5 Days of Spending Time With Myself
Hello world, it's been a while and let me say I've missed you tons. There has been a lot of soul searching and head clearing going on with me lately as well as a pretty empty calendar as far as travel dates go. So, while I tried to think of things to blog about and looked to YouTube and the blogosphere for inspiration, I decided to try a new thing and see how it goes.
5 to 7 days of - whatever you want me to try. Whether it's a new fitness regime, a diet, a hobby, etc., I am going to give it 5 to 7 days and write about the process and results. It will keep me busy and motivated and gives me an excuse to try new things that I could actually fall in love with and use for years to come.
My first '5 days of' was inspired by me actually having to be alone and, if we're being completely honest, it really wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be. And that is coming from a girl who really hates being alone.
A little over a week ago, my boyfriend left the country with his family for 3 weeks. I had no idea how hard it was actually going to be. I know, 3 weeks is nothing compared to what some couples go through but when you talk to this person at all times of the day and see them practically every day, going from being a constant to struggling to catch each other on different timezones to talk for a couple minutes every day - the transition isn't easy. I didn't realize how much time I actually spent with him until he was gone and, yes, I'm going to be that girl and say that I missed him. A lot.
But, as with everything in life, something good did come out of it. For the past five days, I've been taking time to be alone so here I am, letting you know that a little self-love practice is good for you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
D A Y 1
I will say, the first day was the longest and hardest. I really had no idea what to do with myself. When I wasn't at work, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook just trying to pass the time. I also found myself looking at the clock a lot more frequently, which, let me tell you, does not make time go by any faster. So after a few hours of that, I did what I knew best - searched for coffee. I work at a coffee shop so I hardly ever get to just go to a coffee shop to sit. I went to one of my favorite shops in Oakland - Highwire Coffee. Before anyone calls me out on this, yes, my best friend does work here but to really do the whole being alone thing, I went to the location he doesn't normally work at and didn't even let him know I was there! *sneaky*
If you know me at all, you know that I am a sucker for coffee shops. I love everything about them, the smells, the people, the music, the interiors that make them so different from each other. All of it. I'm obsessed with them. If I could spend time at my favorite shops every day, I would. Here's the low-down - After ordering my usual iced latte, I found myself a seat near the window in a somewhat empty lobby and pulled out a book ( Looking for Alaska by John Greene ). I rarely ever have time to read nowadays unless I'm traveling so being able to just sit and read without any worries was new to me but it didn't take long for me to get lost in it. With my phone out of sight, I let myself get completely invested in the pages and it was actually really refreshing. Sometimes it's nice to get out of your reality and into someone else's.
If you ever look around a coffee shop, you'll actually find that the majority of the people are alone. Whether they are working, reading, studying, people watching, or just enjoying a nice cup of coffee before going on with their day, coffee shops are more than just an in and out thing. Me being dramatic says they are a necessity to life, but I think if you look around, you'll find that some people just need them to have somewhere to go, to have a conversation with a stranger, to feel welcome and safe and, actually, not feel so alone at all.
D A Y 2
Sad and realizing that talking to my boyfriend for five minutes was how the next three weeks were going to go, I decided to do some research on self-love exercises . So, for day 2 of being alone, I came home from work and wiped off my make-up, looked myself in the mirror and recited some positive affirmations to myself. Yes, it was a little awkward and is definitely going to take some getting used to but, honestly, I've been starting every morning with this and it actually does make a difference.
"I am healthy, I am happy, I am strong."
Easy enough and it can honestly be whatever you want it to be. As long as it's positive, hearing the words out loud makes all the difference in the world. I struggle with self-confidence and that is something I continue to work on, but I firmly believe that a good self-esteem is key to happiness and, like Drew Barrymore says, happiness is beautiful. So, the next time you're getting ready for work and looking in a mirror, give yourself a little positive pep talk. I promise you'll set the tone for the rest of your day.
Another thing I tried out for the first time was meditating. I never get my mind to stop no matter what I try, so I never really even thought to try any kind of meditation. Even when I've tried Yoga, I never really felt that whole zen thing, just some sore muscles after. But I read an article about meditation and decided to give it a go. So for twenty minutes, I turned the lights down low in my room, sat in the center of my bed, and got some much needed Ivi time just thinking about all the things I'm grateful for in my life and breathing.
