Last week I was having a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill emotional breakdown.
You know the type - ugly crying, gasping for breath, foetal position kind of emotion fest.
And while I was feeling pretty average and pretty negative about almost everything, I all of a sudden felt a big ball of joy in my heart when I realised - I was completely alone.
You see, you might be inclined to think this was MORE upsetting and, to the naked eye, it can potentially seem like a relatively sad scene (laying across the lounge room floor sobbing seems pretty tragic, right?).
But I'd just moved into a new house and I'd come from a share house environment - you know, with actual real-life live-in housemates.
Like Friends but less fun.
The sheer joy of being able to cry alone snapped me out of my sad stupor.
I don't regret living in a share house for a year of my life.
It really taught me to appreciate being alone.
I've been living alone for a month now and it feels so indulgent that I realised being alone, at its core (if you can enjoy it) is the truest form of self-care.
Forget dropping a hundred bucks on a facial or reaching for a bag of Maltesers in the name of self-care - get yourself alone for two secs and you'll recharge those emotional batteries.
Our brains are busy. We never give ourselves a chance to emotionally digest our day; we go from one convo to the next and if we're not talking we're scrolling and tagging friends in memes. And if we're not scrolling, we're bitching about Jessika on Married At First Sight to anyone that'll listen.
Ugh Jessika... Am I right?!
Let's press on.
Don't be scared to be alone.
My friend mentioned to me the other day that he would never ever go out for a meal alone because he was afraid of getting judged.
I was surprised.
He's independent and confident and cool and I thought maybe scared of the dark but being alone?
Our brains are busy. We never give ourselves a chance to emotionally digest our day; we go from one convo to the next and if we're not talking we're scrolling and tagging friends in memes. And if we're not scrolling, we're bitching about Jessika on Married At First Sight to anyone that'll listen. Ugh Jessika.... Am I right?!
And you know what?
It can actually take time to enjoy being alone without it feeling awkward or maybe even making you feel lonely.
Baby steps is the key.
Start with a coffee on your own then work your way to eggs benedict - you'll be taking yourself out on a mini-vacay in no time!
And if you're reading this like 'PFFT Riley-Rose, I have kids or I run a business or I have a spouse or I *insert reason why I am never alone* - you can kiss your whole solitude-self-care theory goodbye because it ain't happening for me' - WELL I see you and (I'll admit) you might have to try a little harder to look for those moments of alone time.
Turn down the radio when you're driving by yourself next time to completely bask in your aloneness.
Try going for a walk around the block without a phone or next time you're standing at the photocopier, recognise that as a moment to yourself.
You deserve that quality time with the photocopier, damn it!
A real-life science experiment showed that some people would "give themselves a mild electric shock rather than be deprived of external sensory stimuli".
It doesn't have to be terrifying to go inward every now and then.
Find the self-care in your moments of solitude.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world."
Riley-Rose Harper can be heard on Hit 104.9 from 6-9am on weekdays.
Her column R&R Time with Riley-Rose Harper appears on Mondays in The Border Mail