Do you enjoy your own company? Do you enjoy the time you spend on your own? Are you making the most of your time alone?
When you enjoy your own company, spending time on your own is a good thing. It may even feel luxurious (particularly if it’s a rare treat). If you don’t enjoy spending time on your own, it could feel like a struggle, even for short periods of time.
The pandemic has certainly shaken things up in this area. With lockdowns and quarantines, many people have spent a LOT of time surrounded by family, wondering if they will get time on their one anytime soon. Or they may have spent a LOT of time on their own between lockdowns and working from home.
Regardless of whether you are surrounded by people or spend a lot of time on your own, you are responsible for enjoying your own company.
Enjoying your own company will make you a more content person and help bring more peace and joy into your life.
If you do struggle to enjoy your own company, I hope these tips and resources can help.
Let’s dive in.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Any compensation I receive does not affect the price you pay.
1. Understand the difference between being alone and being lonely
If you struggle spending time on your own because you immediately start to feel lonely, the first thing to wrap your head around is that being alone and being lonely can be two different things (and yes you can be both at the same time as well).
Being lonely doesn’t always mean you have to be alone. Lots of married people are lonely. They might be surrounded by a spouse and family but they still struggle with feelings of loneliness.
In turn, a lot of introverts enjoy being on their own and happily choose to spend their time alone. Being alone doesn’t always translate to being lonely. Being single doesn’t always mean you are lonely.
The point I am trying to make is that there are no rules around this type of stuff.
The pandemic has caused people’s feelings of loneliness to intensify. Many have felt a sense of isolation and feeling disconnected from other people.
I experienced this myself. Having lived alone happily for over 15 years, lockdowns, working from home, and not being able to see anyone face to face for long stretches of time left me feeling unexpectedly lonely.
The below external resources have a lot of interesting and helpful ideas and techniques for dealing with loneliness. If you are feeling lonely make sure you have a read and try the advice that is most relevant for you.
Remember to make sure you speak to a trained medical professional if you need help with depression or anxiety.
Always remember, you are not alone in your feelings of loneliness.
Related posts on dealing with loneliness –
- 11 Things To Do if You Are Feeling Lonely – Reach Out
- How to Not Feel Lonely – HealthLine
- What to Do When Feeling Lonely – Good House Keeping
- What to Do If You Feel Lonely – ABC Australia
2. Focus on YOUR interests and hobbies
The time you spend alone is time to work out what YOU enjoy doing. What are your interests? What hobbies do you enjoy?
This isn’t about your partner, your parents, your kids, or your friends. What do you enjoy doing?
If you have recently come out of a relationship, particularly if it was a bad relationship or one filled with a lot of drama, you might find it challenging being on your own.
Yet this is an opportune time to figure out what your interests are. This is about what you like, not what your ex-partner liked.
Once you have worked out what activities you enjoy, get busy doing the things you love.
3. Have fun
Having fun doesn’t always have to involve other people. You can dance around the house to your favorite song, sing your heart out, watch your favorite comedy, or hold a movie montage-style dress-up session.
It’s all about having fun, whatever fun means for you.
Related posts – 25 Ways to Lighten Up and Have More Fun and Laughter in Your Life
4. Get out and about
Enjoying your own company doesn’t mean you have to hang around the house by yourself.
Just because you are on your own doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy meals out, movies, holidays by yourself, or whatever takes your fancy.
I say this from experience as I often dine alone, catch a movie I want to see, and have done a lot of solo travel.
Enjoying your own company doesn’t have to equal sitting at home alone.
If you struggle with the concept of spending time at a restaurant or cafe alone, read my detailed post on How to Eat Alone and Actually Enjoy It.
5. Learn how to relax
How often do you relax? When was the last time you truly relaxed?
By relaxing I mean feeling blissful, calm, and content.
With all the distractions at our disposal, relaxation seems something that a lot of people have forgotten how to do.
Time on your own is the perfect time to relax.
Forget the to-do lists, the errands, the housework – forget all that stuff and find the best way for you to relax.
