Surprisingly, I don’t recall hearing of the practice of caring for your mental health until my early 20’s. It wasn’t until I got into yoga that I started to fully experience the mind-body connection and reap the benefits of caring for both simultaneously. There’s a spectrum of aspects within mental health I could cover as a Holistic Life Coach, but an aspect I hear others struggle with more often than not is the art of spending time alone.
When was the last time you can remember doing an activity with yourself? Notice how I didn’t write by yourself because well, you’re still with your own energy which is amazing company! If you can’t recall anything recent it’s no worries. We live in a society where doing things alone is sometimes not encouraged, so it’s really a mindfulness practice of exploring what activities feel more aligned for you. Alone time gives us the opportunity to explore our personal interests, listen to our inner dialog, tune into our intuition, practice boundaries, and cultivate a friendship with yourself. Although we are social creatures, it’s important to often recharge our self-connected battery — here are a few of my ideas for how to do so.
Time in nature:
Creating intentional quality time with Mother Earth is a perfect way for you to de-stress, get grounded, and feel at ease. I like to pair my time in nature with an activity like reading, walking, playing an instrument, or doing a meditation. “Spending at least 20 to 30 minutes immersed in a nature setting was associated with the biggest drop in cortisol levels.” explains the Harvard Health article. If we’re not experienced with alone time, you may feel anxious or awkward at first but adding mindfulness activities to your experience will help you to be present and engaged. This is a great opportunity to discover what it is that you like to do with yourself all while soaking up Vitamin-D and maybe even snapping a few cute photos of you in your Wolven set! Be sure to stay safe in nature and aware of your surroundings, of course.
Coffee shop date:
It can be super liberating to go out to a coffee shop or a restaurant by yourself to be your own date! If you work from home it’s nice every once in a while to get dolled up and buy yourself a nutritious lunch and latte while hanging out and getting work done. It feels good being productive, checking tasks off of your list, working on a passion project, or even doing a little creative writing if that’s your thing. Extra points if you can give a random act of kindness to another person while you’re out. Whether it’s a smile, compliment, or buying coffee for the person behind you, the good energy you cultivate within yourself feels so rewarding to spread organically.
Day at the spa:
We can recognize the value of physical self-care when it comes to mental health. This solo date approach does require some coin but it’s well worth it being able to detox digitally, go inward, and have someone else pamper you for an hour or two. I sometimes find that physical self-care can almost feel like extra work or the last thing on your to-do list that you can easily skip. That’s why the spa is a great solution since you’re held accountable to show up for yourself and receive. Receiving is a challenge for many because we’re so used to giving to others but I promise you that setting aside time for a massage, a facial, and a good pedicure will feel nourishing and relaxing, not to mention the inherent health benefits from the services rendered. There’s a chance that you have a hard time fully relaxing so this solo activity gives you the chance to get some practice in as well as express your needs during the services to ensure your experience is nothing less than perfection.
Connecting to your body:
Our bodies can easily be the most disconnected part of ourselves. We can be so in our head that we forget to slow down and be truly present in our five senses. Connecting to your body while alone can manifest in a few different ways. A good place to start is practicing some gentle yoga where you follow your own flow instead of following an instructor. This can help you feel embodied and connected to your physical body. As a certified yoga teacher, I always encourage people to practice at their own pace and do what feels good in their body. Another idea is engaging in self-pleasure or self-massage. Tools like essential oils and regulating your temperature can better help you tap into your senses. Whichever route you choose, some soothing music or even affirmation music can be a perfect way to set the scene and help you tune in. I would pair this practice with some journaling before and after to act as a mind-dump, leaving behind what no longer serves each time.
Getting to know your true self and developing a friendship with yourself can be a beautiful opportunity for you to dedicate more intentional time away from social media and devote yourself to strengthening your mental health. Mental health is just as important as your physical health, both are your responsibility to give care and attention to. The goal is that alone time doesn’t feel lonely but instead it feels like you’re in the company of someone you love and care for — the best part is you create the rules and control your setting. Have a beautiful month of watering your own garden.
About the Author:
Alyssa Alvarez is a Metro-Detroit native Whole Life Healing coach and yoga teacher. Through her studies of neuroscience, nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, and intuition, she’s led emerging entrepreneurs and teenage women to new heights in their capacity to show up for themselves. Her podcast, Aura Awakening Radio, shares the stories of conscious creatives pursuing their passions and the leaps they took to embody their highest potential. Alyssa also hosts local workshops on Body Neutrality, the seven chakras, and EFT Tapping. You can visit her website at www.auraawakening.com or Instagram @awakening.alyssa.