How to Feel Connected While Dining SoloMay 8th, 2020
Welcome to Dining In, a series that takes you into the homes of Thrive Market employees and brand partners to share what cooking in our own kitchens really looks like. Today, I’m introducing you to myself! My name is Lily Comba and I’m the Senior Content Writer on the Thrive Market Content team. I have quite a bit of experience dining alone and am excited to share my tips for how to make time for meaningful connection with yourself or others.
How I’ve felt throughout quarantine has ebbed and flowed quite a bit. Weeks one through three weren’t so bad. Weeks four through seven were a little tougher. But as I enter into week eight and feel uncertain about how much longer we’ll be sheltering in place, it’s officially become hard. Really hard. I consider myself an introverted extrovert—with others, I’m outgoing and sociable; with myself, I recharge and reconnect.
I’ve enjoyed this change of pace in a lot of ways. I’ve been able to rest and reset, which I know is a privilege. Essential employees, healthcare workers, and first responders are working hard so that people like me can stay home and safe. Many of us have taken up hobbies, picked up skills in the kitchen, or started a new project. For me, I’ve tried to keep as many things as normal as possible—because I’ve also had moments when feeling good doesn’t feel as good as it used to.
I live alone, which means that my entire day is spent solo. But that doesn’t mean I’m alone. Today, I’m sharing how I feel connected to others and myself while dining solo. And major bonus—we can continue practicing these tips even after quarantine. We’re all learning how to virtually connect, which is something that we’ll remember forever.
How To Feel Connected While Dining Solo
Solo meal time is a great opportunity to connect with others or with yourself. If you’ve spent the majority of your day alone or on work calls, feeling connected to someone you’re close with is incredibly important. Plan a virtual dinner party or happy hour if you’re looking for something a bit more elevated—or simply chat with them for 10 minutes. The important thing is to feel like you have someone with whom you can catch up and feel connected, even if for a short time.
Dining solo will also let you reconnect with yourself. And even when we go back to our “normal” way of living—dinners out with friends, group get-togethers in your own home—the lessons that you can teach yourself now about the importance of self-connection will last a lifetime. Here are a few things you can try during your next solo meal:
- Start a new book.
- Try journaling—start by writing down five things that you’re grateful for or five things that brought you joy today.
- Listen to a new playlist or start creating a new playlist.
- Go through photos on your phone to recount happy memories.
- Work on a digital crossword puzzle or sudoku.
You might notice I didn’t mention television or social media—while screens are great ways to mentally “check out,” dining solo should be a moment during your day that you feel close with yourself. As you adjust to simply being with yourself, the less you’ll rely on these traditional outlets for entertainment.
But you also don’t have to do anything during meal time! You can just sit, eat, and enjoy your food. Focus on the flavors and the textures. Be mindful and present, and thank yourself for taking the time to rest in this way.
Focus on Simple Pleasures
When dining solo, setting is everything. Focus on the little improvements and simple pleasures that will make your dining space special:
- Light a favorite candle.
- Make a nice place setting—even if it’s just using a placemat.
- Have fresh flowers on hand.
- Eat outside if you have private outdoor space. Don’t have that as an option? Try sitting by an open window—the important thing is fresh air!
- Change your location—create a dedicated space just for dining. This is especially important if you work from home.
Make a Routine
Now that you’ve chosen an activity (or maybe no activity!) and set the space, commit to a dining solo routine. During a time that feels uncertain and uncomfortable, having a routine can provide some much-needed stability. Give your weeknight meals a theme, set dedicated days to bake something sweet, eat around the same time every day. For me, this means taking ownership of the areas in my life that I can. While I can’t walk into my grocery store without a mask and gloves anymore, I can bake cookies every Sunday night. Little things can make a huge difference when you dine and live alone.