We spend a chunk of time with our children, friends, family, husbands, and partners prioritizing each accordingly. It can be difficult to manage the attention of those we love without losing ourselves. In a world of constant movement and stimulation, standing still is something we don’t do as often as we should. Do you ever carve out your time, the same you do for the people in your life? You are not alone. Most of us are not completely comfortable with spending time with the one person who can benefit the most from your company. YOU.
Life-changing events can alter our existence in ways we can’t imagine. Death, divorce, unemployment, any one of these can leave you with a sense of loss. The separation from my husband over a decade ago left me with a feeling of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Taking ownership of my compass after being the other half of a relationship for so long was daunting. My identity was lost under the rubble until one day. The moment of realization that getting out from under meant investing time in getting to know who I was on my own. Post-divorce I did not have a world of options to choose from, there was going to be a lot of time I’d spend alone. In my case, being forced to get acquainted with myself was the only way to figure out the next steps of this journey. Honestly, it has been the driving force behind the work on the way to becoming my best self.
Quality moments alone are necessary in order to establish a healthy connection between mind, body, and soul. However, it’s not a matter of singularly running around town trying to find my happy. Using the allotted time to recharge in ways you enjoy fuels your energy and leads to a thriving life. The activity can take as much or as little time as you would like, the important thing is to do an activity that brings you pleasure or inner peace. Soothing your soul while reading, listening to music, hiking, dancing, swimming or a workout at the gym can absolutely have a positive effect internally and externally. Whether the act promotes a release of endorphins or provides a pause from the daily hustle, it is required to regroup. Our minds are constantly running in motion if we do not sit it out to take a breath it will bring on exhaustion. Over time, you won’t function at maximum capacity because everyone needs a time out.
Setting aside breaks of solitude is a way of easing the air out of the tires of your life. Riding solo helps shut off the brain which opens the door to an improved way of living. It offers the opportunity to step back from the chatter. Ongoing noise from people, devices, racing or worrying thoughts is enough to drive anxiety levels through the roof. Getting bogged down in the mess of reality is normal, to the point of feeling we may experience fatigue and the blues. Reconnecting with your happy gets you back to a place of joy and fulfillment. Taking care of your needs is key to overall wellness bringing you in unison with your center.
Writers, musicians, and artistic types need time to perfect a craft or work on their masterpiece. Introverts require isolation to replenish their minds and body. The time away from everyone delivers a clearer thought process encouraging optimal decisions. The way it works for them, it can also benefit us, by building our ability to bounce back from challenging moments. Playing lone ranger can be advantageous if the time is used productively. There is no downside unless you find your company so irresistible, you decide to spend time only with you – alienating yourself from humanity. Be forewarned the extreme is not healthy either. The tendency to lose track of time while writing, drawing or composing alone in a sunlit room isn’t uncommon for minds looking to create. Drawing myself out of the quiet space is needed, as the alternative would sink me into the world of a hermit. Balance is a fundamental piece of staying whole.
On the journey back to myself from divorce, I have learned to appreciate my solitude in spurts. The day or hours alone gives me back a sense of self which can easily disappear juggling roles of mom, girlfriend and professional. Since beginning a second career as a writer, it has become slightly more difficult to maintain the balance of my time. Days spent drafting and editing projects turn into weeks without connecting to friends or family. I’m grateful to have a daughter and boyfriend who make sure that I snap out of my writing spells. They help ground me, reminding me of what is important. Living a full life means finding out who you are at the core. It signifies creating an environment that nourishes your mind keeping your dreams and goals afloat. Establishing a relationship with yourself is one of the essential keys to happiness but human connection is also part of the healthy nucleus we want in our lives.
If alone time is crucial to our well-being then why don’t we prioritize it? Women are natural caretakers, caring for everyone else first is how we are built. We put soccer games, parent-teacher conferences and family’s medical appointments on the calendar but not set aside downtime to think, destress and connect with the self. Make the time. It is a simple response with a significant amount of planning but doable. If you start with 30 minutes to an hour per week of solitude then raise it in small increments until reaching the ideal equilibrium, you can achieve a routine. It takes approximately 60 days to create a habit which provides plenty of time for your loved ones to adjust to a new way of doing things.
Isolating yourself from time to time is not at all a bad thing. There can be a stigma tied to people that spend time alone. We read about lonely souls or how loneliness has a deteriorating effect on our health. There are cases of acute isolation which naysayers will use to base their concerns or misgivings. You know who you are, therefore, if you feel your private time is used as a way to reboot then do not give in to those who do not have a grasp of the practice. Having the confidence to own your lone ranger status is a pivotal aspect of the joy it can bring. Wanting to be alone sometimes is a great way to put the pieces back together when life leaves you unhinged from time to time. Make an appointment with yourself, roll solo and do not feel guilty for it.