10 Public Places Where You Can Make the Most of Your Alone Time
Everyone needs alone time, and these locales are perfect for unwinding. Visit these public places to get some much-deserved alone time.
Having time alone is good for the body, mind, and soul. Some experts suggest that regular alone time may even make you a better parent and partner. With a little planning, you can find time for yourself on a regular basis - but then what will you do?
Sure, you could sit on the couch and enjoy a Netflix marathon of your favorite reality TV series, but being alone doesn't mean you have to stay home. I love getting out and exploring the world on my own terms, enjoying the sunshine, and once in a while getting a sense of accomplishment to go along with that precious alone time. I offer you a list of some of my favorite places to be alone; keep it handy for the next time you find yourself with an afternoon or weekend free!
My travels around the country have taught me the importance of a good city park, and not just for outings with the kids. A park is a great place to soak up the sunshine on a blanket with a book or go for a jog. I love to take my camera and go for long photo walks, all alone, with no one urging me to hurry over to the swings.
Many city parks host special events, everything from outdoor concerts and free theater to fitness classes. Hop online to see what's available near you.
My husband and I don't often go to the movies, even on date nights; sitting in the dark seems like a waste of a sitter. Once in a while, we go as a family to check out the latest animated blockbuster. My best chance of seeing a romantic drama on the big screen is to find a girlfriend who can coordinate her alone time to match mine - but why wait?
Get the big popcorn, your own box of candy, and spend an afternoon laughing or crying (or both) in a dark room. It's cathartic!
Yes, the kids love the beach, but a family trip to the shore may not be very relaxing for Mom and Dad who have to keep a watchful eye on everyone at all times. On the other hand, a day spent on the sand alone can be very soothing. If you can get to a beach beside the ocean, I think you'll find that the constant rhythm of the waves has the power to heal just about anything that ails you.
Safety note: Be as religious about applying sunscreen on yourself as you would with your little ones and avoid swimming where there is no lifeguard present.
Need a little mental stimulation? Head to the nearest art museum for a few hours of existential thinking that will get your own creative juices pumping. The beautiful thing about museums is that it's practically a law to be quiet, and art museums even have seating scattered about so you can rest your feet in front of your favorite masterpiece.
One of my most splendid dining experiences was lunch alone on the patio of Mon Ami Gabi in Vegas. I sat alone and ate rich French fare that would have been far too pricey if I'd been ordering for a family (or even a couple). The musical fountains of the Bellagio kept me company from across the street and I didn't regret the lack of a dining companion for even a minute; I was too busy enjoying the scenery and p?t?.
You don't have to have an inordinately expensive meal to enjoy dining solo; pick a spot in a trendy part of town for people watching and pastries.
Luxury Hotel Room
This one might require a little saving and more than an afternoon, but it will be worth it! Ask any parent who has traveled for business and they'll tell you that sleeping alone in a big bed with good linens that you don't have to wash is a special kind of nirvana. You can spend the night in the hotel room, reading and lounging in the lap of luxury, or head to the fitness center and pool area. Order up room service and enjoy eating your favorite foods in the comfort of a big, fluffy robe.
Pedicures with the girlfriends are nice, but a day at the spa all alone is also nice, especially if you need more pampering than 25 minutes in a vibrating chair can provide. At many upscale spas, booking a treatment -- including just a pedicure -- gives you all-day access to the rest of the amenities: Sit in the steam room, sweat in the sauna, go for a swim, or just take a nap in a dimly-lit, well-upholstered, and blissfully silent lounge.
Quiet pampering and meditative walks not your style? Or maybe they're just not your style today. Head to your local gun range and work out some aggression on a paper target. If you don't know how to shoot, learning can be a real confidence booster, especially if you get better with practice. You don't have to own a gun to partake in target practice at most ranges; rentals are available and you just pay for the ammunition and time in the range. I learned to shoot and got about 45 minutes of practice time with a handgun at a range in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and spent about $35.
The great thing about a bookstore is that you don't have to know what you're interested in before you go. Grab a coffee and spend as much time as you want perusing the titles in various sections. Go ahead and flip through that book on heritage livestock or the guide for knitting with newspaper. While I personally think it's a bit tacky to sit and read your favorite magazines without purchasing them, it's a trend I've noticed in Barnes & Noble. A compromise: read the first chapter of that novel you've been meaning to check out and buy it if you find you can't put it down when it's time to go home.
Local Fishing Hole
Not all outdoor activities should be taken on alone. A long hike in the mountains, for example, is best done with at least one companion who can run for help if needed. Fishing, however, is a pretty safe sport that can be both peaceful and rewarding, if you manage to reel in dinner. Do make sure you have a fishing license before you plan to cast.