A few weeks ago I was asked “what activities do you enjoy doing alone?”
Well. That was an easy question to answer: “
Everything! Most things…”
I started to respond one way and then caught myself thinking that it’s best if I don’t discount the enjoyable company of the friends I was spending time with at that moment.
I thought to myself: I can probably think of plenty things that are better in the company of others.
Of course, this is true. There are a multitude of moments and activities that are incredibly more gratifying when spent in the company of others. However, consistently being in the company of others is ultimately draining and leaves me feeling overextended. These traits have led me to understand that I identify as an introvert.
Some of us gain momentum, thrive and become energized by social interactions and settings. If this is you, then you are most likely an extrovert. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is where you derive your energy. If you don’t lean strongly one way or another, you might be an “ambivert” meaning that you’re a fairly balanced combination of both introversion and extroversion.
I adore spending time with family and friends but at the end of a long day, spent even in the best of company, nothing sounds more refreshing than spending time alone. I think this is because I’ve learned how to be by myself and savor/enjoy being alone. The following are five ways to enjoy being by yourself as discovered by an introvert:
1. Understand that you don't always need the company of others to enjoy an experience.
Sometimes being able to take a T.O. (a timeout) and experience a moment without the influence of others is self-revealing. Go to a museum, see a movie, watch the sunrise/sunset, try an exercise class, give it a try alone. If you're feeling really daring, try eating in a restaurant at a table for one. In today's constant stimulation and virtual connectedness, it's not as common as you'd think.
2. Stay off your phone.
Piggybacking on my previous point... Put your phone away! You're not alone if you're sharing your experience with the rest of the online world.
3. Get creative.
If you're the antsy type, put your energy to good use. Go b-a-n-a-n-a-s and get creative. Buy that coloring book you've been eyeing, discover some new music and make a new playlist. If you're the musical type, you most likely already spend a lot of time by yourself or practicing on your own so keep on keeping on. Write down what you're thinking/feeling, cook something delicious, create something new-- by yourself.
4. Get to know your breathing.
If you're someone who is always tired or stressed, this technique could be a game changer for you. As humans, we need our breath (duh). BUT, how often do you actually focus on your breath? Our breathing tends to go unnoticed and becomes shallow and short throughout our busy days. Next time you have some time to yourself, practice deep breathing and use that breath to encourage energy and connectedness throughout your mind and body. Ready, set, (take deep breath and let it) GO!
5. Find your go-to.
It's possible to be surrounded by people and still be alone. Source out your go-to coffee shop, library, bench, market, you name it. My biased opinion is that people watching is one of the all-time best solo activities.