A couple of years ago the only place I’d ever go by myself was the local supermarket and possibly a Costa if the iced tea cravings were just too much. Nowadays I go on a self-date pretty much every week. And, more importantly, I’ve never felt happier in myself and my self-confidence is at an all time high.
Low self-confidence coupled with a fear of being judged meant doing things by myself was not something I ever considered. I felt much happier surrounded by other people.
So what changed? Unfortunately it wasn’t a conscious choice but rather a change of circumstance that forced me out of my comfort zone. I moved to a town where my nearest friends were over an hour away. That and very unsociable working hours meant that self-dates were the only way I’d ever leave the house!
I started small. Walks in the local woods. Popping to Costa for a bite to eat. Nowadays my next big goal is to be able to treat myself to dinner at a nice restaurant and then eventually embark on some solo travel.
I think learning to be comfortable in your own company is so important. At the end of the day the only person you can 100% rely on is you. And hey, you’re amazing so why shouldn’t you treat yourself!
If you’re a bit like I was, and the idea of going out by yourself is all kinds of scary, I’ve come up with a few suggestions to ease yourself into it. Very kindly helped by some lovely people on twitter too. Soon enough you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
1. Cinema date.
Long portrayed in movies as the ideal first date, the cinema is actually the perfect place for a self-date. Think about it, once the film starts no one does any talking anyway. It means you don’t have to wait to see the latest release you’ve been dying to watch and there’s no one trying to steal half the popcorn you paid for! It’s a win, win.
“[Self-dates are] so important! I love to go to the cinema by myself… especially in the middle of the week. Sometimes I’ll go straight from work and there’ll be barely anyone else there or a bunch of other peeps flying solo!” – Kat
“I love to go to the cinema on my own. It’s a place where I feel I can either gather my thoughts and sort my head out, or just forget about everything and lose myself in another world for a couple of hours. Either way I feel miles better afterwards.” – Steph
2. Go on a romantic stroll with yourself.
My favourite thing to do if I need a bit of space and some time to blow the cobwebs away. Being out in nature can do wonders for your mood. Best thing is if you try to pick somewhere like a pretty wood or lake chances are the only people you’ll run into are the guy walking his dog and the lady out for her daily run. Both of which are unlikely to even glance at you let alone give you a second thought.
“I love walking by myself! You go at your own pace and can stop and take in the view, listening to your music, for as long as you like.” – Catriona
“I’ll often take myself for a walk in the local countryside. I find it really clears my head and relaxes me, and also makes me feel way more productive!” – Abigail
3. Treat yourself to lunch/brunch/afternoon tea.
Cafes have very quickly become my second home this year. They’re the perfect place to chill and watch the world go by. If your nervous take along a book or magazine to read. Possibly even a laptop to research your latest holiday, just no work on dates please. Bonus points if you find a cute little independent place. Double bonus points if it’s somewhere with a nice view like by a lovely little lake.
“Coffee dates. I go to coffee shops by myself I try to take a note-book and write down a bunch of things I need, want & my goals. So peaceful.” – Anonymously Me
4. Take a picnic to the park.
If the sun is out then so am I! I don’t know why it feels more acceptable to be by yourself in the warm weather but it just does. Grab your favourite book, a full on picnic or just a little snack and head to your nearest bit of grass to soak up some rays.
“My fave fave fave are sushi in the park dates with myself in china town. [They’re] SUPER important because if not i feel like I take myself for granted.” – Neve
Okay so this one isn’t strictly a date, well at least not the traditional kind, but it is a super amazing self-date. Nothing feels better than that finishing a kick ass workout routine or beating you latest 5K time. Not only do you get a bit of me time to switch off but you’re helping keep your body fit and healthy. Or if you fancy something a bit more gentle I love a spot of yoga in the sunshine.
“Just taking 30 mins on my mat with Yoga with Adriene is a great quick date for me.” – Christine
There are so many other suggestions. It could be something as small, as a hot bubble bath with a good book or spending some time cooking your favourite food. But it equally could be as big as a day trip to London, theatre and dinner included, or a city break abroad.
“Mental health is so so important and I feel like not enough people take a day for themselves cause they think they’re being lazy or selfish. Some days I just need a glass (or 3) of wine and a good book/movie. More people need to learn to treat themselves” – Alex
We live in times where pressure and stress are at an all time high. We focus so much on how we appear outwardly – whether that be our image on social media or the need to look like were being constantly productive. And that’s not just in work, there’s so much pressure to achieve the next mile stone in our personal lives, be that buying a new house or settling down with a partner.
In all this stress it becomes easy to forget about taking care of yourself. It becomes easy to feel like you don’t have time. But it is sooo important to make that time, to fit into your busy schedule a date with yourself.
Self-dates for me didn’t stem from this need to take time to focus on myself. For me, my situation meant most of the time I was simply the only person available to keep me company. But that hasn’t stopped me appreciating the benefits of alone time.
Self-dates fill you with confidence, they help you become comfortable in your own skin. They allow you to focus on what you need and whats important at certain points in life. They help you relax and de-stress. They allow you to be completely self-indulgent. After all, we all deserve to be spoilt once in while!
“When I graduated & lived alone I had a very bad spout of Graduate Depression, I spent most days in bed & couldn’t get out until I finally started taking myself to my local Waterstone’s cafe and buying a new book & candle once a week – really helped me in that low point last year” – Elle
When I was writing this post I needed a little bit of inspiration. So I took to twitter to ask what are your favourite self-dates and why do you think they’re important. The response that one little tweet received was seriously overwhelming. (I would massively recommend reading all the replies I got!) I’ve tried to include as many people’s thoughts I could but I think the level of engagement speaks for itself.
Everyone has their own little self-dates. The things they do that are just theirs. That allow them to focus on themselves and have much-needed me time. But what everyone has in common is their belief in the importance of focusing on yourself.
So next time you’ve got a few hours spare take yourself on a date and I promise you’ll be so happy that you did.
All my love,