This guide for how to be alone with yourself is for all of you who are uncomfortable sitting in stillness and/or don’t know how to be alone with yourself without feeling anxious, guilty, overwhelmed, or downright lost and confused.
Many of you have spent your life doing everything you can to not be alone with yourself. For many, it can be the most terrifying suggestion they’ve ever heard. And at the same, even if you’re terrified of being alone with yourself, there’s likely some part of you that really, really wants to figure out how to move past the discomfort into a new place, where you are at ease in your own company.
This gentle guide starts with the basics and keeps it simple. These practices are not meant to fill your whole day. They are about setting intentions, showing up consistently, and learning to stay with yourself, no matter what. Come back as often as you need.
10 Tips for How To Be Alone With Yourself
1. Set A Time For Yourself And Show Up For It
Just like you would with a friend, loved one, or co-worker, schedule a time to get together with yourself to connect and get grounded. You matter. You are a priority. You know what you need better than anyone. That makes you the very best person to spend time with. The first step on the path to learning to be alone with yourself, and getting acquainted with You, is to set a time for yourself and show up for it!
2. Choose One Thing To Focus On
If you are intimidated or unsure of how to spend quality time alone with yourself, it helps to choose one joy-filled thing you’d like to do. Here are a few suggestions…
- Cook a special meal just for You, and slowly enjoy every bite
- Create a special playlist and dance to it around the living room
- Write a love letter to yourself, saying all the things you wish someone else would say
- Get out some art supplies and mess around making stuff, just for fun
- Sit outside and observe nature
- Do a guided breathing practice, followed by a guided meditation
- Sit anywhere and listen to the sounds around you
- Take a luxurious bath, then get in bed early to read a book
- Go on a nature walk. Imagine your eyes are in your feet and let them guide you where they want to go
It’s not so much about the activity you choose but about choosing something that feels doable, and maybe even gets you a little excited to be alone with yourself. It’s also not about work or getting something checked off your to-do list. If it falls into that category, pick something else.
3. Decide How Long You Will Spend Alone
Anywhere from 30-minutes to two hours is a good start for how long to intentionally hangout with yourself. You can also let the length of time be determined by what you choose to focus on with your time (ie: a 30-minute walk or an hour-long bath). Either way, setting a time limit is part of creating a safe container, where you know what to expect. Your heart will thank you for going slow.
4. Create A Safe And Tranquil Space
If you share a space with other people, it might take a little arranging, but it’s important to find a place where you are free to be alone without interruption. Choose a space that feels safe, cozy, and comfortable. If you are inside, light candles, turn on soft, ambient music, grab a snuggly blanket, and wear your favorite sweatpants. This is all about creating comfort for yourself and setting yourself up for restoration and rejuvenation. If you choose to spend time alone outside, be intentional about making sure it’s a place of beauty, serenity, and calm, without a lot of people or traffic, and let the sounds of nature be your music!
Read more: You can intentionally create a safe place anywhere. Discover how to do a retreat at home for your wellbeing.
5. Practice Grace, Compassion And Non-Judgement
You are your greatest friend and ally. When you are alone with yourself, you are free to just BE. Offer yourself all the grace, compassion, understanding, and open reception you so generously extend to others. Trust yourself and relax into the safety of BEing with the person who knows you best and has been with you through everything. You are safe with yourself because you are choosing to be a safe person for yourself, without judgment or shame.
6. Have A Mantra and/or Simple Soothing Action
If at any point during your alone time you begin to feel scared, unsure, unsafe or full of overwhelming thoughts and feelings, have a mantra or simple action pre-planned that you can use to bring you back into the safety of the present moment.
For a mantra, you could say, “I am here. I am safe. I am loved. I am well.” For an action, you could cup your face with your hands or stroke your forehead while whispering, “I’ve got you, darling. I’m here for you. What do you need?” Then listen to what your heart has to say. You can also hug your arms around your knees and practice belly breathing. Whatever sounds most soothing, do that!
7. Be Open To Whatever Happens (Or Doesn’t Happen)
This is where you begin to allow yourself to just BE and delight in yourself, and the present moment, without expectation. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing to accomplish. The whole purpose of this time is to give yourself –heart, mind, and body – room to be exactly as you are. If you find yourself getting caught up in the DOing aspect of the activity you choose, gently remind yourself that you are here to explore and enjoy, not be perfect or productive. Rumi put it perfectly when he said, “Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”
8. Let Yourself BE
Being alone with yourself is not about actively trying to achieve anything. It’s about learning to stay with yourself by BEing who you are, where you are. When you give yourself space and room to just BE, your heart will begin to speak, and you will learn to listen. You will notice your mental and emotional patterns without becoming upset or needing to make it better. Learning to BE without the goal of accomplishing something is foundational to building trust with yourself and rooting into the truth that you are valuable and worthy apart from anything you DO.
9. Be Flexible And Generous With Yourself
Sometimes things won’t go as planned, or you will need to experiment with different days/times/locations/activities/etc… Be willing to change course with your time. And while you are practicing flexibility, be generous with yourself by continuing to try. If things don’t go as you hoped, please come back. Your heart is longing to speak to you and spend time with you, just as you are.
10. Leave Everything Else At The Door
The very best part about intentionally setting time aside for You + You is the mini vacation it gives you from all your other responsibilities, worries, anxieties, and to-dos. For 30-minutes to two-hours, you are letting go of your lists, obligations, and busyness, in order to restore your connection with yourself, and your heart. Take a few moments at the beginning of your time to imagine putting all your frets into a jar for safe keeping. They will be there waiting for you when your time with yourself is over. If you don’t feel like mentally picking them back up when your time is over, just leave them there. They might disappear on their own! This can also be turned into a physical practice where you write down everything that’s weighing you down (including your feelings about being alone) and put them in a jar in a different room. You can burn them later or just leave them there to sit. Either way, it’s a wonderful practice for learning to let go and just BE.
What To Do With Difficult Emotions
If difficult emotions around self-judgment, past traumas, current grief, or any number of painful feelings rise up during your time alone with yourself, it’s up to you whether or not you tend to them in that moment. Ultimately, part of learning to stay with yourself and be alone with You, is to create a solid foundation and safe container for everything in you to rise up and be cared for with tenderness.
But first, take it easy. Leave the heavy stuff at the door, and enjoy the reprieve for a bit. Eventually, you’ll be more comfortable with stillness and can directly focus your attention on deeper heart healing.
For now, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you all the joy, peace and calm You + You so greatly deserve. Please keep coming back to yourself with grace, compassion, and love. You are valuable and worthy of so much care.
xo – Jessica