Kelly Gonsalves

Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

By Kelly Gonsalves

Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

woman hiking in nature

Image by SeventyFour / iStock

January 16, 2023

Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may

earn a small commission.

Cheers to the introverts who love their solitude, but if you’re someone who actually really likes being social, you might struggle knowing what to do with your alone time.

“We are social beings, and we are meant to connect with each other both physically and emotionally, so of course it’s very challenging for many, especially extroverts, to be alone,” psychologist Margaret Paul, Ph.D., previously told mbg. “Yet it’s vitally important for all of us to be able to be alone with ourselves and still feel peaceful and full within.”


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

If this isn’t your forte, fear not: Here’s a long list of things to do alone to make yourself happy, from calming solo activities to do from the comfort of your home, all the way to raucously fun things to do by yourself out on the town.

14 calming things to do alone:

Sound baths are usually held at yoga studios or wellness centers, and they’re a great calming activity to do alone when you have an evening of downtime to yourself. Also known as sound therapy or sound meditation, a sound bath is an immersive listening experience wherein you’re guided by a practitioner to mindfully listen to various meditative sounds to help you slow down, relax the mind and body, and bathe in the feelings of serenity and stillness.


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Research shows spending time in nature can support our stress resilience, longevity, and overall health. If you have access to a plot of land (either in your own backyard or in a nearby community garden), consider starting a garden to encourage yourself to spend more time outdoors and develop a relationship to the land. Gardening is often a quiet, meditative activity and therefore something that’s great to do alone.

As you might know intuitively, clutter can subconsciously up our stress levels and put a damper on our mood. So, decluttering your closet (and your home in general) not only gives you something simple and relaxing to do when you’re alone, but it’ll also continue to boost your overall well-being as you get to enjoy a cleaner space in the days to come.


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Another tried-and-true stress relief technique, stretching allows you to drop into your body, loosen up your muscles, and gradually release any tension or tightness. Try incorporating a daily stretch to your morning routine, and see what a difference it can make to the way you feel in your body.


Bake something beautiful and comforting.

In addition to getting to enjoy the delicious sweets you whip up, the baking process itself can be quite calming. It’s a very sensory experience—from the pleasing smells filling the kitchen to the feeling of soft dough between your fingers, and, of course, the sweet tastes—and the repetitive processes involved like mixing, kneading, shaping, and icing can soothe the mind. (And if you’re worried about overdoing it on the sweets, there are plenty of healthy desserts and even breads to try concocting.)


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.


Pick up knitting or cross stitch.

Activities like knitting or cross-stitch are excellent ways to pass the time by yourself because they’re creative and hands-on, yet soothing and simple enough to do with a show or podcast playing in the background. You’ll also get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of a new hand-knitted throw blanket or a beautiful cross-stitch art piece you get to proudly display in your home.

The frilly face of self-care is the at-home spa night, and to be honest, it’s for good reason: It really is relaxing to slow down and truly pamper yourself. Set aside a night for yourself to take a long bath, do a face mask, and give your body some TLC with a rich and nutrient-dense body oil.


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

We could sing the praises of a daily walk all day long, but to keep it short, just know that even a short, 10-minute walk can boost your mood1, ease stress, and spark creativity. If you’ve got some time to yourself to kill, consider just getting out of the house to take a stroll around your neighborhood or a local green space to refresh the mind and get your body moving.


Catch up on your long-term task list.

Sometimes the most soothing thing to do alone is ticking off things that have been sitting on your to-do list forever. Whether that’s repotting the plants, finally clearing out your inbox, or reaching out to that one person you networked with months ago that you’ve been meaning to follow up with, crossing these items off your mental to-do list can clear space in your mind to really enjoy your alone time going forward rather than feeling anxious about it.


Reflect on your goals.

By the same token, it can be rejuvenating to sit down and think about all the big-picture things you’re working toward in the various areas of your life, from career, to relationships, to personal development. What progress have you made so far toward your life goals, and what would you like to spend more time on? This activitycan also be great fodder for more things to do when you’re alone, because it’ll remind you of all the habits, projects, and long-term goals you’re striving toward.

When we’re feeling at a loss of how to spend our alone time, we can sometimes forget to come back to the basics. Movement and exercise are activities that naturally lend themselves to solitude, and they’re habits often nurtured individually (not that group workouts aren’t great too, of course!). If you’re looking for calming things to do alone, consider simply spending an hour doing a deep, invigorating yoga flow.


Develop your morning and evening routines.

Likewise, if you’re finding yourself with large amounts of alone time each day, consider investing in a long, leisurely morning and evening routine. Maybe that looks like taking time to drink a coffee outside and listen to the birds chirp in the morning, or sitting down at your desk to map out your intentions for the day. In the evening, it could look like winding down early with an indulgent skincare routine and then curling up with a good book in bed.


Play some cozy video games.

You may or may not have noticed on social media, but cozy gaming is all the rage right now. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a gamer, these days there are so many cute, cozy, and (dare I say) ~aesthetic~ video games out there designed to be low-key, calming, and delightful. No clue where to start? Look into games like Animal Crossing, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Cozy Grove, or A Little to the Left. You can also look into genres like puzzle games, cooking games, or farming games, many of which are free or low-cost in the Apple app store. These games help you to drop into a state of mindful focus, helping you relax while also engaging the mind.


Document some of your recent experiences.

How often do you make time to sit down and really process your day-to-day life experiences? Journaling comes with a cornucopia of well-being benefits, not least of which is the ability to give yourself time to reflect on your life events and figure out how you feel about them. You also get the bonus of being able to record your recent happenings and insights for future posterity. Think of your journal as a living history book, so you can later look back and remember what was happening at this time in your life.

