This is going to be one of those topics that you’ll either roll your eyes at or you’ll really appreciate the advice on. When it comes to anything remotely mental health related, we’re all different. And we’re all affected by completely different things. Going to the cinema alone for you might be a walk in the park – something that you don’t even have to think about. For others, that might not be the case.
A bit of background on why this is important to me and important for me to share my advice and tips on. Back in 2011, I started experiencing severe generalized anxiety. You can read more of the specifics in this post: Mental Health Awareness: My Story but long story short…
this anxiety disorder turned my entire world upside down.
A previously outgoing girl, with not a care in the world, could no longer leave her own bedroom, let alone her house. I was terrified of myself. I was terrified of the outside world. Everything was a threat. And I, very quickly, lost my independence. And I didn’t go anywhere by myself for around 7 years.
In July 2019, I had a bit of a breakthrough with my anxiety, since I started Citalopram and since then, I’ve been learning to experience the world by myself again and also spend time alone, which I’m absolutely loving. I had two main goals when I started this journey, which were:
- Going on holiday alone (I went on my first solo spa break in 2021)
- And go to the cinema alone which I managed to do in February 2020
I tweeted about it at the time and I was overwhelmed with the response. Aside from the support from my followers on Twitter, most responses fell into 2 categories:
- That’s amazing! I love going to the cinema on my own!
- Oh my God, I’d love to go to the cinema on my own but I don’t think I could!
Why are we so afraid of going to the cinema alone?
For me, my reasoning for being worried was because of my anxiety. It wasn’t just the cinema – it was most places. But the whole taboo around going out by yourself, either, to the cinema, out for a meal or going on holiday alone, I’ve never really understood.
I understand we all have different wants and needs. Some people thrive on more social interaction than others. Some of us are introverts or extroverts which may have various mental or physical issues that makes going out alone either easier or harder. Of course all this needs to be taken into consideration.
But for the most part, I think there’s something really special about going to the cinema alone. Or going and enjoying anything alone for that matter! Spending that quality time with yourself is just as important as spending quality time with your loved ones.
And obviously nerves is a big thing when it comes to doing things alone, especially if it’s not something you’re used to. Some common questions I see being asked are:
Is it sad to go to the cinema alone?
Absolutely NOT! Although some people *might* consider it sad, it doesn’t matter. That’s their problem, not yours. I don’t personally think doing anything alone is sad. I think it’s empowering that you’re not relying on other people to do the things you enjoy.
Is it scary to go to the cinema alone?
It very much depends on who you are and whilst yes, it can be a little nerve-wracking at first, especially if if your first ever solo cinema trip, once you get used to it, it’s not scary at all. It’s just like going for a walk alone or going to grab a coffee alone.
So you want to go to the cinema alone but something is stopping you. Here are some of my top tips for going to the cinema alone:
Choose a time to go when it’s quiet
I.e not during the school holidays or of a Saturday evening. I think the idea, for me at least, of going to the cinema alone was to spend some quiet, quality time with myself. So you don’t want to be surrounded by screaming children or chatting teenagers whilst you’re trying to do that. Plus, more people can make you more anxious.
Go and see something you’re really excited about
I mean, this is a pretty obvious point but what I mean is, don’t just go for the sake of ticking that thing of your list. Don’t go and see any ol’ thing just so you can SAY you’ve done it. Wait until there’s a film out you’re really excited about. Perhaps it’s something your partner doesn’t want to see.
Treat it as a self care date with yourself
Spending time alone is really important for everyone. We all need that space and time to think, wind down, reflect and just BE with ourselves without the external noise of our lives around us. A cinema can be a great place to do that because it’s just you and the film. You go on dates with your boyfriend, why not take yourself on a date too?
Make sure you’re able to hear the movie properly, as you are alone there’s no one beside you to ask “what did they say?”. Ear syringing or ear irrigation before the day may be a good idea if you struggle with your hearing.
Be prepared in case you get anxious
I don’t know about anyone else but I take certain things with me everywhere I go which act as a sort of comfort blanket in case my anxiety starts flaring up. A bottle of water and a snack most notably. If you have a few items that ease your anxiety (including medication) make sure you have them in your bag when you go – just in case!
Get there early
Getting to places early always eases my anxiety because then I know I haven’t got to rush. Which goes the same for going to the cinema alone. Getting there early will allow you to get everything you need to get within enough time, pop to the loo and find a suitable seat.
Remember that nobody is judging you
Until you start going to the cinema alone, you don’t notice that actually, a lot of other people are there alone too. It’s definitely a daunting prospect at first but once you’re confident with spending time with yourself, you’ll realise that literally nobody else there gives a sh*t who you’re with or not with.
My experience of my first solo cinema trip:
When I went to the cinema alone, I went to see Dolittle. Which arguably, not the best film that’s been released in the last few years but it was a fun watch nonetheless. A good film to have gone to see alone. I went during the week – I work from home and I’m self employed, so I’m lucky to have the luxury to do this. And I went to the first morning showing, which was around 10am. So there was only around 10 people maximum in the theater.
I bought myself some popcorn and a Tango Ice Blast and chose a seat at the side of the theater. In the particular theater I was in, there were some seats of 2, so I chose one of them so I had my own little bit to myself. These seats also reclined! So I got myself comfy in my reclined seat, my huge tub of popcorn and enjoyed the film.
Honestly, I think I actually prefer going to the cinema alone. It was so chill. And so relaxing. It was nice to not have to talk to anyone or have someone asking you questions throughout the movie. It was nice to have all the popcorn to myself too! I really can’t wait to go again.
Still not convinced? Here are 7 reasons to go to the cinema alone:
- It’s empowering: It’s wonderful to just get up and do something becauase YOU want to, instead of waiting on and relying on other people to do it with you.
- It’s a form of self care: And doing something that you want to do IS a form of self care.
- It’s relaxing: You don’t have to talk to anyone or keep saying, “what?” when they’re asking you questions throughout the movie – bliss!
- The snacks are all yours: Need I say more?
- Doing things alone is NORMAL: And needs to be even more normalized.
- You never have to see a movie you don’t want to see: The choice is ALL YOURS baby.
- You don’t have to dress up (unless you want to) because you’re by yourself: Comfort is keyyy.
Last year, I never thought I’d be able to do this. But since I started really stepping out of my comfort zone, I feel like my world is opening up more and more. If you’re torn about going to the cinema alone, I hope this post provides some sort of encouragement!