Too often, people look at alone time as something to be endured, or if possible, avoided at all costs. Solitude is perceived as being something negative and even harmful, a symptom of a nameless sickness, similar to depression only lonelier.
On the contrary, time alone is beneficial and even necessary to be healthy and happy. The difference, of course, lies in the choices you make and intentionality with which you set out to make use of your solitude.
When you choose to spend time alone, you’re giving yourself a gift that yields many rewards. These include:
- Better Thinking Skills
- Better Relationships
With so many benefits, it should come as no surprise that you can use time alone to your advantage. How? Try these smart ways to get you started:
Anytime you pick up a book, you’re getting ahead. Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Books teach empathy, wisdom, and give you a perspective of life from another point of view. Alone time spent reading is time spent feeding your mind.
There have been numerous studies showing just how good for you green spaces are. Even something so small as a patch of grass in a park can lift the spirits, inspire creativity, and make you feel better just by being there. Alone time spent outside means you’re feeding your soul.
Think Through a Problem
Got something knotty to work out which you can’t seem to get past no matter how hard you try? Alone time allows you to take a step back and focus on something difficult without distraction until you can work it out.
Exercise is always good for you, so alone time spent in the movement still gets you ahead in ways that make you healthier than when you started. The best part? There’re so many options on how to get action into your day; you have no limit to what you can do. Try anything from taking a walk to jogging, to parkour. Want to combine exercise with some new scenery? Why not grab a bike and hit the road?
Learn a Language
When you practice another language, you wake up your brain. Alone time spent submerged in language helps you to become proficient, exposes you to new cultures and exercises your mind.
Making an effort to learn something is a way to maximize your alone time to your advantage. Learning is what helps you to make connections, think more creatively, and get ahead. The nice thing? It doesn’t matter what you learn, as the cognitive benefits are there even if you believe what you’re learning is silly. The neural connections ignite because you’re challenging your brain to accept new information. Of course, full optimization happens when you choose to learn something which will help to drive you toward a goal. How should you learn? Try a new hands-on activity, do a tutorial, or read something. Better yet, take a class that helps direct your learning on a particular pathway.
Need to de-stress? Take some “you time”. Take a nap, have a mani-pedi, enjoy a bubble bath, do whatever it takes to spoil yourself silly. You deserve it!
Everyone has at least a little creative spark in them somewhere. How about digging out your wannabe superstar and using your alone time in letting loose a little? If you need a nudge to get you started, try a little karaoke, or bust a move as you listen to music. Or if you’re feeling it, belt out songs at the top of your lungs, put on a costume and act out your favorite movies, or dance like Patrick Swayze is waiting for you to leap off a stage into his arms. Take a chance to perform the way you did when you were a kid, doing wonders for mood, raise self-esteem, and stop stress in its tracks.
Like performing, when you make things, you tap into your creative side. Woodworking, sewing, knitting, drawing, painting, all fulfill a deep-seated desire to create something new. The nice thing? Alone time spent creating is also perfect for your overall brain health, helps you with problem-solving, and enables you to feel more fulfilled as a person.
Work on You
Meditate, create affirmations, read self-help books, and yes, work through issues with a counselor if you need to. One of the best advantages to alone time is the ability to take care of yourself in the way you need to, so you can be at your absolute healthiest mentally.
Just about everyone has a collection of mementos from their past. Why not use your alone time to walk down memory lane? Take out these items and handle them again, allowing whatever memories to come up. Experience the stories of your past and look for the lessons in them. Consider how these items connect you to the past, and how they formed you into the person you are today.
Did you know you stimulate your brain, creating new neural pathways just by doing something in a different way than you’re used to doing it? With this in mind, consider shifting around a room to put furniture in new places or switching up your usual routine. Alone time is a great time to experiment with new ways of doing things.
Journal, write poetry, blog, write letters, create a song, or write a book. When you write, you activate your brain on many levels, starting with creativity, memory function, and reasoning skills. Writing also helps you to process the things going on in your life, to explore new ideas, to immerse yourself in new cultures or situations, and to express yourself otherwise; all are benefits from a few words put to paper (or on-screen as the case may be).
Sometimes what we need is a little more sleep. If you’re dragging and tired, take a nap. Your body will thank you.
How about getting involved in a cause? Alone time can give time to research issues that matter, to volunteer on a political campaign, or to write letters to gain support for your position. You can also spend this time fundraising, raising community awareness, or otherwise working to make the world a better place. You can increase not just an advantage to yourself, but benefit the world around you too.
You’d be amazed at what lies hidden nearby that you never noticed. Taking a walk around the neighborhood will reveal to you little shops you never saw before, charming hideaways, parks, and who knows what else. Live in the country? Discover those hidden treasures nature has to offer. Anywhere you go, you can be guaranteed to spot something you never saw before if you start paying attention to the details.
Create a Time Capsule
Want to capture this moment forever? Put together several small treasures and items to represent your life now and seal them into a container not to be touched for a set number of years. Time capsules are fun to do, and also give you a chance to think about what’s important to you right now.
Get Behind a Camera
Take a picture, create a video, capture the world on the other side of the lens. Alone time allows you to hone all these skills and gives you the advantage of being able to express yourself in new ways.
We can easily get caught in a rut, going the same way to work each day, or following the same well-trod paths. Alone time should be utilized to wander, to explore roads you’ve never been down before. Find new routes to your favorite places. Discover new favorite places by visiting neighboring communities and give your brain a stretch while teaching you better ways to get around.
Sunrise / Sunset
Start or end your day with the best nature has to offer. By watching a sunrise or sunset, you gain an appreciation for the true beauty of this world we live in and touch on feelings of awe. Allow inspiration to wash over you and accept the energy and positivity which comes from something so simple as bearing witness of the passage from day into night (and vice versa).
In the end, your alone time has to be about what speaks most to you. Do whatever is uniquely you. Love to juggle? Have at it. Into gardening? Grab some seeds. Not sure? Try everything until you find those things which you love best. Repeat as needed.
With so much to choose from, you can rest assured, there is never any reason to be bored, nor ever to dread alone time. Of course, this list is by no means definitive. Hopefully, though, it’s been able to offer you some ideas to get you started on your voyage of discovery in your time alone. The main thing is to get out there and do something. Have an open mind and be ready to learn about yourself. When you can do this, you are genuinely using your Time Alone to your advantage.