In high school, I remember hanging out with my best friends on a girls’ night, watching movies or getting ready to go out. Topics of conversation ranged from school to work to the latest music and everything in between. But every time we would hang out, the subject of relationships would always come up. Whether one of us had recently gotten into one or one of us was getting out of one, it was always what we focused our conversations around.
One of the most common responses I’ve heard when someone is getting out of a relationship is to just move on, or to find a rebound. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that there’s a better and more rewarding alternative: It’s called ‘solo-dating.’
This might sound a little weird, and for some of you it might be the first time you’ve heard of it, but before you go knocking the idea give it a chance and see how you feel afterwards. Whether you’re just getting out of a relationship, just getting into one or have been in one for a long time, solo-dating is for everyone.
So what exactly is solo-dating? Think of it as time to reconnect with yourself. Often times we can lose touch with ourselves and forget the things that once made us happy without others around. After spending so much time with someone, whether they’re a friend or significant other, it can be hard to differentiate between what you love to do on your own and what you love to do together with someone else. I’ll often catch myself thinking, Do I really like doing that? Or was it just really fun that one time with my best friend?
So how do you reconnect with yourself again? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
As a writer, this is something that comes naturally to me. I don’t really have to make time for this, because it’s one of my favorite things to do. However, for others, this might not seem like a way to reconnect with yourself. Before moving on to the next idea, try it out for a week. You might be surprised at how much you can learn about yourself when you make an effort to write down how you’re feeling a few times a week. This can also be very beneficial when you need to make a big decision or need to work through something. Writing it all out can help you make that decision or figure out what the root of that ‘something’ is. If writing is really not your thing, then consider drawing, painting, even making a collage. Find a way to express yourself on paper.
For those of you who are musically inclined, this might be your number one go-to method of reconnecting with yourself. Music can be very therapeutic, and just like journaling, it can help you get to the root of whatever is on your mind. Whether you’re a musician or simply love listening to music, write down lyrics or find new songs that express what you’re feeling lately. For those of us, such as myself, who have no musical talent, keep in mind that those sing-along sessions in the car on the way home from work are just as therapeutic as writing your own music.
Spending time outside on your own is not only good for you physically but mentally as well. It gives you time to think, away from any distractions in your life. I know it can be difficult to reconnect with yourself when you’re busy with work, school or other activities. When the TV, computer or your friends and family are around, the distractions make it easy to avoid being alone. But you need that alone time. So give yourself fifteen minutes to spend outside completely on your own (yes, that means leaving your phone inside). Meditate, do yoga, go for a walk or run – get outside. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
If none of these ideas seem right for you, that’s okay! Everyone is different and everyone reconnects with themselves in different ways. Find the methods that you like most and get busy taking yourself on solo-dates.
Published in the Fall 2015 issue of FLURT.