Sometimes, it’s better to be alone.
Despite our desire to share trips and life experiences with people around us, it can be just as beneficial to do those things solo.
Toronto life coach Tamera Lay says spending time with yourself is the best way to figure out what you like — without any having influences get in the way.
“This increases self-confidence because the more we know about ourselves, the more confident we can be when we go out into our every day lives,” she tells Global News. “We all have an inner guidance system, but the problem is we are too damn busy in life that we rarely connect to it.”
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Studies over the years have found several benefits of doing things alone — whether that means having dinner at a restaurant by yourself or watching a movie in a theatre. Bustle reports a study from Harvard University found that spending time alone creates longer-lasting memories, and another study by the university shows people who spend time by themselves have a greater sense of empathy.
Below, Lay goes through six things we should all do alone at least once in our lifetime.
Whether this means overseas or to a new city for the weekend, everyone should travel alone, Lay says. “It gives you a sense of independence and allows you to do whatever you want to do for the whole time you are there.” On top of the adventure of discovering new places, travelling alone allows you to meet new people and organize days on your own terms. “It will give you a sense of pride, allow you to step outside your comfort zone and learn new things about yourself.”
Spend time with nature
It may sound cheesy, but being outdoors (without any distractions), really allows you to connect with nature. Whether you hit a local trail, the beach, a park or just go for a walk, Lays says being within nature will help you breath deeper and clear your mind.
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“With all the phones and computers and demands of our world today, it is so important to connect with [nature],” she says. “You will be amazed as to what comes to you when you do this.”
Celebrate your birthday
Nobody is suggesting that you spend the whole day alone, but learn how to enjoy your birthday by yourself. “Reflect on the year that has passed and write down all the awesome things that happened, and all the things that maybe didn’t go your way,” Lay says. It’s also important to write down what you learned from these experiences to set yourself goals for the year ahead. “Get as detailed as possible and set those goals. This will give your brain the information it needs to start looking for ways to help make it happen.”
Take a class
Just because you aren’t in school anymore, it doesn’t mean you should stop learning, Lay says. Pick up a local coding class, try a new hobby or just explore those classes you didn’t have a chance to take when you were younger. “You will be amazed at how focused you can get without the constant interruptions of [friends]. You will also meet a bunch of new people that you have something in common with.” Personal development seminars can also be useful.
Try a meditation retreat
Meditation isn’t easy, and for those who have a hard time concentrating alone, a retreat can be a useful tool. Guided by professionals, most retreats can help you discover new ways to meditate, as well as figuring out what works for you. “Being by yourself allows you to go deeper, without the chatter, thoughts or judgment of someone you know.”
Treat yourself, and just yourself
We tend to focus on what we’re lacking, what we do wrong, where we fall short, and we very rarely celebrate our successes in life by ourselves, Lay says. “It’s not egotistical to be proud of your accomplishments, even though somehow society has made us believe that,” she says. “It will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. It will also make you happier and raise your vibe so you will naturally attract more into your life to celebrate.” This could mean enjoying a spa day by yourself, retail therapy or just grabbing yourself a drink at the bar.