A Staycation Gave Me the Alone Time I've Craved Since the Pandemic's Start

Kelly Allen
·4-min read
Photo credit: Kelly Allen
Photo credit: Kelly Allen

From House Beautiful

For me, alone time is crucial to my mental well-being. Don’t get me wrong, I love socializing. But I also find relief in the moments in which I can be totally alone–to do anything from enjoy a meal (preferably, pasta with wine) to scream-sing to loud music. As with everything this year, the pandemic has pretty seriously affected my time alone—and how much of it I can get.

While going for a walk or sitting in a park alone is nice, the past few months have really left me craving time alone in a home environment. In my case, I have two living options in which that’s pretty much impossible: a tiny New York apartment which I share with three other girls or my parents' house in the Midwest. In both cases, the pandemic has forced us all to be in the same space almost 24/7. Even spending "alone" time in my room, in either situation, doesn’t feel like I’m getting much of it at all—especially when someone in the next room is cooking dinner or on a Zoom call.

Of course, I recognize that many people are currently having the complete opposite problem: They desperately want to see others and really, truly can’t for health reasons–even while wearing a mask and social distancing. I am lucky in that I can socially distance, wear a mask, and see some people safely if I want to. But what I found I really want is to be alone. Since I’m fortunate enough to not be in an extremely high-risk group and have the means to, I recently took a staycation for one glorious weekend alone.

With COVID-19 cases and deaths on the rise—both in the United States and globally—nonessential travel should not be taken lightly; be sure to adhere to your local regulations as well as CDC guidelines. But for anyone who has the slightest introvert-like tendencies, a safely-executed solo staycation can do wonders.

For my mini getaway, I stayed at a Sonder in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. It’s essentially an apartment-style hotel that has tons of locations in various cities. Think: Airbnb meets your average hotel. This was an ideal option, because I wanted it to feel like I lived in the space full time—and it was important to be as safe as possible. Sonder offers self check-in, virtual guest support, and other COVID-19 response protocols like comprehensive cleaning.

The space where I made myself at home was a lovely one bedroom apartment. The kitchen was stocked with cookware, dinnerware, cooking spices and essentials, a coffee maker (with ground coffee!), and dishwasher with pods and soap—though my personal favorite appliance was the wine fridge. The living room and bedroom both featured pretty furniture and decor along with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Hudson River. The bathroom’s standout feature was its waterfall showerhead. Oh, and did I mention there was an in-unit washer and dryer? I didn't need one during my short stay, but that's a big luxury in NYC.

Photo credit: Kelly Allen
Photo credit: Kelly Allen
Photo credit: Sonder
Photo credit: Sonder
Photo credit: Sonder
Photo credit: Sonder

Since it can’t hurt to be extra cautious, I brought Clorox wipes to give the space an extra wipe down along with a pillowcase, face towel, mug, and silverware set. Sonder apartments–including the one I stayed in–are typically equipped with towels, toiletries, and those kitchen necessities, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use my own. To make the place feel like home, I brought a scented candle (Fernweh’s Sparkling Champagne one, to be exact), magazines, books, a robe, and speaker.

Although I only stayed for a weekend, it was probably the best weekend I’ve had since the pandemic started. Having a whole space to myself felt like a breath of fresh air. I spent most of my time watching movies, engaging in self-care (painting my nails, etc.), and going for walks. It made me realize that I need to find a way to live alone in the future–especially considering a return to normalcy is likely not happening any time soon. Until then, a small staycation made for a fine alternative. If you're able to do it safely, it just might be the rejuvenation you need right now.

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