While the benefits of spending time alone are well documented, we often think that carving out time for solitude is an excessive luxury in our time-starved existence. However, the irony is that, the busier we are, the more we’ll gain from some quiet time alone.
I’ve always been a passionate advocate for spending some time alone on a regular basis. I value those precious moments of solitude as crucial pattern interrupts in my everyday busy-ness. It gives me the opportunity to de-compress to process thoughts and feelings, and regain my bearings. All of which are critical building blocks of my resilience.
We live in a hyper-connected world that makes it harder and harder to spend time alone. Everything in our lives seems to be geared towards helping us stay more, not less, connected. But with more research showing the positive effects of time alone, it’s worth the effort to find these moments of silence even if the desire for solitude may still be viewed by some as a little oddball.
Schedule It In
Quiet time isn’t going to miraculously appear unless you make it happen. As we’re always time-starved, the easiest way is to build it into your daily routine. I used to drive an hour to and from work every day. Instead of listening to the radio or a podcast while driving, I used that time instead for quiet solitude.
Or you could choose instead to lunch alone every so often. And no, I don’t mean eating lunch alone at your desk as you catch up on work. I mean, lunching alone somewhere quiet and restorative, preferably outdoors.
Find your solitude
Some people need half an hour of quiet each day. While others, like a friend of mine, require a more extended period to decompress. So she goes to a quiet retreat for a few days of solitude every once in a while. Some enjoy the solitude of walking. I enjoy driving as my way of tuning out the world. Others enjoy people watching with a latte at a cafe. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The key is to find what works for you as a sustainable practice.
Have no expectations
The whole purpose is to give yourself the mind space to breathe. Enjoy those moments of quiet. I think we’re worth this little luxury of life no matter how busy we are.