When was the last time you spent time with yourself? This doesn’t mean spending time alone, scrolling on a device and zoning out. It means sitting down with no screens to be found and spending a few hours doing something you love.
Chances are, no matter what you answered, you’re not truly alone. Technology inundates every aspect of modern life. Even if you decide to do a social media detox or limit your time on electronics, there will always be a reason to use them for work, school or other obligations. Every time you open an app, an army of pop-ups and advertisements are ready to attack. In most cities, sprawling walking trails and arborous parks are hidden behind miles upon miles of shops, restaurants and other temples of consumerism. It makes sense that focusing on loving oneself takes a back burner to the hubbub of the outside world.
Spending Time Alone Isn’t a Bad Thing
The top reason young adults say they don’t want to spend time alone is the fear of missing out – conveniently shortened to FOMO. FOMO describes the melancholic feelings that arise when people watch their peers explore new experiences without them. Young people may avoid spending time with themselves because they find solitude anxiety-inducing, because they see no benefit in being alone, or because they worry about feeling left out.
However, FOMO severely underrates the benefits of spending time alone. Those who spend time alone regularly show stronger levels of productivity, empathy, healthy communication and self-awareness. Furthermore, spending time alone creates a safe, judgment-free space where you can be yourself without worry. Overall, those who spend more quality time with themselves report increased happiness and decreased stress levels compared to those who don’t.
How to Spend Time Alone (and Love It)
Depending on why you avoid spending time alone, there are several ways to encourage yourself to change your habits. Here are eight tips to help you on your journey to comfortable solitude.
1. Realize it’s okay to miss out.
There is so much going on in our daily lives, and missing out is inevitable. The first step to learning to love your alone time is coming to terms with this fact. It’s OK not to do everything with everyone. By struggling to get involved in every little thing, you’re missing out on something more valuable: quality time with yourself. Once you realize it’s okay to skip out sometimes, you’ll feel a visceral sense of freedom.
2. Find a hobby you love.
Take advantage of your alone time by starting a personal, solitary hobby you love. Revisit old hobbies you’ve lost touch with and try new things. Don’t feel pressured to be good — just let yourself enjoy the process. It’s important to find a creative or physical outlet through which you can express yourself. Start by figuring out what you like. Some hobbies to start with include crafting, baking, exercising and reading.
3. Start journaling.
The value of journaling cannot be overstated. Finding time to journal every day without interruption will allow you to process your emotions in a healthy way; you’ll get to know yourself a lot better. It may seem tedious at first, but once you appreciate the value of journaling it can quickly become a lovely way to fill your time.
4. Develop a self-care routine.
Create a self-care routine that you actually want to engage in. Do things that are good for your mind and body. Stretch and exercise, take a relaxing bubble bath or treat yourself to your favorite drink. Make intentional opportunities to show yourself love. Incorporating self-care into your life will make you love yourself so much more — which will in turn improve how you love others.
5. Spend time in nature.
If you don’t know where to start, try going outside. Take a walk and find a place to sit and relax. Nature is an inspiring and healing force, and fresh air never killed anyone. Connecting to nature will make you feel much more grounded. It’s also known to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Just a few minutes alone outside can be highly beneficial to your physical and mental well-being.
6. Stop caring what others think.
When you’re spending time alone, the only person who can judge you is you. Refuse to let others’ opinions impact your hobbies and interests. Do things you enjoy even if they’re “weird.” Embrace that side of you, and you will become a much more confident, interesting and compassionate person.
7. Set a goal you’ll love working toward.
This can be anything from an art project to something more long-term, like a habit. Find something to motivate you and make a point to work toward achieving that goal.
8. Make a habit of embracing your alone time.
It’s important to make a habit of intentionally spending time alone. When you first start this practice you may feel overwhelmed, lost or anxious. This happens because constantly being surrounded by others has become the norm in our culture. The more you practice spending time alone, the quicker these feelings will subside. As you set aside time every day, or even just every week, you’ll shed those feelings of being adrift. As a result of your alone time, you might even notice a decrease in anxiety when you spend time with others.
Humans aren’t meant to get lost in pixelated displays or spend every waking moment socializing. You are the most important person in your life, and the relationship you have with yourself guides each interaction and choice you make. We should all work toward treating ourselves with love, admiration, and compassion, and learning to love alone time is the first step. It’s a change you won’t regret.
Leave a Reply