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Monday, February 13, 2012

Set a date for yourself: The importance of alone time.

It's no secret Valentine's Day is just around the corner. The web is a buzz with Valentine's ideas about this and that. What you should buy your significant other, great date ideas and the like, but I want to challenge you to something.

After all the Valentine's Day hoopla has died down, make it a point to set a date for yourself. 

Sounds weird? I know.

This is a practice I started for myself back in my college days. While I enjoy the occasional social event and hanging out with my friends, family, and husband, there's one thing I enjoy most of all. Having a date with myself.

There's something about setting one day a week aside to relax, think, rejuvenate and create. On this day, you have no one to compromise with, get ready for, or meet in a timely manner. It's all about you. You probably think I'm crazy but humor me for a little.

If you're like my husband, he can go, go, and go some more all the way until he passes out at bed time. While this lifestyle may seem appealing, when you take a deeper look, there's never any time for quietness and introspection which we all need in order to better ourselves.

Take last night for example, I turned in early so that I would be able to get a good chunk of reading done before bed. As my husband slid under the sheets, he was intrigued that

1. I was still awake (I try to be asleep by 11:00pm most nights).
and
2. That I was awake reading. 

As he peered over my shoulder trying to glance at my current chapter (which happened to be about following your husbands lead. Coincidence? I think not) I wiggled and playfully suggested that he get his own book to read. His response?

"I don't have time to read or to do anything else for that matter."

Hmm, I wonder why that is. It's because he's an extrovert who never spends anytime alone.

Sound familiar?

To be fair, I'm an introvert to the core (which makes my family think I'm a total freak : )) and while this can be an interesting dynamic with my relationships, I find that it helps me balance my priorities. Instead of dashing from one event to another, I've taken a step back and learned to enjoy life and myself.

So why is alone time important? It helps you:

1. Relax
2. Rejuvenate
3. Create
4. Dream
5. Sleep
6. Enjoy your surroundings and life
7. Appreciate the small things and
8. Notice things you never have before

The important thing to keep in mind is that spending time alone doesn't have to be boring or awkward. Here are some easy ways to date yourself weekly:

1. Take a trip to your local bookstore. (This is one of my favorite things to do. I just love being among the smell of fresh, crisp novels. My place of choice is Barnes and Noble. No you don't have to actually read a book on your date. Instead order a great drink or pastry and flip through your favorite magazines. The inspiration to start this website came from doing just that on one of my dates).

2. Go out to lunch or dinner and treat yourself. (One of my favorite restaurants is Pei Wei. I like to eat it so often that my husband has developed utter disdain towards it, so when I'm due for a date, I treat myself to a meal there. They have great outside seating so I'll usually find a nice table nestled in a corner and read a book, magazine, or write in my journal).

3. Head out to the beach. (I know this is not possible for everyone at the moment, but if you have weather like mine where it's summer all the time, this is a great way to relax).

4. Watch your favorite show without any interruptions. (I religiously watch Gossip Girl every Monday night, even if I have to record it. My husband and all his friends know not to talk to or try to interact with me during my favorite shows).

5. Go for a walk and listen to music. (I love to walk around my lake as I listen to Adele and take in the beauty of nature. So serene and peaceful).

6. Go for a walk and just reflect. (Sometimes I find silence is necessary. It's how we can listen to our thoughts, God, and just dream our biggest dreams. If we never have any silence, how can we create?)

7. Take a trip to your favorite tea house. (This is something I love to do. It's no wonder Europeans swear by tea time. It's something about slipping into your favorite tea dress and enjoying a nice cup of afternoon tea).

Finding it hard to commit to time alone? Check out one of our back articles "I am not Superwoman!" It may give you a little better perspective.

Happy Monday!