It’s true that some people need more time alone than others (see here for the difference between introverts and extroverts). Everyone needs time to themselves now and then though – here’s why:
It gives us time to reflect
When we’re interacting with others, much of our attention is focussed on what’s going on around us and responding to that. We don’t have the time or space to sort through and really think about the things we’re struggling with, or to appreciate the things that we’re happy with. Only once we’ve done that can we truly decide what our next steps might be, either towards more of what makes us happy or away from what doesn’t.
We can be completely ourselves
No matter how authentic we are in company, being with others always requires some degree of being aware of the needs of others and then choosing how much we’re prepared to adapt ourselves to those. We’re often also under pressure to perform in whatever we’re doing.
When we’re on our own, it’s all about us and we get to choose how to spend our time and to take care of our own needs, without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
It improves our relationships with ourselves and with others
Modern life is so incredibly busy and requires us to be constantly pushing ourselves. When we have time out though, we can relax and recharge. As our stress levels drop, our best self has an opportunity to come out, which raises our own tolerance levels and also makes us much nicer for others to be around.
How to create alone time
- Switch off – time spent talking, mailing or messaging with others doesn’t qualify as time alone.
- Say no to invitations you’re really not that excited about.
- Stay in or, if you share accommodation, go out on your own for a walk or a cup of coffee.
For some people, spending time alone might be a new and slightly scary concept. If that’s you, understand that there’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. Knowing and accepting yourself, including both the good and the bad parts, is one of the best ways to become more authentic, happy and fulfilled in your life. Without spending time alone it will be hard to truly know yourself. Give it a try – you may even enjoy it!