If you suffer from anxiety, you know how easy it is to just let others dictate the day/outings/etc. You want to please others because you want to make sure they want to hang out with you still. Well, first, let me just tell you, they’ll still love you and want to be around you even if you choose an activity or restaurant that they hadn’t initially thought of. Second, sometimes it’s important to do things alone so you don’t feel the burden of worrying about everyone else’s immediate happiness, sometimes at the sacrifice of your own.
Also, I just want to say that your feelings, wants, and needs are completely valid, and you don’t need to do things by yourself all the time in order to be able to do things or go places you prefer. Just remember that it’s okay to make a solid decision and stick with it. People like that just as much as they like going somewhere of their choosing. Doing things by yourself, especially when you have anxiety, is such an important way to be more comfortable being alone by yourself and accepting that what you like is good. It helps you figure out what you enjoy without the influence of others, and to be honest, it’s really freeing.
I’m starting to realize that I make a lot of lists. I think part of it is because I like looking at them, and because it’s easier to read posts that are broken up into lists. Whatever. It’s a thing.
Either way, here’s a list of things people with anxiety should do alone.
Going to the movies
I tried this when Shane was at a friend’s house or out of town or something and loved it so much. I feel like the movies are reserved for a date night or a friends’ night out, and while I love to go with friends or my husband, it’s so relaxing to go alone. When you go to the movies alone, you don’t have to worry about what anyone else wants to watch, you don’t have to share your snacks, and you get to shut the rest of the world out for an hour or two and just let yourself be taken somewhere else watching the action instead of participating in it.
This is a tough one for a lot of people with anxiety. It’s hard enough doing stuff alone, but for whatever reason, eating in public by yourself always seems to come off as sad. It’s not. You have to eat, and if you want IHOP at three in the afternoon, not having someone who’s willing or able to go with you shouldn’t stop you. Bring a book or a magazine, request a corner booth, and settle in with your pancakes. You don’t have to sit there staring at strangers eating their food if you don’t want to. Enjoy your favorite restaurants that no one else wants to go to. Take as much time as you need to to eat. Order as much or as little as you want without feeling judged.
Story time: when I still lived at home, I was the only “plus size” person in my family. When we went back-to-school clothes shopping, I always felt left out because I could never shop at the same stores as anyone in my family. Then, when it was time to go to the one plus size store (thanks for being there, Lane Bryant), everyone always acted so bored and I felt like a burden on the rest of the family.
Whether it’s clothes shopping with people that don’t wear the same size or style as you, or a store that is in line with your interests, it’s nice and important to shop alone sometimes. There’s no rush to move on and look at something that suits someone else’s interests, and you can go straight to stores that you like and avoid ones you don’t particularly enjoy. Plus, if you do want to rush in and out, that’s an option, too.
This is a pretty broad one, but is still an important one to cover. Whether you’re exploring nature, a big city nearby, or a museum, exploring things by yourself is pretty important. It helps you get in your thoughts or out of them, and it helps you to figure out what you like without someone else’s influence. Plus, as with shopping alone, you can explore places you enjoy that others might not. And, if you’re single, what better place to find a mate with similar interests than a place you enjoy being?
As with anything you do, just be vigilant and aware of your surroundings since you are by yourself. Doing stuff alone is important and can be fun, but if you ever feel unsafe, get out of the situation.
It’s okay to want to do things with friends; it’s not good to isolate yourself, but sometimes even extroverts need some alone time.