D A Y 3
This might not actually count as being alone because I had my dog with me and she is one hundred percent the best company to have, but since she doesn't technically speak English, I'm going to count it. For day 3, I decided to take my pup Lucy out for a hike, which you can totally do by yourself if you so choose! I'm lucky enough to live near dozens of trails, whether they're along the beach or deep in the redwoods overlooking the SF skyline. Sometimes all you need is a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city and buzzing of your phone to clear your head. I decided to take Lucy into the Oakland Hills for a quick hike just to get some fresh air. Because it was the middle of the week and the middle of the afternoon, there really wasn't anyone on the trail, which was actually kind of perfect. I found a bench with a view of the (very foggy) SF skyline and just sat there with Lucy at my feet, thinking about how lucky I am to live in this place. I think this may have been one of the things I really took away from the week of doing this. Nothing I did made me feel better than getting outside and letting the fresh air really clear my head of all my stress and anxieties I had been feeling. Seeing the beauty in all the things nature has to offer, and the joy in a dog's face is really all you need in my opinion.
D A Y 4
Day 4 rolled around and, okay, it still completely sucked not talking to my boyfriend. Gross, right? I hate myself for it, but what can I say? Not being able to talk to him actually just made the few minutes we did have to talk to each other harder because we couldn't actually have a full on conversation and it just made my anxiety get the worst of me and really put a damper on the time we did get. Not great for me or for him, I'm sure. Something that always makes me feel better about things - sunset. It is my favorite time of the day and I can't tell you how many times I escaped to the cliffs in Ocean Beach just to watch the sunset when growing up in San Diego. It helped me many nights when I just wanted to be alone and ease my mind about things. I really don't watch the sunset as often as I would like, but today I made my way down to the marina that is literally less than a 7 minute drive from my house and parked the car directly in front of the water. With the SF skyline and bay bridge to my left, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in front of me, and the San Rafael bridge to my right, the sun directly setting behind the mountains that line the coast, it was just as beautiful as you would imagine, probably more. I never truly realized how perfect of a spot this was and how easy to get to it is so I will definitely be finding myself here more often.
Of course, with the day that day 4 had brought, the end of this sunset viewing party ended up in the car battery dying and me freaking out as it continued to get darker and not knowing what to do. Thankfully, I have the best sister and brother-in-law to help me out in my times of need so all was well, but it definitely made me realize how much I actually don't care for being alone. It's definitely good to take time for yourself sometimes, but after this, I was ready to call defeat.
D A Y 5
For my last day of doing things on my own, I got to spend an afternoon at my favorite hair salon. This happened entirely by chance given I completely forgot about it until I got the confirmation text, but honestly, who doesn't love a good hair sesh?? It couldn't have come at a more opportune time either. With everything going on, I needed some kind of change and what better way to signify change than chopping off some hair? Let's not get too excited, I didn't go crazy or anything, just a few inches off the ends to make it look and feel healthier, but anytime I leave Population I feel like Beyonce's 'Run The World' song is playing on repeat wherever I go, that's how good it makes me feel. So for day 5, I started out with some positive affirmations, went to work, had a great lunch and Green Day pop-up shop adventure (okay, it doesn't count as being alone but it felt important and productive), and when it was time for my hair appointment, I felt good and ready. It doesn't technically count as being alone because I had really great conversation with my hair stylist - not my usual go-to but still amazing!
Never underestimate the positive effects of a hair cut and tone. I might have only cut off a few inches and maybe it's all in my head, but I felt better than I have in a long time once I left the salon. Like she had cut all the negativity out and hit a reset button on life. I'm not saying you need to go do something to your hair every time you're feeling down, but doing something for yourself, pampering yourself for no one's benefit but your own, it has a result and it's a good one.
So, as you can see, my 5 days of spending time alone wasn't actually all spent alone and I don't claim to understand how people feel about being alone themselves. But it was nice to get some time to myself and realize how lucky I am to actually have people I can go to whenever I need them. By the end of the week, I still missed my boyfriend and was counting down the days until I saw him again, but it was getting easier. I definitely took away from it and realized that practicing self-love is good for me every once in a while.
I'm off to San Diego for the weekend, but let me know in the comments below what you want me to try next! I'm up for anything as long as it's not illegal or could kill me... Hey, if anyone wants me to eat mexican food for 5 days I am one hundred percent on board with that so let me know and I'll catch you guys next week for another post of '5 Days with Ivi'. xx