Romantic relationships may cause anxiety, but often, so does our relationship with ourselves. (*Cue inspirational swell of music.*) Whether you’re single, in a relationship, Tindering, or otherwise existing as a human being on the Earth (sorry robots, aliens, and robot-aliens), sometimes you need to set aside time for yourself. Now, I don’t want to get too #selflove up in here, because my heart is too black and shriveled for such things. But I am an introvert, and I enjoy time for myself. I just function better–at work, with friends, in relationships, and in my own head–when I get my “me-time.”
Sometimes, however, it can feel a little too indulgent to set aside time for yourself, especially when there are other things you could or should be doing. Since I started blogging, this feeling has become even stronger for me. I could always be doing something for the blog. The line between selfish and self-care has always been hard for me to draw, and I am sure I am not alone in that. On the one hand, taking care of ourselves and being content with who we are is important. On the other, people do selfish things that they label as #selflove.
For whatever reason, I feel better about my “me-time” when I think of it as taking myself out (or staying in!) on a date. A cheap date, I should add. It probably has something to do with the fact that by calling it a “date,” I reframe it in my mind as something I am doing for the sake of a relationship. It just so happens that the relationship in question is the one with myself.
I mean, let’s say your boyfriend (or husband or friend or brother) came up to you and said “Gertrude, I just feel like we haven’t been seeing a lot of each other lately. How would you feel about going out for dinner on Friday, just you and I?”
You’re probably not going to respond by saying, “Dammit Stanley, get a life! Stop being so selfish! Everything isn’t about you and me!”
But that’s the type of thing I would say to myself if this was an inner monologue–minus the Gertrude and Stanley bits. So if it helps you to think of taking your me-time as taking yourself out on a date, go for it! And if that sounds hokey to you, then you can just think of these as ideas for things that you can do solo, on a small budget.
What? Of course this would come first!
- Have a candlelit evening at home. Or if you’re really luck and have a fireplace, then have a fire-lit evening!
- What you need: Candles with some sort of holder or plate to catch the wax. Lighter/matches.
- Making it a date: Music. Books. Podcasts. Big fluffy robe with slippers and/or fuzzy socks. Big cushy couch. Snacks. Hot or cold beverage of choice. And perhaps even a bath with bubbles or soothing essential oils.
- Make movie night special. To make this more than a regular Tuesday night, you need to create the type of atmosphere that you would if you were having friends or a date over.
- What you need: TV, computer, or projector on which to view your movies. DVDs, Blu-rays, or a Netflix/Amazon/HBO/etc. subscription.
- Making it a date: Homemade popcorn and/or other snacks. Hot or cold beverages of choice. Dim movie-theater-inspired lighting. Lots of blanks and pillows, which you may even be inspired to construct into a fort.
- Go out for dinner and/or drinks. Yes, alone. And no, you will not self-destruct.
- What you need: Yourself and a restaurant you like–or one you’ve been wanting to try but couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go! The world is your oyster now!
- Making it a date: Wear what makes you happy–get dressed up and dolled up if you want. Or go in jeans and a t-shrt. As long as it is appropriate for the venue of your choice, go for it. Afterwards, you may even want to proceed ito the next idea on this list, for a classic dinner + movie date.
- Making yourself more comfortable: Take a book or magazine if it will help you feel less awkward, or if you simply can’t fathom the idea of staring at your food the entire time.
- See a movie at the theater. It’s not like you talk to your date when you’re at a movie theater anyways. (Unless you’re a monster.)
- What you need: Yourself, a movie theater, and a movie you want to see, especially if it’s one that no one else you know wants to see. Noticing a pattern here?
- Making it a date: The same goes here as above, as far as dressing or dolling up as much or as little as you want. And you should definitely get your favorite movie theater snacks and drinks (popcorn + Buncha Crunch, anyone?). You can hog the popcorn bucket all you want! Or smuggle your own in if you chafe under the ridiculous concession stand prices.
- Visit a museum. Lots of museums have discounted rates on certain days, offer student discounts, or have only a suggested donation.
- What you need: A museum, and as much or as little time as you want to spend in a given museum. Maybe you even want to make a day out of museum hopping, with no one grumbling as you read ever word written about the Oldowan hand-axe display–or without being the person doing the grumbling.
- Have a picnic. This might not be entirely solo, as you will likely be joined by ants or other varmints.
- What you need: A nice day. A pretty spot–that is not posted as private property! A basket or tote loaded with lots of picnic-friendly food and drinks. A picnic blanket, which can be basically any old blanket, sheet, or quilt that you don’t mind risking grass stains on. And probably a garbage bag because littering is bad, kids.
- Making it a date: Pack something a little more original or fancy than a PB&J. Perhaps a nice selection of cheese and bread. Or a jazzed up salad. Bring a thermos of your favorite hot or cold beverage (another common theme here).
- Entertainment: Books. Magazines. A phone loaded up with music, podcasts, or audiobooks and a nice wireless speaker. Crossword puzzles or Sudokus. People-watching. Your dog and a frisbee.
Do you have any other ideas on how to take yourself on a great (cheap) date? Or how to set aside time for yourself in general, without guilt?