I love my alone time—I just can’t get enough of it. But that’s not the case for everybody. Some people (social butterflies, I’m looking at you) prefer to have constant company and do everything in their power to ensure a companion is by their side. For these extroverted individuals, words like “solitude” and “isolation” elicit uncomfortable feelings, and they want nothing to do with them.
These words don’t have to be scary; in fact, they shouldn’t be. There is a lot of value in spending time alone and catering to one’s individual needs. But maybe the issue is that you just don’t know how to embrace your time alone. If that’s the case, rest assured that it can be done—and we’re going to help you do it. Here are 8 ways to make the most of time alone:
1) Go on an adventure.
A lot of people envision alone time as boring or laidback because they’re, well, alone. But this doesn’t have to be the case—in fact, the time you spend with just yourself can be filled with excitement if you want it to be. If you’re outdoorsy, consider going on a new hike; if you like to shop, go check out the new boutique downtown; if you’re really into music, go see the local band play. There’s no rule against going on solo adventures.
2) Work on that DIY project you never finished.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a couple unfinished projects lying around: a canvas that needs one more coat of paint, or a coffee table you planned to refurbish. There’s no shame in putting these projects on hold, but guess what? Now’s the perfect time to resume them! Working on such projects is a great way to spend your time alone—it’s productive, oftentimes fun, and also beneficial to your mental health.
3) Treat yourself.
You probably don’t need any convincing for this one… I mean, who doesn’t want to spend the entire day pampering themselves? Take advantage of your alone time by doing exclusively what relaxes you and brings you joy. If that means soaking in a hot bubble bath all day long, then so be it. If it entails ordering takeout and camping out in front of the TV, more power to you. Utilize this time alone to treat yourself however you see fit!
4) Disconnect from the digital world.
Take this opportunity to completely disconnect and take a break from socializing—which means staying off of sites like Facebook and Instagram. This time is about you, not your followers nor how you think you measure up to them. The truth is that social media can do a lot more harm than good: it’s proven to lower self-esteem, spark feelings of loneliness, and ultimately have a negative effect on mental health. So turn the devices off for the day—give yourself a break from the digital world and focus solely on you.
5) Try your hand at mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the deliberate act of focusing on the present: where you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re feeling in that very moment. This technique is scientifically-proven to reduce stress and, in turn, make the individual happier and healthier. Consider using your time alone to begin implementing this beneficial practice—there’s no better time to do so, as you have less distractions and greater concentration.
6) Tackle that to-do list.
Hoping to be productive during this time? Tackle that to-do list that’s been piling up and maybe even get a head start on next week’s duties—but don’t try to do too much at once. According to Jessica Tappana, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, multitasking can actually lower productivity levels and leave you feeling even more overwhelmed. Instead, first take a look at what needs to be done, map out a plan of approach, and then get to work!
Use this time to reflect on your life: where you are and where you want to be; what you’ve accomplished and what you hope to accomplish down the road; everything you’re grateful for and that which you could gladly do without. This list is never-ending. And the only guideline is to let your mind wander.
8) Give yourself a pep talk.
One of the biggest mental health issues of today is negative self-talk. We beat ourselves up for our self-perceived shortcomings, and we engage in negative thinking patterns—often without even realizing it. To make up for all of this internal conflict, give yourself a much-needed and well-deserved pep talk: be kind, be positive, and be forgiving.