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Self-Care: Take Yourself on a Date!


Have you ever considered going on a solo date, but not sure where to get started? SPRINT Project MSc by Research Student Niamh Callaghan, shares her recent experiences and how she used mental skills to help get over the initial nerves!  

 


 

 

I always thought loneliness was the same as being alone but truly it's not.

As a mature student I live alone in a busy city. Now don't get me wrong, I am fortunate enough to have some great support around me. But there are often long periods of time where I am alone. I labelled this as loneliness, and it got me down. Until one day I learnt the truth.


One evening I did some reading and realised people can be surrounded by a crowd they know and still feel lonely. Yet there’s many people alone out there, content, and happy with their own company on a daily basis. I wondered how?

 

It’s simple! Treat yourself with love and care. Be present and honest with yourself. Self-care as we know at the SPRINT Project is vital!

 

I decided to embrace being alone by taking myself on a date. The journey to the first one can be quite nerve wracking but it is worth getting through this stage. Grounding techniques are a great way to settle in and regulate emotions. Grounding techniques can be used in the moment to help us to feel calm when we are feeling particularly worried or stressed out. They are great for situations like this as they can be used anywhere, at any time. As I was walking to the bakery, I did some deep breathing exercises to settle myself. You can find out more information about deep breathing and other grounding techniques via our free infographics here. The experience of taking myself on a date felt odd at first. I have travelled around the world alone but sitting in a bakery with purpose felt different. However, once I became present and reminded myself why, I felt empowered.


Taking yourself on a date isn’t just popping to the supermarket on your own. It is taking the time to do something you enjoy. My first time I decided to go to a new bakery in town. I had been wanting to go since it had opened but had no one to join so abandoned the idea. Taking myself on a date was a perfect opportunity. Before leaving I got ready into one of my favourite outfits that made me feel confident. I took with me a comedy autobiography book I was reading. The bakery looked incredible. I indulged in a massive sticky toffee doughnut, and it tasted amazing. It was a treat and very much worth it. I then sat there for over an hour with my coffee and read my book, appreciating the surroundings. Once I relaxed, I felt at peace with myself and proud.



Image description: A photo of a doughnut and drink from the bakery.



It was such a weird, unexpected experience but very powerful and liberating.

 

Since that first time I have taken myself on a date a few more times. I have gone to the cinema, a café and last week back to that bakery. It is important to realise the difference of going out alone and taking yourself on a date. Remember to be present with yourself, do something you enjoy, and listen to your mind and body. I promise it’s worth it!




Image description: A photo of Niamh Callaghan enjoying a solo date.


 

Niamh’s top five benefits of going on a solo date:


  • Relaxation

  • Happiness

  • Personal growth

  • Confidence boost

  • Independence

 

Niamh’s solo date ideas:


  • Try a new fitness class

  • Try a new café/ bakery

  • Go to the cinema

  • Go to a bookstore

 


 


Let us know how you get on in the comments section below if you decide to go on your own solo date!

 

You can also check out the SPRINT Project’s recent blog post series about self-care activities

here, here, and here.



 

Photo credit: Niamh Callaghan.

Written by Niamh Callaghan, MSc by Research student in the SPRINT Project.



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