Alone Time v/s Loneliness: How To Spend Time With Yourself
Being alone is a state of living while being lonely is an emotional and psychological response to a situation. Often misused, these two adjectives are related to one another but have a distinct meaning. For instance, you would be in the company of your loved ones but will still feel lonely or you can be alone but not feel isolated at all.
During this pandemic, we have been isolated from others. While for many this isolation is spent with their families, some people are socially separated from all. In these times, the feeling of being lonely is a common response. Although, people spending isolation from their families need to be lonely.
Being lonely for a prolonged time can be unhealthy for us while being alone without feeling lonely can boost our thinking and decision-making skills. Long-term exposure to loneliness can increase obesity, anxiety, and depression.
When we spend time alone with ourselves, we embark on a journey of self-knowledge and self-growth. Being alone can be quintessential in promoting a more healthy and educated outlook on all aspects of life.
You don’t have to spend your alone time staying lonely. “Me time” is there to help you get to know yourself – your strengths and your characteristics introspectively.
Your preferences also decide whether being alone will have a negative or positive effect on your health. Extroverts are not very happy staying alone while introverts prefer to stay alone than being in others’ company. But introverts don’t need to stay alone all the time. Social interactions play a significant role in building a network of supportive relationships. Everyone deserves to have a “me time” to feel comfortable in their skin, even extroverts.
Benefits of Being Alone
Long-term exposure to alone time can be harmful to you – mentally and physically. But there are some benefits of alone time as long as your “me time” is balanced properly with social participation.
1.Helps in relaxation
Being alone without the pressure of pleasing others in a social setting can help us relax and de-stress. When we are spending time with ourselves we become more aware of the stress-relieving process and focus on relaxing by engaging in activities such as yoga, painting, crafting, and meditation.
2.Promotes self-development and self-growth
Alone time can be constituted as a time to reflect upon self. Our daily lives keep us busy and it doesn’t give us enough time to focus on self-development and self-growth. When we spend time with ourselves, we take time to catch up with ourselves and get to know ourselves better. Writing in a journal can be a very helpful tool to help with self-development and growth.
When we are at work, we are constantly distracted by our surroundings. With fewer distractions and some quiet, we can get work done faster. Spending time alone not only helps get us more productive regarding our jobs but also helps us focus on things such as cooking for ourselves, crafting something in a DIY way, or do something that we don’t get time to do while at work.
4.Improves mental stability
Human beings are social creatures and social interactions are important to us. When we reflect on our thoughts during our alone time, we become more empathetic and mindful of others as well as ourselves. Spending time alone can increase our mental strength and improve life satisfaction. “Me time” can help you feel happy and control stress by helping you to get to filter your thoughts and feelings better.
How to be Alone
Being alone may not come to many people naturally. Initially, it might make you uncomfortable and frustrated but with these tips, it can be managed:
- Plan it out
Take aside a weekend or commit an hour or two of your day to “me time”. Don’t try to force alone time. It may leave you feeling irritable and destructive.
- Avoid distractions
Try to leave your phone and laptop behind while spending time alone. Focus on doing something that makes you feel happy and content. It might be difficult to manage in the beginning but once you’re comfortable with alone time, these distractions will not bother you.
- Value your time
Remember the importance of “me time” and its benefits. Spending time with your thoughts can make you more creative and understanding. Practice mindfulness and try to connect with your inner-self.
Things You Can Do By Yourself
- Go out to dinner. Treat yourself to a meal and enjoy the experience of eating in peace and solitude.
- Go see a movie you like in the theatre without any distractions. Watching a movie alone can help you see the film and understand the story without thinking about your friends.
- Participate in activities you like. Doing something you enjoy in solitude is a great way to truly experience the activity. It is also a great way to make friends with similar interests.
- Going for a walk in nature alone can help you focus on the little things that it has to offer. Traveling alone is also an amazing way to truly enjoy and experience the world by focusing on your interests rather than your companions’.
- Learn something you haven’t yet. Instead of going to classes and events of others’ choice, go to places you like and learn things you might enjoy. Pursue what you like and not what others expect from you.
Being alone is not a bad thing and can help you with acknowledging yourself in ways you never expect. But being alone for long periods can make you more depressed and anxious.
Loneliness can be unhealthy but taking some time apart for yourself can make you connect with your inner-self and find peace. What you need to remember is that “me time” is about spending time with your thoughts, getting to know yourself better, and relaxing. Take some time out for yourself and unwind.
“It is hard to love yourself if you never spend time with yourself. ‘Alone Time’ is necessary.”
Izey Victoria Odiase
Love yourself first before learning to love others.
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