As I write this I am actually on my first solo break of the year. I know, how did that happen? Shocking given that I champion the solo lifestyle and am on record for advocating the benefits of going solo on holiday. But this year, even when I travelled and arrived somewhere alone, I either spent the holiday with a friend, family or in a group. I’m grateful to have people to go away with, or who live in beautiful places for me to visit.
I firmly believe that everyone deserves a break, once in a while, that includes being on their own, even if only for a few days. I know thousands of people agree with me as evidenced by the increase in the number of people booking solo holidays – data that I’ve shared on social media. And those people are not just solos or singletons: I know from my Successful Solos Survey (2017/18) that they include many people (men and women but mainly the latter) who are married.
How can we have genuine ‘me-time’ if we are always with other people? Whatever our relationship status (single, married, divorced etc), we need to understand, and build a good relationship with ourselves, before we build relationships with others. This is not selfishness or self-obsession, but self-care and often self-discovery. How often do we hear or read that, “you can’t look after the people you love properly if you don’t look after yourself.” And how often do people find out too late how true that is?
This week I’m on my own in one of my favourite places, the Lake District. Everyone knows that a change is as good as a rest but I can’t see why we can’t have both a change and a rest: I’ve been really looking forward to a change of scene and, let’s face it, getting away from my normal routine and the kith and kin with whom I normally share my time: a week of revisiting old haunts and discovering new places and things to do that might even make me step outside my comfort zone. And as for the ‘rest’, although I’ll be self-catering and self-drive, I’ll at least be out of my normal daily domestic, exercise, community activity and commitment loop . So, I’ll be able to relax while I’m away from it all. (Oops almost, as I’ve already admitted to writing this blog while on holiday.)
But as well as rest and relaxation I want to include some recuperation, and for that I need to include a bit of luxury, self-indulgence and pampering into the mix. That’s why I’m ending my week with a one-night stay in a luxury spa hotel, with full use of thermal spa facilities and treatments to boot. Because I’m worth it. It’s big-time self-care right? (It is!)
For anyone who hasn’t tried a solo break before, for whatever reason, I thoroughly recommend a spa-break for a first time or anytime solo experience. Here’s why:
- Any holiday break is an interruption from the norm, but by it’s very nature a spa-break forces you not just to pause but to STOP. To do nothing, sit or lie still during a sensory experience or while someone anoints you with unguents. Go with the flow.
- The pervasive air of quiet calm is ideal for self-care and reflection. Look inside yourself and outside through the window – there might be a waterfall. Make the most of it.
- You don’t have to talk to, let alone make friends with, anyone who is not offering you a service of some kind. Alternatively, should you want to talk to someone different, you can strike up a conversation (quietly) with anyone willing. Or you can see a therapist.
- You choose exactly how you want to spend your time, and whether you want to spend any of it in the company of others. So for example, you might decide to take part in a new activity (kick boxing or aquafit) while you are without the critically watchful eye of a friend or loved one; or to eat at a social table with other people on their own rather than at a table for one – or not. You might be relieved that at last you can avoid any kind of “couple ritual” that involves candles and oils.
- You can practice living without your phone for a few hours at a time, as they are usually banned in public areas. Or you can stay in your bedroom with your smartphone for the whole of your stay.
- Everyone looks awful and is completely anonymous, if not invisible, in an ill-fitting white towelling robe. No-one is looking at you. It’s very levelling.
I hope I’ve convinced you.
Christine Ingall 9 October 2019