In a world that is constantly moving and changing, we often don’t take the time to remind ourselves to slow down and just be. We are conditioned to believe that we have to do more things, be more places, and see more people in order to be successful and keep pace with others around us. Living in a high-stress, go-go-go environment is ever-present in our day-to-day lives, but taking time to remove ourselves and relish in productive alone time is something that we can all benefit from.
The thought of being alone usually has one of two effects on people: the introverts can’t think of anything more comfortable while the extroverts lose their minds. Whichever group you fall into, there is something beneficial to learn here. Scheduling alone time isn’t meant to hide you away from the world so you can avoid responsibilities and human interaction. This time is meant to recharge, refocus and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul so that you can continue being the highest version of yourself for yourself and everyone around you.
There are several ways that you can master your alone time, but three of my personal favorites are reading, journaling and meditation. Before you throw in the towel, hear me out and give them a shot yourself!
Reading: The thought of picking up a book to read for fun might make you want to pull your hair out. However, finding a book you like and getting lost in its pages gives you a short escape from reality. Reading not only strengthens and quiets a busy mind, but it also aids in memory retention and streamlines focus. Find a cozy spot to settle in with a good book and let yourself be fully enveloped in it. Make sure you don’t let your mind wander to other things you have to get done. Allow yourself to be in the moment and let your to-do list wait. Having a sound mind will help you to better tackle your tasks anyways. Even giving yourself 20 minutes a day to sit and read can help!
Journaling: When I say journaling, your mind probably flashes back to that juicy diary you kept in 7th grade and your mind inevitably shutters. However, journaling can look many different ways. While you can use your journal as a personal diary, it is important to also focus on having productive, thoughtful writing as well. Many people use journaling as a time and space to jot down goals for themselves whether it includes daily to-do’s, monthly intentions or yearly resolutions. Goal setting isn’t the only thing to journal about though. Another popular, yet still underrated, tactic is daily gratitude journaling. Each day you should allow yourself 10-15 minutes to consciously think about things you are grateful for, then list them in your journal. It is scientifically proven that showing gratitude leads to greater happiness and less stress, so that’s a win-win!
Meditation: I’m sure your mind automatically thinks of a hippie, flower child at the mention of meditation. That’s okay! Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of sitting in silence until they actually practice it. Meditation looks different for every person. You can use a guided meditation app or even a Youtube video. You can sit silently with your eyes closed and go over affirmations (positive self-talk and reassurance) in your head. You can simply sit and stare at a specific point until your focus blurs and you find your zen. You can do breath-focused meditation by deeply and mindfully breathing in and out. You can meditate by talking to a higher power- whatever that may be for you. The possibilities are endless. The most important thing about meditation is that you are able to shut your brain off from the outside world and give yourself time to just be in the moment with yourself. Meditation is not always easy, but starting with even 5 minutes a day and working your way up is something that will ultimately benefit you in almost every aspect of your life.
Incorporating even just one of these practices into your life each day can drastically improve the way you feel and the way you interact with the world. Remember, you can only pour from a cup that’s full. Taking care of yourself and owning your alone time will help you to better take care of your other responsibilities and the people around you. Give yourself the gift of solitude every now and again and watch how much your life turns around!