Whether you’re single, in a relationship, engaged, or married, each of these statuses share one key piece of advice: choosing to cultivate self-love is essential.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my twenties (and especially within the later half) it’s that an abundance of peace, rejuvenation, and exciting adventures can be found in moments of solitude. Now I’ll admit, while I’m an extrovert on most days I’ve always found a sincere sense of pleasure in being in my own company. Nothing excites me more than a blank agenda for the weekend, to fill with whatever my heart desires, sans the approval of anyone. This can include personal bucket list items, a table for one at a new restaurant in the city (my date for the evening, the dashing book I’m currently devouring), a creative class, or simply binge-watching Living Single on the sofa with a glass of Malbec. Trust me ya’ll, the list is endless.
If you haven’t begun to do so already, or don’t know where to start, it’s time that you begin dating your own self. Think of it as intentional moments of self-care, and treat it like a real date (i.e. don’t flake!). If in a relationship this doesn’t mean throwing your partner to the wayside, but rather self-refueling, and perhaps testing out various activities that you can eventually experience together.
Too often we feel pressured to minimize our time alone and fear loneliness. For many, including myself at times, we worry about appearing selfish or potentially hurting the feelings of others by putting you first. However, doing things solo makes you more independent, interesting, capable, self-reliant, and provides you with a sense of fulfillment. Together these qualities make us a better friend, partner, and human. Be selfish, and spend time appreciating your own company. Love the idea but don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, from frugal to the finer things, I’ve got you covered below with some of my suggestions below!
10 Dates to Take Yourself On
1. Take a cooking class – One of the best experiences I had in the past year was signing myself up for a cooking class. Homemade paella and sangria, anyone? Ummm, yes please. Engage in the fun of cooking alongside others, learning a new recipe, potentially making new friendships, and sharing a collective meal together. Bon appétit!
2. Book a one-night staycation at a nice hotel/resort – this suggestion may sound strange – but it doesn’t mean you won’t feel like a million bucks doing it. More on the finer side of things, select a nice hotel or resort in your city and stay for a night away from home. Take it a step further by treating yourself to all of the amenities – room service (can you say breakfast in bed?), bar, rooftop pool, etc. It’s just for one night, so take full advantage of it!
3. Teach yourself something new you’ve been wanting to learn for awhile – What’s better than learning a new skill? Calligraphy, makeup, how to change a tire, you name it! Bust out the YouTube tutorial videos and get to work.
4. Do something adventurous – Take a walk on the wild side and seek a thrill in activities such as hiking, biking, zip-lining, indoor skydiving, etc.
5. Go to a bar – Now here’s one I haven’t personally done myself, but am going to push myself to do. Being at a bar solo is often looked at as socially abnormal, but why not give it a try? I imagine unaccompanied drinking can lead to numerous encounters with unexpected strangers, positively forcing you to get out of your comfort zone and engage in conversation. *Safety and responsibility come first. Ensure that you have an Uber, cab, subway, or way home that doesn’t involve getting behind the wheel.
6. Attend a live show – The local theatre, comedy club, or perhaps an open-mic night. Enjoy a night of either acting, humor, live music, poetry, and so much more. Feeling brave at the open-mic night? Get up there, girl.
7. Wander around a museum or art gallery – Chances are there’s one near you. Move at your own pace in this peaceful setting, getting lost in the latest exhibits. The best part about museums is that most have a day of the week where they offer free admission to the public.
8. Pack a picnic – Bust out the blanket, pack a delicious spread, and venture to the nearest park. This idea is ideal for the warmer months and is best enjoyed with a pair of sunnies, a book/magazine, and your favorite cocktail.
9. Take a dance class – If you’re like me, I’ve been dying to force my hips to move like Shakira (I’m still trying, but with little to no progress). Sign up to learn a fun dance style such as hip hop, salsa, the foxtrot, line dancing, etc.
10. Invade the couch, with a huge blanket – This solo date is what I like to call 'old faithful', and is always, I mean, ALWAYS dependable. Whether you decide to binge-watch the latest Netflix hit (ahem, Black Mirror), or listen to that bomb playlist of yours while journaling, popping a squat on the sofa will never go out of style.
Live in Atlanta?
Here’s some places and activities I suggest for solo dates in the city: take a cooking class at The Cooking School at Irwin Street (you can often find a deal for this offer on Groupon), rent a bike from Atlanta Bicycle Barn and take a stroll on The BeltLine, sign up for one of Candlefish’ candle making workshops (located inside Ponce City Market), book a veggie facial or herbal massage at Iwi Fresh Garden Day Spa.
*Bonus Suggestion: It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy a nice date with yourself. In fact, some of the best solo adventures I’ve gone on have been on a budget, and with the help of money saving apps such as Groupon, Scoutmob Experiences, or Loaf Deals.
I can’t wait to hear all about the fabulous date/s you take yourself on, and hope you’ll share any additional suggestions in the comments below!
Book yourself in the weekend ahead,