Self Love: Solo dining, your definitive how to guide | HerCanberra

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Self Love: Solo dining, your definitive how to guide

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Embarking on a journey of self-love and discovery can often lead us to explore new and sometimes intimidating experiences.

One such experience, which I believe should be both celebrated and normalised, is the act of solo dining. Taking yourself out to dine alone is not just about enjoying a meal; it’s a profound step towards embracing your own company, cultivating independence, and treating yourself with the same affection and consideration you’d offer to someone you love (for this purpose, that person is YOU).

Here’s how you can prepare for and relish the experience of dining solo, and why it’s a practice that deserves more recognition and acceptance in our society.

Preparation is Key

Dress for the Occasion

Choose a fabulous outfit – something that makes you feel confident and joyful. This is your date with yourself, after all.

Picking something you love but often save for ‘special occasions’ can transform your solo date into a celebration of self. Also, saving anything for a special occasion is a big no-no. Because everyday is a special occasion. 

Pamper Yourself

Engage in a self-care routine before heading out. Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a skincare ritual, getting your hair done, or some quiet meditation, taking this time to pamper yourself sets a loving and respectful tone for the evening.

Embrace the Experience

Choose the Right Venue

Pick a restaurant that resonates with your mood and preferences. Whether it’s a cosy café you’ve been eyeing or a new culinary adventure you want to embark on, the right setting can make your solo dining experience even more enjoyable.

Remember, you’re taking you out, so whether a breakfast date, a work lunch or dinner – it’s your date, so choose your meal. 

Be Open and Present

Solo dining is a unique opportunity to truly savour your meal and the ambience without distractions.

It’s a time to be fully present, engage your senses, and appreciate the moment for what it is — a celebration of self. If you need a ‘cover’, I am partial to bringing a book but trust me, people-watching is far more entertaining! 

Explore and Experiment

Use this opportunity to try something new, whether it’s a dish you’ve never had before or a type of cuisine you’re not familiar with. Solo dining is as much about culinary exploration as it is about self-discovery.

Normalise Solo Dining

Break the Stigma

There’s an unfounded stigma that dining alone is a sign of loneliness or social unacceptability. We must challenge these notions by embracing solo dining as a normal, enjoyable, and enriching experience.

Personally, when I travel for work, I solo dine all the time with no issues but when I am in my home city, I get so self-conscious. So, now, I just pretend I am in a new city and treat it like an adventure.  

Cultivate Independence

Solo dining teaches us to be comfortable in our own company and to enjoy our own presence without needing the validation or company of others. It’s a powerful expression of independence and self-sufficiency. 

Encourage Self Love and Acceptance

By taking ourselves out on dates, we learn to treat ourselves with the same love, respect, and attention we would offer to others. It’s an act of self-love that affirms our worthiness of joy and pleasure, irrespective of external company.

Solo dining shouldn’t be viewed as a mere necessity or a last resort but as a deliberate choice to nurture our relationship with ourselves. It’s a practice that encourages us to confront and dismantle societal perceptions around solitude, offering a pathway to deeper self-understanding and acceptance.

As we normalise and embrace the practice of dining solo, we pave the way for a culture that values independence, self-respect, and the simple joy of being alone without being lonely.

Let’s celebrate the art of solo dining, making it a cherished and regular part of our journeys toward self-love and fulfilment. Here are my favourite restaurants in Canberra that I’ve had very happy experiences at:

  • Raku: Beautiful food, amazing staff and bar seating. So you face the friendly staff and people can watch. 
  • Akiba: Another personal favourite – bar seating with plenty of cocktails to choose and enjoy from. The staff are knowledgeable, very inviting and make each dining experience memorable. 
  • Lazy Su: I am a fan of bar seating so this is also a lovely place to enjoy amazing food. If you’ve not tried Lazy Su yet, this is your sign. 
  • Fox & Bow: A perfect destination to grab a coffee, on your own and delicious food. 

Find more solo dining favourites here.

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