In my teenage years and my early twenties, I couldn’t stand being alone. I longed for the company of people all the time. It freaked me out, the thought of being alone. What on earth would I do? Who would keep me company? Who on earth would I talk to? I remember how I felt in the pit of my stomach, sort of like homesickness if I remember rightly.
But fast forward to a long-term relationship breakup, and I bit the bullet and lived alone in a flat in one of Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs. It was certainly a learning curve and pretty scary but I knew it was one of those things I at least needed to try in life and I’m so glad I did. Yes, there were times it was lonely, really lonely but now I thank my 22-year-old self because I can appreciate the beauty of spending time alone, in fact, it’s one of my favourite things.
Why alone time is essential
Living alone was one of those scary things I made myself do to learn, learn about life and learn about myself. I tend to do this quite often, throw myself into scary shit, make mistakes, enjoy achievements and learn along the way.
Living alone and therefore being alone quite a lot meant I was at one with my thoughts all the time. It was scary, it was intimidating BUT where I had only ever glazed over the surface of my thoughts, being alone allowed me to appreciate the depth of my thoughts. It sounds cliché, but it did help me learn about myself a hell of a lot more.
Now, as a busy multi-tasking woman juggling a young family and self-employment, my mind races. I forget things; I skim over things, I don’t get a chance to stop and think. But enjoying alone time means that I can reboot from all of this mayhem.
I think an important thing to remember is that spending time alone is all about appreciating solitude and getting away from the rat race.
Why you should try to get as much alone time as possible
A chance to recharge
Think of your mind as an iPhone. It doesn’t work well when it’s not recharged. Alone time is like plugging your brain in for a recharge; it’s giving your mind a rest from the mundane, allowing you to think properly and gain clarity and focus.
When I’m overloaded and have too many distractions, I’m not as productive as I could be and I certainly lack concentration. Spending time alone removes these distractions, increases productivity and concentration kicks back in.
Experience deep and meaningful thoughts
When you’re busy trying to juggle family and work, we tend to focus our thoughts on the immediate. Thoughts like, ‘What do I make for breakfast, what should I put in the kid’s lunchboxes, what should I wear today, what time do we need to be out the door, what jobs are due today, what’s for dinner tonight’…and the list goes on. There’s no chance for deep and meaningful thought processes to happen whatsoever and so we never get to delve into perspectives and the creative side of our brains. This would have to be one of the biggest things to come out of my experience living alone.
I never did consider different perspectives or look at the world or a situation in depth. Spending time alone and having the time to think about things and being inquisitive completely changed the way I looked at the world. As time has gone on, I’ve practised this mindfulness more and more and remind myself to be more present in the world around me. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I’m more aware of it.
Get to know yourself
Spending more time alone helps you get to know yourself better and therefore when you know yourself better, you can make better choices. Choices like what you want to do for work, a new hobby or the relationships you want to be in.
Some steps need to be taken alone. It’s the only way to really figure out where you need to go and who you need to be.” – Mandy Hale
But how can I enjoy alone time?
Yep, I get it. Many of you reading this are mother’s or simply super busy with life! I think it all comes down to doing something about it and making it happen. Now, I’m not talking about moving out for a month, even just a couple of hours every week is perfect. Here are some ideas to create some alone time for you:
- Get up before the household (if you’re lucky enough to have kids that sleep in)
- Stay up late (if you’re a night owl)
- Get into work early
- Put a sign on your door – whether in the office or at home, let your co-workers or family know that you’re having some time to yourself.
- Take a lunch break and get outside!
- Make an appointment for a haircut, facial or pedicure – remember, pampering yourself is healthy, not frivolous!
- Schedule time! Tell your family you’re going out solo, give them the day and the time, so they have plenty of notice.
- Schedule a night away, on your own. No need to feel guilty, this has to do with your mental health. Still feel guilty? Then read this post.
Remember, don’t feel bad about asking for help from family or friends. Perhaps a friend can look after your kids while you have a couple of hours alone time and then you can return the favour for them. Pick a date in advance and lock it in with all the people involved, preplanning means you’ll have no excuses not to do it.
Do you enjoy time alone? What do you do and how often?
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