Monday, November 7, 2016

A #Celiac's Top Five #SelfLove Tips for an Epic "Me Date"

When was the last time you were by yourself - and truly enjoyed it? Whether you're a mom juggling a career and two kids or - like me - a college student with three roommates, alone time can be hard to find. And when we do have it, loneliness often fills people's places.

But, as The Huffington Post explains, spending time on your own can offer plenty of benefits, from increased creativity to a clearer mind. Not sure how to spend time alone without being lonely?

casey the college celiac

Then read this celiac's top five tips for planning an epic "me date" full of self love

1. Commit to doing an activity on your own, no matter how uncomfortable.

A few weeks ago, I received a text from a friend - and my heart immediately dropped. They were going home for the weekend, which meant I had to also say goodbye to my usual social plans for Friday night. As I momentarily panicked over what to do with myself, though, I realized something: they had given me the perfect chance to make this weekend all about me. 

As self-absorbed as that sounds, "me" time is a must - especially when you're surrounded by people (at home, work or school) nearly 24/7. After all, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. The first step in planning an epic "me date," then, is recognizing that self love isn't selfish - it's a necessity. By intentionally committing to time on your own, you're less likely to feel guilty or lonely on your date, and you can enjoy the freedom instead!

casey the college celiac
You can find self love in surprising places...
Like one of my favorite (anonymous) quotes says: "Falling in love with yourself first doesn't make you vain or selfish; it makes your indestructible." (Or at least able to positively interact with other humans the other 99% of the time!)

2. Choose an activity you've been wanting to do - but never had the time for. 

What's one activity that always makes you smile when you think of it...but you never actually get around to doing? For me, that was going thrift shopping at my favorite local Goodwill. So, on a Friday when all of my friends were away, I decided to spend the night looking through used clothes instead. 

Whether your dream-but-delayed activity is dining at the hip new restaurant nearby, trying out rock climbing or simply reuniting with Netflix, it can feel intimidating - even wrong - to do it alone. Thanks to social media, people are hardly ever "alone" now. As a result, you may initially feel awkward or "uncool" to be hanging with me-myself-and-I in public. 

casey the college celiac
Bell bottom jeggings may not be cool either...but I bought them anyway!
In the end, though, enjoying your chosen activity is up to you. People care way less about what you're doing than you probably think. When Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" started playing on the thrift store's radio, I just took it as a sign to book another "me date" soon!

3. Enter your "date" into your calendar, phone and planner...and follow your plan. 

Have you ever scheduled a date with a cute, smart, wonderful human being...only to blow it off because "they really weren't important enough"? Hopefully not! When it comes to a "me date," though, this excuse can seem valid far too easily. After all, if a surprise project or meeting with your boss popped up that day, is taking time for self love really that important? 

To put it simply, yes - because when you reject the significance of self love, you imply that you aren't that much of a priority either. So, when you decide you want to go see that play, try making your own pottery or garden for a few hours, do it

casey the college celiac, nana ice cream
You could even paint an owl mug like I did!
Of course, if a family emergency comes up, self love might need to be rescheduled to another day. But if you're tempted to skip just because you're tired, your PJ's are super comfy or anything short of a zombie apocalypse, motivate your booty out the door. When I went thrifting a few Fridays ago,  I wasn't thrilled to trade my warm apartment for a dark evening in a store. But, by the time I drove back, I felt more peaceful than I had in weeks. 

4. Embrace surprise conversations.

What? Conversations when you're supposed to be spending time alone? Isn't that breaking the rules? When it comes to your "me date," though, you can choose how alone you really want to be. For me, the short talks I have with strangers when I'm shopping or walking around my college often become the highlights of my date. They serve as a reminder that even when I'm choosing to be alone, connections aren't hard to make or find. 

When you're enjoying an activity on your own, you might also be more likely to make new friends. After all, would you feel more comfortable to someone sitting by themselves in the park - or an entire crowd of college students? Even though I only spoke to thrift shop workers for a few minutes out my hour-long stay, their kind comments reminded me that nice people do exist in the world - even if all I can think of at times are my frustrating group partners or the angry drivers hogging the road. 

casey the college celiac, hot yoga
Like yoga as meditation...
Nights like those also remind me that meditation can occur in many shapes and methods. Sometimes we just need time with our thoughts and a few sweet strangers to make us see the day in a fresh, renewed light. 

5. Create your own definition of "epic."

Now, I promised that this wouldn't be just any "me date" - it'd be an epic one. That doesn't mean, though, that you need to spend all of your free alone time swimming with sharks and climbing mountains. While those activities might give your Instagram a boost, you have the power to define what "epic" alone-time activities best fit your needs. 

Maybe "epic" is finding a new, cozy corner on campus to read; treating yourself to a Pumpkin Spice latte at Starbucks, even though it costs more than any cup of Joe should; or even kicking around the soccer ball, like you did years ago. This date is all about you, so don't put an arbitrary limit on what activities are "worth" dedicating time to. 

casey the college celiac, Sunset Cliffs San Diego
Reading with a view?
Sure, your friends might not be blown away by your wild Friday night at the thrift store...but when you get a $7 graduation dress, an hour of peace and a smile to wear as you fall asleep, does that really matter?

I'll admit it - when answering the question I asked you in the first line of the blog post, my usual response is: "I can't even remember." As much as I try to incorporate self love into my everyday life, "me dates" often fall to the bottom of my to-do list...at least until I start falling apart from my nonstop activity and stress. 

The truth is, you are not only worthy of a break, but also of a date focused entirely on making you happy. You probably wouldn't reject a date with a cute, smart, wonderful human you met at work or in school...so why would you do that to yourself




What is your favorite kind of "me date"? How do you make time for self love in your life? 

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