How do you find stillness amongst the chaos of life? Do you love to spend time alone? Do you find it difficult to relax? Would you walk into a cafe to have a coffee on your own without a care in the world? Nowadays I cherish it. I value it. In fact, it’s the important gift I give to myself every week.
I wasn’t always like this. In a busy world, where we rush and rush, I felt like I needed permission to take a break for myself—that I was letting down others if I didn’t keep up with todays fast paced world.
My journey to accepting alone time started when I wanted to learn how to be comfortable on my own. I mean, just sitting still and enjoying my own company. At first it was hard to sit and not do anything, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, I needed to get up and do something.
To me, relaxing felt wrong, and I felt guilty. As soon as I started to relax, my thoughts went into overdrive and all I could think about is all the things I had to do, laundry, shopping, call clients, my work tomorrow…
After sitting and overthinking what seemed like forever, I stopped and looked at the time and not even a minute had gone by.
Over time, I found I was getting better at being able to sit in quiet for longer periods of time, and it started to feel good.
Quiet time for me includes finding time for writing, adding thoughts to my journal and remembering to do some ‘inner work’ to remove the layers of rubble that I buried myself under. Slowly, I started to use the quiet time to liberate myself from any negative thoughts inside my head. Running around all day everyday, both physically and mentally gives us no time to think for ourselves, no time to appreciate what we have achieved that day, no time to consider our mental health.
The stillness gives me time to think about what I am grateful for. Something I learned from my good friend, Olympic athlete. mentor and fitness coach, Michelle Robinson.
So here I’ve compiled my three top ways to spend time with yourself, because who knows, you may find you make excellent company!…
1. Use your time to do something you really want to do
The best part of alone time is that you can be absolutely yourself, with no one around to impress, no kids to be responsible for. Alone time is the perfect time to be just you- whether that means watching the TV show you recorded on catch up months ago, cooking up your favourite meal (for you) or even getting lost in your favourite book. Use this time to practise hobbies and relax in the comfort of your own company.
2. Try to avoid checking your phone (all the time)
Alone time may easily be distracted when that email pings through from work or the school WhatsApp messages filtering through again. The temptation to keep checking your phone is high. Trust me, you are not alone. I seriously struggle with this too! If you have an hour before the kids get home, leave your phone aside and set aside that hour for you alone. No distractions. Its hard to shut off from the world when your ringtone is always calling your name.
3. Enjoy your alone time
For many, time spent alone is time spent wondering around trying to find something to do with yourself. So many of us panic at the thought of being alone. When we’re constantly busy, its scary to see what the brain thinks of when distractions are suddenly gone.
Set aside a little alone time a week, to do something you completely enjoy. Try writing a list of things you used to love doing. Walk in the park and listen to a positive podcast. Don’t let your alone time turn into worry time.
I’m still unfolding in this quiet-time business and finding pathways to make better decisions for myself. However, I am trying and just like many things, it does indeed start with a first step… or in this case, a first sit down!
And of course, letting the guilt wash over us a little bit more…