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When the going gets tough, the tough have some much-needed alone time. No one succeeds in life without taking some time for themselves in order to recharge, plan, and spend a few minutes in silence. It is an important and necessary part of life.
What is “Alone Time” and Why is It Important?
I am sure it goes without saying that “alone time” is just that…time to be alone. However, when people talk about having “alone time” or “me time” it isn’t just about being alone. It is so much more than that.
Alone time is a necessity for everyone. It is a time to recharge and reflect. It gives you a chance to sit in the quiet, if that is what you choose to do, and spend some time on just yourself. Without it, you can become overwhelmed, overstimulated, and disenchanted with life.
Benefits of Alone Time
The benefits of having alone time on a frequent basis include:
A Chance to Rest and Recharge
Alone time gives you a chance to quiet your mind, rest, and recharge. We deal with so much during the day with errands to run, work to complete, bills to pay, etc. All that noise takes a toll on us. Giving yourself some time away from all the noise will only enhance your ability to handle the noise. Not stepping away occasionally will only lead to overwhelm and a difficult time prioritizing.
One of the greatest benefits of alone time is enhanced creativity. Alone time allows you to think about the future and daydream. And, a lot of the time, when we start to think and daydream, that is when we get our best creative ideas. Further, if we use some of our alone time to pursue something creative, we get even more benefits. Creativity can elevate your mood, boost brain function, increase immunity, and alleviate anxiety. It enhances problem solving skills and allows you to express who you are. We were created to be creative beings so it is important to be creative when we can.
While we are on the subject of creativity, there is a book I am in love with that will really get you in a creative frame of mind. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron helps get you in touch with your creative side with tasks to complete and “artist dates” which fit completely with your alone time. I highly recommend it! The link above will take you to a starter kit that include the book and the Morning Pages Journal. However, if you would like to use your own journal, you can also find just the book, as well as a workbook with all the tasks, on Amazon as well.
Improvement in Relationships
When the world is banging down your door, you’ve got deadlines and bills to pay, and it seems that chaos reigns supreme, your relationships seem to suffer the most. You become snippy and tense. Your family and friends start feeling like they have to walk on eggshells when they are around you for fear they might in incur your wrath. You don’t mean to be this way. It is a biological response to the stress that surrounds you. Alone time allows you to regroup and quiet your mind. It helps you re-center yourself and, in turn, you become your normal, pleasant self again to your friends and family.
Again, when you’re overwhelmed and the tasks are piling up, taking some time away from it all is very important to your sanity and will actually enhance your productivity. It seems counterintuitive when you have that many things to accomplish but our ability to prioritize and get things done suffers when we don’t take time to recharge.
A Chance to Self-Reflect and Get to Know Your Inner Self
Quite a lot of us go through life never really knowing who we are. We might have some sense of it but, eventually, we get lost in the day to day and, one day, we wake up and we just feel a little lost as to what we want in life, what we like or don’t like, and who we want to be. Spending some time alone with ourselves allows us to rediscover who we are and what we want. We can reflect on our inner selves, try new things we have always wanted to try, and figure out what really makes us happy.
Signs You Are Desperately In Need of Alone Time
There are a few signs that you are desperately in need of some alone time. If you find yourself starting to experience any of these things you should carve out some time for yourself.
- You are overwhelmed by even the smallest things.
- You feel overly sensitive and are snapping at your loved ones.
- Just the thought of being in a group of people makes you want to hide in your closet.
- You feel that your life is at a standstill.
- You feel lost.
Find Time to Be Alone
One of the struggles of having alone time is finding the time to do it. If you find it difficult to find some time to yourself, consider some of the following options:
Get Up Earlier
I am not a morning person but some people are. If you are one of those people or if you are desperate to spend some time alone, consider getting up a little earlier. Grab your favorite hot beverage, a book or a journal if you want one, and find a nice quiet spot to spend some time with just your thoughts. Journaling is a great thing to do first thing in the morning. It helps clear your head and get you prepped for the day. If the weather is nice, one of my favorite spots is my back porch. It overlooks a wooded area and is quite peaceful. The outdoors is a prime location for alone time and creative thought.
Use Your Lunchtime
Another option is to use your lunchtime. Back when I lived in Florida, I worked in a real estate office on a very cute street full of shops and gardens. Frequently, I would take my lunch to one of the gardens, find a bench away from the street, and just breath in the scent of the flowers and relax. It always made the rest of my workday enjoyable and productive. Sometimes I would eat my lunch quickly and then take a walk and window shop. There was also a museum down the street that I popped into a few times for some creative inspiration. If you don’t have that kind of environment, then sit in your car or find a quiet office to be alone in.
Find 10 Minutes During the Day to Close the Door
Most of us can find 10 minutes here or there we can use. If you have an office, then plan out 10 minutes you can close the door and just be. If you don’t have an office, then use your car, find an empty office, or go for a walk. Walking is a good thing to do a few times throughout the day anyway. They say to get up and walk for 10 minutes frequently for better productivity and to get your blood moving.
If you work from home, then shut off the tv and other noise and find a nice space to spend a few minutes. I like to go outside if it is nice or I will go into my bedroom and close the door. If I can’t do it any other way, that 10 minutes is enough to be refreshing.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Finally, if you keep a schedule, then actually schedule time for you to be alone. My husband is very schedule oriented so he has to schedule time to do things or he will always push those things to the side in favor of something more productive. If you struggle to ever find time, schedule it as if it is an appointment. You need this and your body and brain will thank you for it.
What Should You Do During “Alone Time”?
You can use your alone time however you want. The purpose is to be alone with yourself and recharge. How you accomplish this is up to you but, at the very least, you should shut down all electronics. Social media and television have a way of consuming us. For some inspiration, I’ve put together a list of some things you can do alone.
List of Potential Activities
- Going to a Movie
- Visiting a Museum
- Sitting in a Park
- Bible Study
- Go for a Walk
- Bike Ride
- Learn Something New
- Spa Day
- Dream and Visualize Your Future
- Get Lost (By that, I mean, just start driving with no destination in mind. Just play some music and drive.)
- Dance Around Your House
- Be a Kid Again
- Spoil Yourself with a Bath
This is just a small list. There are so many things you can do. Pick something you find enjoyable or something new to try. Alone time is a great time to try something new. As far as how often you should have alone time, I would schedule an hour or two once a month and 30 minutes to an hour once a week. It all really depends on your lifestyle, what you want to do, and how you feel. Just make sure you schedule something because alone time will do you a world of good.