“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau.
My weekly ‘How To’ post takes on ‘Aloneness’ this week. After my week in the hills near Temecula, California, I have a new respect for what being alone can do to help you feel happy. I want to share what I have learned here and encourage you to take some daily alone time. Share your thoughts below!
Why is Alone Time important?
Most of us don’t take enough time for ourselves. Our culture values doing. “What did you today?” “What are you doing tomorrow?” “What do you do?” It is easy to feel guilty, lazy, or selfish for taking time for yourself. Our culture is only now starting to understand the importance of not doing, of taking time for yourself. In fact, ‘not doing’ is probably one of the most important things you can ‘do!’ It is important to take care of yourself and give yourself what you need, so that you can continue to give your most loving and happy self to those you love and the work you do.
“Being with other people for long periods of time, no matter how loving, wonderful and interesting they may be, interferes with one’s biopsychological rhythm,” says T. Byram Karasu, M.D., a psychiatrist whom wrote the Art of Serenity.
Tips for Taking Alone Time.
1. Emphasize the Importance of Solitude Daily. The hardest part for taking alone time is remembering how important it is for me. As soon as I take some time, my brain starts listing all the things I must do. My brain tells me how much of a waste of time this is. Don’t listen! It helps to read some positive literature beforehand.
2. Make a Routine. Get in a habit everyday of taking at least 5 minutes every day. Once you make alone time a habit, it is much easier to feel the benefits of it. You will start to miss it!
Some suggestions: Walk slowly to and from your car. Stop at points in your day and just be still and breath for 1 minute. Take longer in the bathroom. Use your commute to work as your relaxation time, listen to a good cd, an audiobook you love, or just use the time for silence.
3. Get Help! Talk to your mate, or your co-workers, or your friends and get help with getting your alone time. Return the favor, as well! Get your husband to watch the kids for a half hour. Get your co-workers to cover you for 15 minutes while you take a coffee break. Get your friends to check up on you, whether you have taken your alone time for the day.
Some suggestions: Have your wife/husband watch the kids when you take an extra long bath or nap. Go grocery shopping and relax. Take a daily walk around the block or in the local park.
4. Get Creative. Everyone has a different schedule and has different personal needs. Some of us need large chunks of alone time, while for others shorter periods of alone time works the best. Figure out what your personal needs are and align your schedule accordingly.
5. Make Your Alone Time Worth It. Enjoying alone time can be tough for some. Make sure to enjoy your time when you get it, even if the time is short. Recognize what energizes you and do it. Not all alone time is created equal.
Here are some suggestions to enjoying your alone time more: Make a list of what you WANT to do, for YOU. Turn off all of your electronic devices; cell phone, computer, television, even the refridgerator to experience some real silence. Do what you love!
“Solitude puts the individual in touch with his or her deepest feelings and allows time for previously unrelated thoughts and feelings to interact, to regroup themselves into new formations and combinations, and thus to bring harmony to the mind,” – Karasu
Are you an alone time expert? Please give your suggestions for others by leaving a comment.
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Create Our World.
“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” ~Henry David Thoreau