Is it a walk in the local park, swimming in your pool, sitting outside listening to the birds, and shutting out all the background noise? Is it enjoying your garden or enjoying being out in nature? Is it spending time with your beloved pet?
Work out what feels good for you and do more of that when you are on your own.
6. Put down the smartphone
You might be thinking I have no trouble enjoying my own company as long as I have my smartphone with me.
If you are on your own, where is your phone?
It is right next to you so you can check it regularly. Even worse is it constantly in your hand? A Google search of how many times people check their smartphone every day brings up some pretty crazy numbers. Granted it also brings up lots of conflicting and varying numbers but I think it’s still safe to say most of us are spending too much time on our mobiles!
When you are on your own, do you automatically reach to contact people? Do you have half a dozen conversations going on with different people at the same time across text and other social media platforms?
It seems when people have any time on their own, out comes the mobile phone.
But do all the apps, the social media, the likes, or the unpleasant comments on Twitter, YouTube, and everywhere else make us feel more alive and less alone?
I don’t think so.
From what I see on the comments sections of social media, it makes us more irritable. It helps feed our fears and insecurities and allows us to say harmful, hurtful things to people that we shouldn’t be saying.
I’m not saying you have to completely step away from your phone (most of us wouldn’t anyway), but instead of sending a dozen ultimately meaningless or shallow texts, send a genuine text to a dear friend or family member asking them how they are. Or better still arrange to see them in person when a time suits both of you.
Tech (of any type) can be a huge time suck. Make sure you are spending your time (alone or not) wisely.
Related posts –
- 19 Life-changing Ways to Stop Being Critical of Others
- 10 Ways Social Media Can Affect Your Moods and Emotions
7. Watch your television consumption
If you are alone, television might be how you entertain yourself.
Just to clarify when I use the word television, I mean all forms of online media such as streaming channels, YouTube, and all the other ways you can consume online video content nowadays. This includes gamers as well.
I find that too much television can shift our perspective of life. I spoke to one of my friends recently who made a comment about a crime situation and I asked her where she got the information from. I then realized she had got it from watching crime dramas. I had to remind her that what she was watching was fiction.
Similarly, I find that if I binge watch several seasons of a show over the course of a short period of time, I find myself thinking about the show instead of focusing on my own priorities. When I start to dream about some of the characters, that’s definitely a sign that I have been watching it too much and it’s time for a break!
I am not criticizing anyone here because there are a lot of shows on television that I really enjoy and watch regularly. I just think it’s important to not let television turn into an addiction.
Related posts to help you think about your media consumption
8. Enjoy one thing at a time
Do you watch Netflix while scrolling through your phone, chomping on snacks, and talking to the family all at the same time?
We might call it multitasking but really it’s just multiple distractions going on at once with no moment being appreciated or used very well at all.
When you are by yourself (as well as when you are with others for that matter) practice doing one thing at a time.
The purpose is to enjoy what you are doing and to do that one thing well. Fully immerse yourself in what you are doing. If you want to want Netflix, then watch it and completely focus on what you are watching.
If you want to spend time on your phone, then focus on that. Be mindful. Enjoy what you are doing at the time, instead of doing a whole bunch of things and not enjoying any of them.
Related mindfulness posts –
- The One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Feel Happier and Less Stressed
- Why You Should Stop Multitasking
9. Like yourself
This one is huge.
Do you feel bored with yourself if you have to spend time alone? Can you spend a few hours alone but then freak out if that turns into two days?
The truth is the more you like yourself, the more you are likely to enjoy your own company.
Look at it this way, if you think you are a boring person, do you think you are going to enjoy your own company?
The same goes for if you think you are uninteresting?
This isn’t about being bored in general. This is about being bored with yourself!
If you are easily and quickly bored with yourself you need to be brave and do some digging into why you feel this way.
Are you bored with yourself because you are not challenging yourself enough or not doing enough things that excite you? Are you spending too much time partying, working, studying, or even perhaps spending too much time on your own?
If any of these apply, you probably need to shake things up and add more variety to your life.
Related posts that can help –
Then there is the other side of things. What if you dislike yourself? As in dislike yourself a lot.
