So-called cuffing season is the time during fall and winter when it seems like everyone you know is suddenly in a relationship — for better or worse. One potential reason for people pairing off is the isolating feeling that can occur for some single people during the holidays, particularly if you're not surrounded by friends and family. While it's important to acknowledge these feelings, it also can help to celebrate the advantages of being single — or simply partake in some serious self care no matter what your current status — with a few of the best solo date ideas that will help you totally reconnect to yourself.
As many single women who have traveled alone can tell you, it can be a tremendously powerful feeling to devote a chunk of time completely to yourself: Forging your own path, making new memories, and putting your needs before anyone else's for a while. But if a vacation isn't an option right now (or feels like too big of a step), start by just spending a day doing activities you may have previously only thought of doing as a duo. You just might find that they're even more enjoyable when you're on your own.
Relishing your alone time and singlehood can be an important piece of the puzzle that is becoming your best self. So if that's one of your resolutions, take the advice of Rachel Thomasian, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Playa Vista Counseling who's currently co-penning the forthcoming breakup book Breakup & Breakout with Tina Setteducate. "I think some cute solo date activities include elements that nourish your soul and help you connect with yourself," she says. Think learning something new, exploring nature, or getting full-on pampered. Looking for more specific ideas? See ahead for a few suggestions that will make you cherish your single status in a whole new way.
Make Yourself A Picnic
“Find a nice spot for your blanket, get some snacks, or even a meal, a book perhaps, or something you could do,” says dating expert Liam Barnett. “You can get flowers, chocolate, or just anything really. I’d also suggest you get a pair of headphones for some music, though hearing the sounds outside and just being present would be ideal too, especially if you combine it with your music (put the volume on the low so you can hear both sounds: music, and the surroundings). [Bring] a good book, or a magazine, or anything you’re really passionate about. If you paint or draw, get what you need with you. Make a little memory out of it. Or if you like taking pictures, take your camera with you. Enjoy and appreciate yourself.”
Enjoy A Little Sexy Time
“The options for solo dates are endless, but if you’re looking for ideas, consider centering it around self-love and have a little sexy time by yourself,” says Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Kinsey Institute Research Fellow and TENGA ambassador. “Masturbation is a healthy way of taking care of both body and mind. Consider making an evening of it — take some time to set the mood and create an immersive experience that taps into all of your senses. Put on some underwear or lingerie that makes you feel sexy, then turn on some music and mood lighting. Once you set the scene, begin to explore your body. You can always use your hands, or you can add an element of novelty by trying out a new toy that can unlock new sensations.”
Pick Up An Old Hobby
“A great way to reconnect with yourself and find some grounding is to reconnect to your favorite past times,” says Christine Mak, a certified wellness and lifestyle coach and founder of Soul Paradiso. “Some of these can be creative in nature such as drawing, playing an instrument, photography, cooking a new recipe, or starting a DIY project. Working with our hands, breaking away from technology, can bring us back to enjoy what’s in front of us and strengthen our skills. There’s no expectations and you’re just doing it for fun to feed your soul.”
Explore Your City Or Area
“When people travel alone they get to be themselves unrecognized, to ask ‘who am I in a place where no one has expectations of who I am?’” says Ellie Bass, certified personal and wellness coach, podcast host (Pop Parenting), and educator. “Get out of your neighborhood and decide who you would like to be for a few hours in a totally new environment.”
Take Yourself On A Scenic Hike
"A lot of FOMO during cuffing season can be a result of others engaging in the act of connection," explains Thomasian. Her solution? Connecting to nature by going on a scenic, inspiring hike. "Not only will you be one with nature, but you'll be using all of your senses and thus connecting with yourself," she adds. "The sense of accomplishment at the end of the hike and the natural high from the activity will also be uplifting."
Indulge In A Spa Day
Self care can take so many forms, but the occasional day of pampering can actually have more profound benefits than just clearer, softer skin. As Thomasian explains, a spa day can be a chance to de-stress and give yourself some love and attention. "I think self-care is a big element in surviving cuffing season when single individuals can tend to be harder on themselves for not being in a relationship," she says. "And chances are, you're not going to run into couples there."
Take A Class
You don't have to wait for a partner to finally take that cooking/ceramics/drawing class you've been thinking about — which is also the beauty of being single: There's no one to object to all your creative ideas! Taking a class is also great if you want to embrace your singlehood while still socializing with others. Because it's interactive, you're likely to spark up a conversation and leave with a new friend.
Go Out For Dinner (Yes, Alone!)
For some reason there can be a stigma around dining out alone, but it's actually a totally underrated solo activity. For one thing, you won't have to share your favorite dish, and there's no one to veto your menu selections. But beyond that, it can feel oh-so powerful to prove to yourself that you can totally do this (and you'll probably notice a lot of others doing the same). So go ahead and book a table for one at that restaurant you've been wanting to try — it'll feel like the ultimate luxury.
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