Some people love spending time alone. Others are more inclined to feel uncomfortable or lonely. Regardless of how you currently feel about solitude, there are many benefits to be gained by spending some time alone regularly.
If you don’t like being alone, ask yourself why.
If you’re not sure, try spending a few hours alone, without distractions, and see what happens.
Alone time can provide a sense of freedom that many of us lack in our day-to-day lives. It’s also a great time to relax, think, and reflect.
As an introvert, I am no stranger to time spent alone. While I love having time with people, I find that in my time spent alone I get to know myself better, care for myself better, and appreciate myself more.
Time spent alone allows me to not feel responsible for others physically and emotionally, allowing me to give extra care to myself in those areas.
Why We View Time Spent Alone Negatively
Modern society coupled with social media culture has allowed us to develop some negative associations with the notion of being alone.
If you choose to stay in on the weekend, people might ask what’s wrong or even categorize you as a loser for doing so.
When children don’t behave as expected, as a punishment parents send them to their rooms to sit in solitude. We’ve been wired to believe that solitude is negative or problematic.
But what if I told you that solitude or time spent alone is essential to your overall happiness and success in life?
The Importance of Alone Time
The thing I want you to understand is that it is essential for your mental health and personal growth to learn how to spend time alone. And quite possibly the greatest benefit of solitude and spending time alone is that it gives you a chance to learn more about yourself.
Benefits of spending some time alone
You can do whatever you want
You get to do whatever you want when you’re alone. This can be a blessing if you have a spouse and children.
Imagine, being able to eat when and what you want, choose your preferred entertainment, or even take a nap without having to consider the wants and needs of others
Time to think
It’s just easier to concentrate.
Have you ever noticed how much more you can get done when everyone is out of your hair? It doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at work. It is one of the reasons people say they are more productive when working at home.
Being alone is a great time to tackle projects you never seem to have time, energy, or overall bandwidth to do.
Increase Self Awareness
You learn more about yourself in solitude. It’s much more difficult to be self-aware if you never spend time by yourself. Your thought processes become more clear when you’re not distracted by others.
I personally subscribe to taking time away from others and responsibility 2-3 times a year. Not with an itinerary-filled vacation, but with some good old alone downtime.
Ideally, find pockets of downtime alone throughout the year. Even if it is just a day here are there. Take time alone.
You could even just stay at home and let everyone know you’re not available.
You become more compassionate
Solitude helps us manage and adjust our emotions. Which can have a positive effect that prepares us to better interact with others.
Additionally, spending time alone can allow for more empathy towards others, according to an ongoing study from Harvard.
Researchers found that the additional headspace garnered by spending time alone means we can sympathize with the difficulties of people around us more sincerely and profoundly.
And that’s good news, not only for other people but because several studies show that empathy and helping others is a path to greater wellbeing and personal fulfillment.
Creativity increases during periods of solitude
Ever notice how artists, musicians, writers, and other creative types go into isolation when it’s time to create?
Your mind is much freer to wander and develop new ideas when you are alone.
A little solitude makes you happier. Several studies have shown that people that regularly have some time to themselves are happier than those that don’t.
Have deeper thoughts
You can think deep thoughts when you spend time alone. It’s hard to think about your life in a deep and meaningful way when you’re surrounded by others. Your alone time is the perfect opportunity to work on your bigger challenges, make big decisions, and reflect on the meaning of life.
Schedule periods of solitude into your day, weeks, and at several points throughout the year.
What to do when you have alone time
- Take yourself on a date (here’s a great list of ideas to indulge in alone)
- Nap, sleep in or go to bed early
- Watch a movie
- Prepare your favorite meal
- Indulge in a hobby/past time you love
- Try something new (here’s a list of new things you can do that you may have never done)
Having some alone time is a blessing. If you currently aren’t able to spend some time with yourself, make time. It’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Your creativity will increase. You can tackle big challenges. You can even just get to know yourself in new and exciting ways!
Make the most of the time you have alone. It’s one of life’s greatest indulgences. Enjoy your time alone and be truly thankful for it.