that space appears. After you stop resisting the space – say after the first 20 minutes – you may just not go back.
3. Get a hobby
“Hobbies” sounds like a way to describe a little about yourself on an ’80s dating show: “Sooo, tell us Stacey June, what are your hobbies?” But hobbies, curricular activities or whatever you do to chill out are crucial for filling your life with joy and not just passing the time until someone comes a-knocking.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with what you enjoyed when you were a kid. What kept you busy? Once you’ve figured out a few ideas, explore whether there’s a way to emulate them as an adult. It could be that you always rode your bike as a kid, but never really have as an adult. Perhaps you were doing cross-country at school but haven’t run a kilometre since? Do it anyway.
Activating that childlike sense of wonder is such a homecoming, and almost always works should you get stuck for ideas. Hobbies are a great way to play and spend time by yourself. We certainly weren’t drinking vodka, lime and soda and only focusing on relationships as kids. There’s bound to be a heap of stuff you loved doing before adult life and relationship conditioning set in.
4. Cultivate your community
The further we move on from school, the better sense we get of our identity and who we truly are away from groups.
Then again, once we start to work on ourselves, we evolve, and our needs and who we are develops and unravels some more – and so do our relationships. Some stick and some don’t, and that’s OK.
But there may be some times when you feel you don’t have any friends who meet you at that very point in your life. Some may have started families before you, you may be in a group that’s all coupled up, or you could have a group of friends that still love to party.
This feeling is the sense that you’re in transition. It isn’t a reason to dump all of your friends – as long as they support you in your endeavours, that is. You can keep your real buddies and still go out on adventures to find some who you can relate to right now.
Single Pringle: Stop Wishing Away Your Single Life And Learn To Flourish Alone by Stacey June (Murdoch Books, $32.99) is out Tuesday.
To hear more of Stacey June’s dating insights, tune into the Body+Soul Healthy-ish podcast on May 6. Visit bodyandsoul.com.au