The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Attending university revolves around the constant stimulus of being around others, which is only heightened at Wilfrid Laurier due to its small, close-knit campus. Common spaces to study, sports games, clubs, bars and restaurants within walking distance have embedded the student body into a never-ending social bubble. Without a doubt, Laurier’s sense of community is wonderful, but it also begs the question: what happens when you inevitably have to be on your own? Whether it be because your roommates went back to their hometowns for the weekend, you don’t know anyone in your classes or you just haven’t made a lot of friends yet, many people dread having to spend time alone.
Speaking from personal experience, spending my first year of university — one of the most pivotal years for making new friends — at home caused me to enter my second year feeling completely out of place. Especially when I was just beginning to get comfortable with my roommates and meet new people from my classes, I struggled with feelings of loneliness as I watched the people around me mingle, laugh and hang out with their cliques. Fortunately, it was during this time that I picked up many strategies that helped me learn to thrive on my own.
1. Take yourself out on dates.
Who says you need to be with others to go to a coffee shop or get a bite to eat at a cafe? Although it may seem daunting, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out solo. Carving out time to treat yourself allows you to feel important and cared for. You get a rewarding sense of independence when you realize you have no one to thank but yourself for brightening your day.
2. Practice self-care.
Although it may seem cliche, adopting hobbies that benefit your health and well-being is helpful in making your alone time enjoyable. Do a facemask and complete your entire skin-care routine. Take a hot bath or shower. Curl up with a good book or watch your favourite TV show. Write a journal entry. Draw, paint or colour. Take time to make a delicious home-cooked meal or bake your favourite dessert. While these all may be very simple tasks, allowing yourself to discover fulfilling pastimes will help you appreciate the time you get to unwind and just do something you take pleasure in.
3. Get active.
Believe me when I say that participating in physical activity of any kind is a great way to destress and release endorphins that improve your mood. Don’t get it twisted: I am not asking you to go to the gym and do intense cardio or weightlifting, if this isn’t for you, that’s okay! Getting active can mean taking a walk through your neighbourhood, going on a hike, riding a bike or following a 20-minute yoga video on YouTube. Take the time to experiment with different types of physical activity until you find one you enjoy. I am confident there is something out there for everyone.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is a big one. Trust me, I understand this is much easier said than done. Maybe you are walking through campus by yourself while other students sit with their peers, you don’t have anyone to sit with in class or your social media is filled with pictures and videos of people out at parties and events, comparative thoughts can easily seep into your head. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is different, so as an outsider looking in there is no way for you to know if someone with a booming social life is truly happy. You are in charge of your own happiness.
I hope that these strategies help you combat the feelings of insecurity and fear that often come with being by yourself. Coming from someone who once thought I constantly had to be in the company of others to be satisfied, learning how to enjoy spending time with yourself is an extremely rewarding journey. Being alone does not have to mean being lonely.