As someone who leans more toward the introverted side of things, I can happily spend abnormally large amounts of time alone. Some people feel the same, while the extra extroverts might not even be able to imagine such a thing. Regardless where you fall, alone time is both necessary and healthy.
Defining “Alone Time”
“Alone time” looks different for everyone.
For the mom of three it might be something as fundamental as taking a shower without a toddler or teen barging into the bathroom. Or maybe for the college student who uses all their free time to sleep it’s carving out 10 minutes a day to do something they love like paint or run.
A lot of times when we hear the idea of spending time alone we jump to the idea that it has to include copious amounts of effort. We need bath bombs, candles, wine, and unlimited time. While for some it may look like that, it doesn’t have to!
Find a realistic way that you can schedule time to spend with yourself that you love. Try out everything until you find that special thing. Go for a run, cook a meal, read, meditate, or draw. Whatever lets you unwind and be happy with being you.
The key is to do something that doesn’t serve as an avenue of ignoring our real lives. So I’d discourage choosing Netflix or Instagram as your alone time.
All in all, alone time is simply a portion of your day that you spend with just you. Being alone with your thoughts can be a bit intimidating but it allows us to sort through both the good and bad, and learn to love ourselves a bit more.
Why It’s Really Important
We live in a society of distraction. Rather than focusing on perhaps more pressing issues, both internal and external, we entangle ourselves with other matters.
These diversions come in many forms. Most obviously social media, mindless TV, and other forms of entertainment. While I fully believe all of these things can contribute to our lives, it all lies within the way we use them. Unfortunately, many of us don’t use them in beneficial ways.
We indulge in other preoccupations, slightly more complex, as well. These can come in the form of emotional suppression and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Not having moments to spend alone with your thoughts and feelings can further the damage of these distractions. I don’t entirely believe that alone time by itself can solve all of these issues, but it’s a start.
If we never sit back and think about how we feel about of our days, or lives, then how are we supposed to lead a fulfilling existence?
If you don’t know what you really want, how can you chase it?
Acknowledging, without judgement, our reflections and inflections brings us closer to our true selves and desires. We can lead lives that closer align with both who we want to be and who we should be through this practice.
Beyond my personal anecdotes, scientific research backs the idea that spending time alone isn’t lonely. It’s actually extremely beneficial.
According to “Psychology Today,” there are 7 main reasons you should spend time alone:
- Increases Empathy
- Constantly spending time with other people allows a competitive mindset to fester. When you allow time for yourself you extend more compassion.
- Increases Productivity
- We don’t have eternal productive endurance. Take a break and be alone in order to increase longterm productivity.
- Sparks Creativity
- Solitude allows deep reflection and blossoming creativity.
- Builds Mental Strength
- If we can’t be happy with ourselves, we most likely aren’t truly happy around other people either. Spend time alone in order to increase mental strength.
- Reduces Behavior Problems in Children
- Allowing children to be alone is shown to be more independent and less likely to act out.
- Gives the Opportunity to Plan Your Life
- Make sure your hard work is actually paying off and plan a future reward or set your goals straight.
- Helps You Know Yourself
- Knowing yourself is one of the most important things we can do as people. You are the person you’ll spend the entirety of your life around, make sure you like them.
Cover image via Everyday Power
Also published on Medium.