When you strip away all the face masks and hashtagged Instagram posts, self-care really boils down to one thing: looking after oneself. Taking actions to make sure that you’re healthy—physically, mentally and emotionally.
For most of us, this means eating vegetables, striving for eight hours of sleep, squeezing in the odd spin class and downloading a meditation app. Those are all productive and powerful methods of looking after ourselves but sometimes they can feel more like work than care.
Enter another way of practicing self-care: dating oneself.
What it means to date yourself
Dating yourself is all about investing in your relationship with yourself. It means spending quality time with yourself, doing something other than errands, or making dinner, or going to the gym, in effort to feed your own passions and boost the love and care you direct inwards. It’s making an effort for yourself the same way you’d make an effort for someone you’re dating.
Why dating yourself is a powerful form of self-care
It’s easy to get hung up on self-care as it applies to physical wellbeing; nutrition, exercise, sleep and so on. Dating yourself ticks the other self-care boxes, like mental and emotional health. Taking yourself on regular dates can:
- Boost your self-confidence
- Strengthen your sense of self
- Increase your self-love and self-respect
- Make you comfortable with solitude
- Uncover new interests
- Help you establish healthy standards and boundaries for relationships with others
The dos and don’ts of dating yourself
Flopping onto the couch for another marathon session of Friends reruns does not count as a date. To turn solo time into self-care time, follow these dos and don’ts:
Don’t invite a friend. This is not a double-date. Dating yourself means spending time alone.
Do plan ahead. Like you would for a regular date. Research events in your city, buzzed-about restaurants, the coziest bars and what’s on at museums and galleries. Pick a date, set a time, buy tickets and get excited.
Ideas for first dates to take yourself on
Dating yourself is a chance to do, see and eat exactly what you’re interested in, without considering anyone else’s wants, needs, budgets or dietary restrictions. Here are a few beginner-friendly ideas for self-dates:
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