Doing things alone has great power but takes some getting used to as well. Being honest, this is not something I have mastered 100% yet. But life is not about being perfect to me, but more about learning (this girl has learned her lesson haha). This guide comes from the lessons that I have learned so far, and the tips I can share from them. I would love everyone to experience the same #fiery freedom and empowerment as I have done so far!
Read on for the Fiery guide to doing things alone in a city, part 2!
Activities: the Fiery guide to doing things alone in a city
I am sharing tips which have a lower barrier and build up to things which may seem more daunting if you’re new to doing things alone. But you’ll get there – remember it’s a practice! Do it often enough and you won’t think about it anymore. With all activities, the same applies: you are always in complete control, so you do it for as long as you want! Going for a walk alone for 10 minutes is also an accomplishment 😊.
Going for walks – low barrier
If going to ‘social’ places is too big of a step for now, why not start with going for walks by yourself? Find a good playlist on Spotify (see mine here) or podcast and get some fresh air. It reduces stress, is great low impact exercise, and you have all the benefits of being alone. Focus on your surroundings: what gives you joy to see, what happens when your mind wanders?
Museum – low barrier
I consider this low barrier as you’re not expected to talk to anyone except the ticket person. Being alone allows you to reflect on the art more, and you are in complete control of how long you spend there. Start with museums nearby and work up to museums in other parts of your city.
Work out class – low barrier
Being dependent on going with friends to the gym has often meant I did not go much at all. When you go to a class there is not much time for socializing anyway, and luckily you do not have to think about what to do either – just follow the instructor. For me, going to the gym alone has become the time when I decompress after work. I listen to the MFM podcast, laughing alone like a crazy person…and I love it.
Movie – medium barrier
If you think about it, you almost never talk during a movie, and if you meet only for a movie there are not many occasions for catching up. Matinee movies are the best to try out, as you will not be the only person going alone and it’s during the day. I have a small movie theater near my house which shows art house films, and I love spontaneously dropping in on Sunday afternoons to see a film.
Lunch / Dinner – medium/high barrier
Eating alone probably makes people most hesitant to try, as eating has a strong social component. However, eating alone has its own pleasures. You focus more on the food and it can become a self-love ritual. A nice glass of wine, a nice meal and some time for reflecting on your day or plans for the weekend. Having lunch alone, for whatever reason, seems less daunting, so try that first. I always bring a book, so that if I do feel self-conscious I have something to do.
Vacation – high barrier
This may seem to most people as the most daunting thing to do alone. If you’re nervous about this (understandable!) then perhaps this will help: ask a friend before you leave if they can be your ‘anxiety buddy’ while you’re traveling. Calling via wifi is free and free internet can be found in most places. If you’re honest with that friend, I am sure they will be OK with you calling them whenever you need it. Also, my recommendation would be to travel somewhere you feel more at ease first. When you do take that first holiday alone, you will realize it is not as awkward as you thought. Mostly because you do not know anyone, it seems it lifts a lot of the self-conscious feelings.
I spent a few days in Lisbon alone, a city I was familiar with and speak the language. Having experienced that, traveling to Japan for two weeks by myself was not as daunting. And even then I had an ‘anxiety buddy’ and local friends I was visiting. I have to admit I suffered from some separation anxiety the first day by myself – but a quick call to both friends remedied that 😊.
Fiery tips for doing things alone in a city:
You may be thinking, “but what if I do not know what I want to do?”. That’s okay, and part of the process! By experiencing this more often, you will learn what you enjoy doing, and what you are comfortable with.
I had the same – I almost started crying in Osaka I was so frustrated with myself. I could not make up my mind on what I wanted to do. After sitting in a coffee place for a while, I realized I was tired and wanted to go to a quieter area. Perhaps do some vintage shopping, and then I was ready for a proper drink and a burger. I had a great night later – and it taught me to take the time to listen to what I want.
- Nobody cares. When we’re feeling self-conscious, it may seem like everyone is looking at us. It’s called the spotlight effect, and most people will suffer from this up to a certain degree. But really, nobody cares about what you’re doing. If you take that as a given, it makes it a lot easier 😉.
- You can always leave: you are always 100% in control. Feel too uncomfortable or can’t shake your panic attack (been there!)? Then consciously make the decision to leave. And be kind to yourself when you do. Remember, this is a practice, so it takes time to get accustomed to.
- Bring something to focus on. I always have a phone with me, filled with podcasts, offline spotify playlists and audiobooks. Often, bringing a book along can also provide something to do, and can also be a great conversation starter.
I hope that the list of activities and tips described above give you a good starting point and guide to exploring the wonderful and exciting world of venturing out by yourself from time to time. Remember, it may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it is worth being brave and exploring further!
More Fiery Living blog posts can be found under the Lifestyle category.