Although we as humans might be social creatures, we also need time to ourselves. Our brains crave time to rest, to wander without distraction and to switch off.
Interestingly, society often views solitude in a negative light. It’s considered pitiful to be alone on Saturday night. When children misbehave, they are sometimes sent to their rooms alone as punishment. It’s practically blasphemy to go to see a film or visit a restaurant alone because of the perceived optics.
The reality is that choosing to spend time alone is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, taking time for yourself on a regular basis provides an array of benefits!
Why we should spend time alone
There are fewer distractions
Spending time alone allows you to focus on yourself or anything else that you wish to reflect on, be it a hobby, a good book or your own thoughts. Let’s be honest, people are distracting; they make noise, distract you with their movement, make requests, and require your attention.
You can be yourself
We modify our behaviour automatically depending on the environment we’re in and the people were with. For example, you act differently around your mother than you do around your friends, and differently again around your boss or your spouse. Taking time alone requires no behaviour modification.
You learn about yourself
When you’re alone, you learn more about yourself because you’re free to do whatever you like. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks; your focus can be on your needs and desires only.
Solitude recharges your batteries
Being alone can be incredibly peaceful and allows you to regain your physical and mental energy. This can, in turn, can improve your relationships as a calm and refreshed person is better to be around. If you’re an introvert, you already know that nothing feels better than getting some time to yourself.
How to find solitude
Occasional solitude is a positive thing but how do you find it? Most people don’t have a cabin in the woods they can escape to at a moment’s notice. What are your options when you want to be alone? Perhaps you could:
Take a stroll
Pull on some comfortable footwear and go for a walk, somewhere you feel comfortable, such as down your favourite streets or a local park.
Create a personal sanctuary
If you have space, turn an area of your home, such as a spare bedroom or an area of your garden, into an escape area. If this isn’t possible, run a bubble bath, turn off your phone and make the bathroom your temporary shelter.
Escape for the night
If you have the funds, consider renting a hotel room for the night. The change of scenery and relative anonymity can enhance the sense of solitude and really give you space to breathe.
If you’re outdoorsy with the appropriate skills, throw your camping gear in the car and find somewhere safe to pitch your tent for the night. An evening away in nature can work wonders.
Go for a drive
Get in your car and take a leisurely drive. Picking a scenic route with quiet roads can definitely add to the sense of peace.
During your lunch hour, drive to a peaceful place to eat your lunch and while away the time without disturbances from colleagues or clients.
Find solitude in the way that suits you
Everyone’s access to space away from others will differ. Make a list of all the options that would work for you. Plan solitude into your schedule and determine to make time for it. After all, if you wait until you have free time, you might be waiting for a long time. Furthermore, if you have to free up some time in your schedule for solitude, it may also help you identify needless obligations in your life. Be aggressive in hacking away unnecessary commitments.
Explain what you’re doing to the people that matter and what you get out of it. People who appreciate you will understand and may even find they benefit from finding time for themself as well.
The simple fact is that solitude provides benefits that aren’t easily found anywhere else. It will boost your self-awareness, recharge your mental batteries, and allow you to be yourself without reserve. Free from distractions, you will also have a great opportunity to focus on what matters. Make the time to give yourself the gift of regular solitude. You’ll be glad you did!