Well, it's Monday...typically a daunting day for many, especially when it marks the return to work. For me though, this particular Monday is as sweet as a Monday can be, simply because I embarked upon an amazing experience this past weekend, which I am aiming to make a yearly event. I stayed a night at an amazing hotel, ALONE. Yes, that’s right...ALONE. I left my husband and three children (ages, 6, 4 and 2), and stayed at an upscale hotel all by myself.
To some, this might seem silly, uneventful or selfish, but if you really stop and think about it, spending some alone time with yourself in a new space can be very therapeutic. Whether you are a mother, wife, single woman, dad or husband (yes, this applies to you also), care-taker or any/all of the above, you can benefit from a break, to simply "be" with yourself without the hustle and bustle of agendas and formal activities. As a die hard planner, I found this to be an absolutely invigorating experience, so much so, that I want to tell you ALL ABOUT IT and encourage you to do the same as soon as possible. So, here are my 3 tips to successfully enjoying a night away from home, alone.
Tip #1: Stay in a NICE hotel
Shout out to the Westin-Charlotte (no, I'm not being paid for this advertisement...lol) for being an utterly impeccable venue for my mini solo stay-cation. The Westin offered every possible amenity I could have dreamed of - fitness center, room service, close proximity to restaurants and other activities, on site-bar and Starbucks and much more. Heck, they even have a service that will deliver workout clothes (including shoes) to your room for a mere $5, should you happen to neglect to pack some of your own. Talk about #TeamNoExcuses right?
Even if you don't think you'll need all of those amazing amenities, that's fine. Research lodging options that offer a little less for a decent price. But whatever you do, DO NOT SACRIFICE YOUR COMFORT for the sake of the budget and MOST CERTAINLY, DO NOT STAY HOME. Getting out of your comfort zone is important...if you stay at home (and you're anything like me), you will find some cleaning or organizing to do, defeating the entire purpose of this exercise. And if you choose a shabby hotel, you are far less likely to enjoy yourself, which again, defeats the entire purpose. To splurge on yourself, save up a few months, use some travel points, find online deals...WHATEVER you have to do. Just pick yourself a great hotel.
Tip #2: Remain at the hotel
Whether you order food in, go for room service or even if you're daring enough to have a meal alone in the hotel's restaurant, be sure you eat something DELICIOUS and STAY PUT. When I arrived at the Westin, I turned into the parking garage and after going in countless circles, I had an epiphany. I said to myself "Lisa, it's your birthday girl. Live a little and treat yo self. Now go pull up to the front of that hotel!" And I did just that, I handed my keys over to the valet and I didn't see my car again until I checked out the next day. I enjoyed my dinner via Postmates delivery from Rock Bottom Restaurant, I had an appetizer and drank wine at the hotel's bar, SoCo Bar, and devoured breakfast via room service. I did leave the hotel for a nail appointment, but I specifically chose a location that was within walking distance from the hotel. It took only 5 min to get from the Westin to The Daily Details Beauty Bar where I received a manicure/pedicure as well as a hand/foot massage.
It was important that I remain in my "stay-cation location" to fully enjoy this time away and make the most of every amenity and experience offered to me in that short period of time. For those reasons, I recommend the same thing to you. Put your keys away and take in all that surrounds you. Admire the lobby’s architecture, take in the landscaping outside on the property grounds and sit quietly in your room and appreciate the view. You never know what you might see or do. I actually had the opportunity to speak to comedian D.L. Hughley as he was heading out to perform here in Charlotte!
Tip #3: Make some time for mental, spiritual and physical health
In between all of the fun and pampering...seeing a celebrity, having my nails done, drinking good wine, eating good food and watching whatever my heart desired on TV, I refused to neglect my physical, spiritual and mental well-being. I read an awesome book..."Wisdom from The Four Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz which I could write a whole other blog post on, but I'll just say this: READ IT. It's a "mini-book" synopsis of "The Four Agreements" (same author) but it puts so many things into perspective regarding living a full and prosperous life. In addition to reading, I did some praying about my life...marriage, career, family, etc. and left feeling at peace. Seeking God's voice seemed a bit easier in this setting alone. And lastly, I got in a great workout. I had the Westin's huge fitness center to myself on Sunday morning, so I decided to go for a treadmill jog. I haven't jogged in at least 5-6 months, so I was definitely feeling adventurous and refreshed from all that uninterrupted sleep the night before. I only jogged for about 15 minutes, but I felt so accomplished when I was done.
Addressing your WHOLE self is so important. Not to say that taking a day to be unproductive and binge watch your favorite TV shows is bad...but for the purpose of this particular activity, it is especially satisfying to address as much of YOU as possible. Reading, listening to an informational podcast, meditating, exercising or even stretching are perfect ways to engage in improving your mental/spiritual/physical health. Be careful here, though. These activities should not become the focus of your night away. Save the 6 mile run with sprint intervals, the PhD dissertation research and 3-hr guided meditation CDs for another time.
This idea of a full day (somewhere between 20-30 hours) away from your home, family and regular life is an important piece to the puzzle of taking better care of yourself. Being alone does not equate to loneliness. If you find it difficult to spend this short amount of time alone without being bored or unhappy, then you might benefit from some counseling or self-help focusing on loving or knowing yourself more fully. And there's no shame in that. Many of us often find our identities in what we do and for whom. Without those looming responsibilities, we may feel useless, unproductive or dissatisfied. These feelings are not "abnormal" but they are most certainly unhealthy and as we work toward optimal health in ALL aspects of our beings, addressing this area is of the utmost importance.
The benefits far outweigh the perceived challenges associated with planning a day away. I faced some difficulties myself...picking the best hotel, getting my husband and children to understand why this was necessary for me, completing all of my normal weekend tasks to ensure a smoothly running household all week/end (meal prepping, laundry, etc.) and wrapping my mind around the idea of spending "all of this money" on "just me." But, I did it. I prevailed and I am better because of it. My family is better because of it and all is well in my world. My hope is that this will be your experience as well. Imagine if more people took time away to care for themselves, how many happy, well-adjusted, productive people we'd be living, working and interacting with each day.
So, consider this a civic duty...put yourself first and enjoy some time away. Put a smile on your OWN face. Hang out with your best buddy...YOURSELF! And thank me in the comments below! Also, feel free to post your own tips for a successful mini solo stay-cation. I love to hear from you and I most certainly don't have all the answers! Thanks for your input and for reading! Share away!