12 fun things to do alone:

Many people think of concerts as a group activity, but there’s something uniquely enjoyable about seeing live music alone. You’re much more keyed into the sensory experience of being in the crowd, the expressions on the artists’ faces, the sounds of their instruments. Plus, you’re more likely to socialize with fellow concertgoers if you go alone—meaning, you might just leave with a few new friends when the night is done.

Speaking of socializing, when’s the last time you walked up to an attractive stranger at the bar or coffee shop and struck up a conversation?


Learn to cook something fancy.

Hit the grocery store and then spend some time experimenting in the kitchen. Teaching yourself how to cook is a great way to spend your alone time because the skill will come in handy all the time going forward.

OK, it doesn’t have to be astrology if that’s not your thing, but the point here is just to look at your alone time as a window of opportunity to take a deep dive into something you’re interested in. Whether that means becoming a tarot girl or learning everything there is to know about the metaverse, use this time to delve into your weirdest curiosities in a fuller way.


Download a dating app and swipe around.

Why not? To give you a little inspo, here’s our picks of the best dating apps to try this year. If you’re already in a relationship, try out one of these friend finder apps to get to know the people in your area.


Visit a bookstore and bulk up your reading list.

Even if you’re not much of a reader, you might find that visiting a charming bookshop and spending an afternoon perusing the aisles may be exactly what you need to motivate you to pick up a tome. Flip through a few different genres until you find something that genuinely intrigues you, and then take it home for a solo night in.

Make reading into a dedicated part of your routine by joining a book club, which will keep you accountable and also give you a social group to enjoy getting to know. Can’t find one? Start your own.


Go to a makeup store and swatch all the things.

Sub this out for whatever your niche interests are, whether that’s perusing Target for sweet home finds, checking out what’s new at the record shop down the street, or hanging out at your local comic book store.


Practice a new, creative hobby.

What’s a practical skill that you don’t have that you wish you did? Or a hobby you loved as a kid that you haven’t done in a while? Whether that’s learning calligraphy, getting into street photography, or making your own DIY candles, most of us have a secret personal interest that we have yet to explore.


Have an indulgent night of sensual self-pleasure.

Think: candles, blankets, your silkiest sleepwear, perhaps a new vibrator? Considering all the yummy well-being benefits that come from a good orgasm, solo sex is a form of self-care that deserves a little more time in the spotlight than just a quick, muffled O in the shower. If you have a night to yourself, why not spend it getting truly intimate with yourself?


Listen to audio erotica.

You don’t need a partner to access all the pleasures your body can experience, but if you need a little help getting into the right space, listening to erotic audio stories can be a great bridge to a sexier state of mind. (And if you’re a little more of a visual person? Here’s a list of our fave ethical porn sites.)


Teach yourself how to dance.

Whether you’re learning a TikTok dance or going all-in on a full dance workout, dancing can be a powerful way to clear the mind by dropping into your body. It’s a known mood-booster, and something you can do from the comfort of your home or out on the town in a dance class or club. 

Things to do alone outside:

  • Drive out to a beautiful vista.
  • Take a day trip to the beach.
  • Join a walking tour around your city.
  • Go people watching in a buzzy public area.
  • Scout out future date spots.
  • Go for a hike in the mountains.
  • Look for wildflowers.
  • Watch the sunset from your roof.
  • Take yourself on a solo vacation.
  • Join a volunteer group that picks up trash in the area.
  • Walk around the downtown shopping areas.
  • Visit a community garden.
  • Start your own garden.
  • Do a workout outdoors. 

Things to do alone at home:

  • Redecorate a room that needs a refresh.
  • Learn to make your own bread from scratch.
  • Try online therapy you can do from home.
  • Catch up with an old friend.
  • Organize all your photos.
  • Clean your kitchen.
  • Do an extremely complex puzzle.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Create a plan for what you want to accomplish in the next five years, and how you’ll do it.
  • Send out some handwritten letters to people you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Learn how to make fancy cocktails.
  • Listen to a podcast or audiobook while getting some chores done.
  • Take an online class about something you’ve been curious about that’s unrelated to your work.
  • Curl up with an adult coloring book.
  • Make soup from scratch.
  • Learn how to play an instrument.
  • Develop a meditation practice and stick to it. 

Fun places to go by yourself:

  • A museum
  • An art gallery
  • A local historic site
  • A farmer’s market
  • A plant store
  • A library or bookshop
  • The beach
  • A local bar
  • A record store
  • A thrift store
  • A small local music venue
  • A cute coffee shop

Things to make you feel like the main character:

  • Create a soundtrack for your life.
  • Make a playlist for each of your different moods or energies.
  • Buy yourself fresh flowers.
  • Develop your personal fashion style.
  • Decorate your space to really reflect who you are.
  • Work on your confidence.
  • Create a vision board.
  • Organize your life on Notion or through bullet journaling.
  • Have a solo photo shoot and take some fire self-portraits.
  • Create a “day in my life” video for YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram.
  • Dress up and go work from a coffee shop.

The takeaway.

Although humans are indeed social creatures, being alone is also a natural part of the human experience. As such, it’s worth it to invest in learning how to truly enjoy being alone.

As clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., previously told mbg, “It’s often wonderful to create a list filled with a blend of to-do tasks and self-care time. This approach makes solo days feel like a nourishing balance of ‘must-do’s’ and ‘want-do-to-do’s.'”

And, if you can never think of things to do alone or in your downtime, consider taking a pause to consider why that is. What keeps you feeling disconnected from your sense of pleasure? How can you allow yourself to more fully lean into your leisure time, so it’s something you truly look forward to?