Time to Put Me First
Despite the stigma associated with alone time, a little break from reality can have a multitude of benefits.
By Valarie Kiel, Texas State University
As you get older, more pressure and more responsibilities arise, making your days seem overwhelming.
Maybe you’re the college student who has too much to take on. You not only attend classes, but you also take part in organizations, work to supply your financial needs, apply for internships and jobs after college, as well as try to maintain a social life.
Or maybe you’re the complete opposite. Maybe you’re a student who has so much free time that you’re waiting for your friends to finish classes or to get off work, so y’all can go have a fun night out because being alone and bored is horrifying.
In a world dependent on technology, there’s a constant need to always be connected with what’s going on (a.k.a. more distractions). Either way, establishing some alone time can be beneficial to your physical and emotional health. Here is a list of advantages to having quality alone time.
1. Figure Out Who You Are
One of the most common requests employers ask is, “Tell me more about you.” In the few moments you have to respond, you might’ve come to the quick realization, “Damn, who am I, other than the things on my resume?” It’s almost frightening to not know the answer or to not be confident enough to answer. I know because I’ve been there.
Do you really know who you are? Take some time to build a better relationship with yourself. By doing this, you gain more clarity to figure out the answer to questions that might’ve been in your face all along.
Self-reflection is also a chance to discover new hobbies that you never could have imagined yourself being interested in. It’s easy to go along with the crowd, but you’re a unique person standing alone as well. Taking quality time to understand the person you are as far as likes, dislikes, passions and what you really want out of life can make living that more fulfilling!
2. Focus on Your Goals and Priorities
That special time you give yourself can also keep you focused on your real goals and priorities. Set some goals for yourself and achieve them!
According to Mindtools.com, “By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.”
Work hard, then play hard because you’ve earned that. If there’s one thing I learned in college, it’s that the parties, drinks and other fun events will ALWAYS be there. Having a balanced life is key, and preparing for the future you desire is worth the effort.
I attend a fitness class, and the instructor always uses a famous Benjamin Franklin quote that says, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” If you really want something, there are going to be some sacrifices and some moments alone in your life, but it will only prepare you for success.
3. Become Autonomous
Another beautiful thing about setting aside time for yourself is that you become less dependent on others. Often, you are quick to run to friends or family for help when really, if you stop, woosah and think, you are far more capable of doing things alone than you think.
If you start trusting who you are and what you know, you’ll be able to be more productive instead of waiting to hear what others think. There will be times when you are around other people, and you can unconsciously compromise your thinking for an appropriate response in conversations to avoid conflict or to just go with the flow.
4. Save More Money
One mantra for the new year on Twitter is, #DontTransferSavingstoCheckings2017. Socializing can be costly at times. Friends want to get together, go to the movies, get drinks or enjoy a night out in the city. That may sound great, but spending time alone can be a lot cheaper than spending it with your buddies.
Maybe you need to work on your money-management skills. Alone time is perfect for learning new ways to not spend money, and it’s beneficial for kicking back and catching up on Netflix, or doing absolutely nothing.
This free time is also valuable for setting your goals, reading more books, meditating, dancing in your room like no one’s watching, discovering new music, cooking, cleaning, journaling, working out, volunteering, sleeping (we could all use more of that) and so much more.
5. Improve Relationships with Loved Ones
I wouldn’t trade my friends for anything. When I receive random texts of hilarious memes or videos from my friends, I can’t help but send something funny back, because it’s one of my favorite ways of getting my laugh in for the day.
I love my friends, and there’s no doubting that, but they can be a distraction without realizing it. There have been times that I’ve fallen too deep into the meme conversation, and time has gotten away from me. There have also been instances in which I’ve invested so much time in helping them that I’m too drained to work on the things I need to do. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. A great friend will respect your alone time, and you might be setting an example for them, too.
Family can hinder you from accomplishing things, even though you know they mean well. If you’ve ever been drained from family or friends, establishing alone time to get a break from everyone else’s life and thinking about what you’re doing to take care of yourself could be the answer.
The act of spending time alone is not the same as being antisocial. Giving yourself a break from your chaotic life can be a beautiful thing. If you find yourself stressed out and worrying about everything, give yourself a little TLC and take on the day a lot more smoothly.