How to enjoy going out alone
The thought of going out alone fills a lot of us with dread. What if I see someone I know? Will I look lonely or weird? What will I do at a coffee shop alone? Will I look awkward?
Fear of judgement keeps many of us stuck at home. But seeing life outside our own is important for our mental well-being – when we’re stuck in the same environment all day, we can end up trapped in our worried minds, making our problems feel heavier.
Going out and catching people living their lives helps us grasp the bigger picture. Seeing people meeting in coffee shops, doing their daily runs, and picking up bread from their local bakery opens our minds and gets us to see life in a brighter light. We remind ourselves that there is a beautiful world outside.
For those of us in relationships, it’s very tempting to wait on our partners to accompany us everywhere. But what if our partner isn’t around? Do we wait at home all day until they get back?
We can lose our sense of self if we abandon the things we love to do on our own. So, we must live our own separate lives, independent of our relationships. Otherwise, we can forget how to function without our partner by our side, and we become someone’s other half rather than being our own person.
And equally, for those of us who are single, we’re not all grieving a break-up or waiting on a partner to walk into our life – many of us are intentionally single, learning to love life (and ourselves) on our own.
Whatever position we’re in, the art of enjoying alone time is worth learning.
7 tips to enjoy going out alone
Whether you’re newly single, intentionally single, or in a relationship, learning to feel confident about going out alone really can improve the quality of your life – and make the world your oyster!
1. Plan to avoid unwarranted anxiety
Before you leave the house, take a moment to write out the details of your outing. Where are you going and when? If you’re feeling lonely, going to a coffee shop can give you that much-needed dose of human interaction. In my experience, post-break-up loneliness can feel less apparent when surrounded by people in a local café.
If you’re going to a coffee shop or restaurant, looking at an online menu beforehand can help you avoid having to make panicked decisions. This is a wise idea for individuals who find decision making stressful. You can protect your peace by planning in the comfort of your own home!
Once you have a clear vision of where you’re going, what you’re doing/ordering and at what time, you can imagine yourself doing it. For example, imagine yourself drinking a flat white at 10am with a good book in your hand. Visualising details motivates us to make things happen!
2. The power of intention
You can introduce an intention for your solo outing. This will help anchor you when you feel unsettled. When you start to worry (perhaps about people judging you), you can come back to your intention and remind yourself that you’re not there to impress or please anyone.
- I intend to connect with nature.
- I intend to express gratitude.
- I intend to relax.
- I intend to invite peace in.
- I intend to focus on what is good in my life.
3. Look up
When you visit the same place repeatedly, you can forget to look around. For example, it’s easy to become unappreciative if you do the same walk every day. Changing where you go is a good idea as it gives you new sights to admire!
Tune in to the sensations you experience – vision, sound, touch, smell and taste. Bringing awareness to our senses helps us to be present and steer clear of overthinking. For instance, when you focus on the feeling of the warm sun on your skin, you won’t worry about people judging you. You can’t have two thoughts at once. Focusing on the beauty around us helps bring us out of our overthinking habits.
4. Take it one step at a time
Persuading ourselves to leave the house can be the hardest part, and we can experience anxiety in anticipation of going out. The unknown can make us fearful and it can put us off doing things that are good for us.
It’s easy to fixate on the ‘what if’s’:
- What if I bump into my ex?
- What if I look silly?
- What if there is no space in the coffee shop?…
This overthinking can exhaust you before you even try! You must remember, you only exist in the present moment. Focus on what’s happening right now, not on what could (or could not) happen in the future.
If you want to go out but feel hesitant, take it one step at a time. Start by deciding on a cool place to visit. Next, pick a nice outfit (even if you end up staying at home, having a nice outfit on will make you feel good). Then you can find a suitable pair of shoes to wear (and so on). When you think about every step in isolation, you can avoid getting overwhelmed. Quickly, you will find that the only step left to take is the one that will get you out the door and that one step alone is not so scary.
If at any point you start to panic about the ‘what if’s’, remind yourself that they are not inevitable. They most likely won’t happen and, if they do, they won’t put you in any danger.
5. Music can shape our experience
Music impacts how we feel and how we perceive our surroundings. When we listen to fast-paced music, the environment can suddenly feel hectic. If we listen to relaxing music, we feel more appreciative of our surroundings and safe in them. When the music is slower in pace, we don’t feel as rushed and we’re more inclined to enjoy the moment.
I find classical music puts me at ease and helps me soothe anxious thoughts, whereas pop music excites me. There is certainly a time and place for this excitement but if we want to feel peaceful and less nervous, saving the pop music for another time is a good idea.
6. Affirmations can comfort us
How we understand our situation depends on the thoughts we choose to believe. When we begin to worry about the ‘what if’s’, we can observe those negative thoughts but we don’t have to believe them. We can watch over them and then gently challenge them with affirmations. Affirmations are great mindset adjusters.
Affirmations that challenge the what if’s:
- I am free to be myself.
- I am proud to be me.
- I am safe.
- I deserve this experience.
- I am curious about the world.
7. Smile easy
We often smile liberally when we’re in the company of others but grow serious whilst on our own. We feel silly smiling, laughing and having fun when we’re alone, especially if we’re out in public. But smiling makes us feel good as it releases happiness hormones. So, smiling can help us enjoy our solo outings!
We also look good when we smile! People want to interact with us if we’re smiley because we appear friendly and approachable. When I make an effort to smile at people on my walks, I find many people stop to chat with me.
Connecting with strangers through a smile or conversation makes the world feel like a better place and this has a positive impact on the rest of my day. On top of that, I love that I make others feel good when I smile at them. When I smile I invite other people to smile with me and my smile becomes contagious! Isn’t that beautiful?
Going out alone can be an uncomfortable experience. But we can challenge ourselves by showing up and trying, and in time, it won’t feel so scary. The more we do something, the less we overthink it and it’s the overthinking that steals the fun. So be brave, those first few trips may be difficult but that is what these tips are for!
If you’d like some support to feel happier and more confident in your own company, reach out to a life coach today.