Solitude does not equate to loneliness: An ode to staying in

The kettle’s just boiled, my pyjamas are on, and the second episode of Coronation Street is about to begin. It’s Friday night and I’m in heaven. While the rest of the female population is carefully preening themselves for a night on the town – make-up on and high heels in-tow – I’m reclining on the sofa with my hair in a bun and an avocado sheet mask on my face.

It’s not that I don’t like going out, because I do (sometimes). I just prefer staying in. I’m an ambivert chasing the introverted lifestyle. People like me are outgoing when we need to be. I’m social at work events, when interviewing people for articles, and when hanging with my friends. But I love my own company, and as sad as some people may find it, I enjoy nothing more than quality ‘me-time’.

Alone-time is good for you

Solitude does not equate to loneliness. Rather, it gives our minds a chance to unwind and sort through the flurry of thoughts in our heads. Did you know the average person has up to 50,000 thoughts per day? I need peace and quiet to deal with that. My life is fast-paced enough from Monday-Friday without going gung-ho at weekends too.

Staying in on weekends is no longer synonymous with laziness, but with improving our mental health. Research published in the journal Health Psychology Open suggests that people who regularly take time for themselves handle stress better, which in turn improves their physical health. For me, self-care means sitting by myself, eating my favourite food and watching my favourite show on Netflix. I know that's not for everyone – to some, self-care means spending time with your pals or playing sports. But hey, everybody's different. This is just my way.

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Some people don’t get it

Throughout school, college and even into my adult life, I’ve met dozens of people who don’t understand me. I’ve been described as shy, antisocial, and awkward because I prefer to listen to other people than speak out. I’ve been told by people – including ex-boyfriends – to “say something” and “don’t be so quiet”. But that’s how I am. I can’t be any other way – and I certainly won’t “speak up” just because someone told me too. Not everybody has something to say, and I’m not going to blabber on just for the sake of it.

No FOMO

Do I have the fear of missing out? Nah. Life is too short to spend time following the crowd. It's more important to do what makes you happy and ignore everything else.

Not only is staying in something I enjoy, it's also good for my bank balance. A night on the town costs me a minimum of €85 (including drinks, taxis and McDonalds afterwards) – that's €340 a month, or more than €4,000 a year. Sure, I treat myself to takeaways at home (and I'm partial to a bottle of wine while watching Graham Norton) but I'm managing to save enough for a two-week summer holiday.

So while you're in your heels, tearing up the dancefloor and doing what outgoing people do, I'll be curled up the sofa with my dog and a cuppa. Who's the real winner here, eh?

 

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