When we dislike ourselves we don’t like taking a long hard look at ourselves (physically, mentally, or emotionally). When we don’t like ourselves we don’t like to spend any time in reflection.
When we don’t think we are going to like the answers we don’t ask ourselves the hard questions. Easier to just bury ourselves in our bad habits and addictions and not think about it.
So how do you start to like yourself? Well first you have to know yourself and that involves being really honest with yourself.
Just to be crystal clear this isn’t about going down the hole of overanalyzing, picking yourself apart, and mentally bashing yourself up for everything you have ever done. That’s not helpful and not the objective.
The objective is to know yourself. The light, the dark, and all the shades in between.
Think of your best friend. They have flaws right. They have good parts and bad parts and they are not always fascinatingly interesting but you still love them. Well, that’s you. That’s all of us.
Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself better.
These journals can help guide you through the process of getting to know yourself better –
- Burn After Writing – Sharon Jones (I recently bought this book for my niece and she loved it!)
- Let that Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bulls*it Behind and Creating a Happy Life – Monica Sweeney
- Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration – Meera Lee Patel
- The High Performance Planner – Brendon Burchard (This one is part planner, part journal. I love this planner and use it every day!)
Need to work on your self-esteem and self-worth, these books can help.
- How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness – Andrea Owen
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero
- 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin
- Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion and Embrace Who You Are – Megan Logan MSW LCSW
10. Make time on your own purposeful
The best way to enjoy time on your own is to make it purposeful.
Purposeful will mean different things to different people because we have our own values and beliefs.
Exercising, being creative, gardening, cleaning, decluttering, journaling, planning, working on your side business, meditating all give our time purpose.
Use your alone time purposely and fill that time with meaning
11. Get busy planning
Time on your own is great planning time.
Enjoying your own company can be spent working out your goals and what you want for the future.
Having time on your own is a great time for planning your goals for the week, month, or year. It’s about writing down what you want to achieve.
It’s about daydreaming, planning, strategizing, and working out how to get to where you want to go.
12. Focus on your personal growth and self-worth
Use your time alone to improve your life or change your life completely if that’s what you want. Some excellent ways to do this are by journaling, self-help books, and websites like the one you are reading right now. 🙂
As we discussed above, journaling is about getting to know yourself better, focusing your mind on your priorities, and working out your priorities in the first place.
An important note about self-help books. If you are buying self-help books to be ‘fixed’ you are going in with the wrong attitude.
You don’t need to be fixed, you are not broken (I totally understand some days it feels like you are broken, but you are still your amazing self, under your intense pain and heartache). You just need a little help working on improving yourself. All of us can benefit from self-improvement.
Many years ago when I first started buying self-help books (particularly relationship ones) that was my goal, I wanted to find out what was wrong with me so I could fix myself and be more of what some guy wanted.
I understand now, I had it all backward.
I know now that it’s about loving who I am and being proud of who I am and if a guy appreciates and respects me that’s great but if he doesn’t that’s just fine too! If he doesn’t respect me I’m a hella lot better off without him.
You get the most out of a self-help book when you follow the advice, do the exercises (and this means writing things down not just doing them in your head), and follow the strategies long-term until a new habit or belief is formed. (For me that new belief meant learning to love and accept myself instead of trying to bend myself into a pretzel to keep someone else happy).
Taking focused, consistent action is how self-help books help you.
This doesn’t mean you have to follow every bit of advice in every self-help book. It does mean you have to work out which actions are important to you and will help you the most.
This also means doing things that are hard, so if you read an exercise and you think of I don’t need that or I know all that, that’s a pretty good sign that you should do the exercise. The actions you resist doing the most are usually the ones you need.
Related posts –
- 12 Things to Remember When You Feel Not Good Enough
- 10 Important Ways to Make Yourself a Priority
- 10 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Self-Worth and Self-Esteem
Just as learning how to be a better communicator is important regarding how we interact with other people, how we deal with spending time on our own and enjoying our own company is also important.
Enjoy your own company. Enjoy the precious time you spend on your own because you are worth it. You always have been and you always will be.
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Read Next – How to Stop Lying to Yourself About Your Feelings and Actions