Life is busy. It’s full of deadlines and appointments and to-do lists. It’s also full of people: work people, family people, friends people…people and more people. When was the last time you were alone?
All of us need some time alone. It’s true that some of us need more than others but we all need some. We need this time to digest & process what’s going on in our lives, to formulate plans, to re-charge ourselves, and to, quite simply, slow down. There are many & complex reasons for the stress and burnout we see all around us, but the lack of time-alone is one, and it’s one that deserves more attention & consideration.
Many people get into the habit (trap?) of being with people more and more of the time until we have no alone-time. This might be due to guilt, pressure from family & friends, the nature of work, etc. Often it is simply a habit we have got used to. But when you really think about it do you not see the value and importance, and the shortage, of some “just me” time?
Here are some ways you might create some me-time:
- Understand that you are in charge of your time. Nobody else.
- Diarise some quiet time (visit a museum, a library, a park).
- Include quiet time in your family’s daily routine.
- Take a long, relaxing hot bath.
- Close your office door for half an hour and collect your thoughts.
- Cancel out two nights a week in your diary. Mark it ‘Home’ and don’t compromise on it! Find ways to be alone at home, for example retire to bed earlier than your partner, find a secluded corner of your house or garden. Listen to a beautiful piece of music with your earphones on.
- Use waiting times, for example waiting for children to be fetched from school or waiting for a doctor’s appointment. You will be amazed at your thoughts and cerebral meanderings if you start to look deep inside.
- Keep a pen and notepad handy to jot down your thoughts. If it remains unused, take this as a sign that you are not taking enough time out for you.
- Understand that you are in charge of your time. Nobody else. (Yes, we are repeating this.)
You need you. Time with you. Just you. It is not about being selfish. It’s not about being lonely. It’s not about being odd. It’s about being balanced.