Published Aug 4th,2020 & updated on Sep 25th, 2020
Peer Reviewed by DiveThru Team
Licenced Social Work(MS & LSW)
How To Spend Time Alone (And Actually Enjoy It)
Hi. Hello. Welcome! This is a dedication to self-care. Whose self-care? Your self-care! And one of the ways to do that is to learn how to spend time alone.
When was the last time you were alone?
Not lonely, or isolated, or missing someone. But alone, happily, by choice?
If you’re still thinking, it’s been too long.
The reason it’s been so long is probably because, in today’s world, we are never truly alone. We always have a notification popping up on our screen, our work phone ringing at 10pm, or our Instagram feed waiting to be consumed. We crave connection with others and, as a result, never have time to connect with ourselves.
Another reason we dismiss alone time is because there’s such a negative stigma around ‘being alone’. Just so we’re clear once and for all, being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. There are some incredible benefits to having time alone, but we simply never hear about them.
Well. Fasten your seatbelts because you’re gonna hear about ‘em now.
What better way to convince you to spend time with yourself than to show you the countless benefits!
**the introverts are nodding along as the extroverts are screaming internally…
Don’t fret, don’t fret. We’re not taking away any of your social time, because that’s important too.
Keep reading to find out why spending time alone is good for you.
Alone Time Helps You Know Yourself
Dr. Angela Grice, a speech language pathologist, has done extensive research on neuroscience and neurocognition. She explains how spending time alone can help you re-discover yourself:
“Cultivating this sense of being alone and making the choice to be alone can help you to develop who you are, your sense of self, and what your true interests are.”
Alone time will give you the opportunity to look within and uncover things that may have been forced into hiding due to the busyness of your life.
Alone Time Helps You Care For Yourself
Spending time alone provides much-needed time to take care of yourself. If you’re anything like us, you’re go-go-go from the minute you wake up to the minute you (eventually) fall asleep.
Our busy lifestyles often neglect time for self-care, which can ultimately backfire in the end. Alone time gives your mind and body time to rest and recharge, which it desperately needs.
Alone Time Increases Productivity And Creativity
This one is pretty simple. When you’re alone, there are no distractions. No kids asking you where their socks are, no tri-tone text notification demanding your attention, no partner showing you hilarious (but untimely) memes. Just you and your work. When you designate time and space for work, your creative juices start flowing without interruption. You’re in the zone.
Alone Time Reduces Stress
The combination of all of these benefits ultimately leads to decreased stress. When you are alone, you don’t have to worry about anything but yourself. You don’t have to worry about what other people are doing or thinking. You don’t have to worry about maintaining social interactions. There is no pressure. It’s just you, yourself, and you.
Alone Time Improves Relationships
Understanding yourself will help you better understand the relationships in your life. Through a bit of reflection, you’ll realize which relationships are meaningful and add to your life, and which ones are harmful or simply there to fill a space. You’ll recognize the value in your positive relationships and will likely become even more invested in them.
The Game Plan
Ok ok, you’re all on board. But how do we actually do it?
Schedule your alone time in a calendar, agenda, reminder, or even write it on your forehead if you feel so inclined. The point is, plan it into your day and don’t back out of it. Don’t think that you’re being selfish by taking time to take care of yourself. You’re not.
Scheduling time for yourself also helps to maintain a healthy balance of social time and alone time. Think of it as a spectrum. We depend on social interactions to build connections and relationships, but too much social time can be overwhelming.
Likewise, we need alone time to recharge, but too much alone time can be isolating. Try to utilize your schedule in order to find a happy medium.
It might be uncomfortable, at first, to be alone without the constant companionship of your phone or your family. But silencing distractions is truly the only way to get value out of your alone time.
Let the other people in your household know that you’re unavailable and leave your phone in another room. Don’t take it with you and pretend you won’t use it because we all know you will (we know because we do it too).
Shift Your Mindset
If you think that alone time is going to be a waste of time, you’re probably right. That’s the power of the good, old self-fulfilling prophecy. Try to avoid going in with a negative mindset and be open to the benefits of spending some time with yourself.
We pretty much guarantee you’ll find value in it. Give it a chance.
If you’re a little hesitant to spend time alone with yourself, try just starting once. Spend 3 intentional minutes alone with no distractions. If you’re able to do that, congratulate yourself! Then move up to 5 minutes.
Making time for yourself is not a competition or a contest. In fact, that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Work at your own pace and you’ll start to feel more comfortable before you know it. Practice makes perfect.
The Different Options
Is there more to it than just sitting in silence with no distractions?
I mean, you could take up a form of meditation, that’s reaaalllyy cool too! But here are a few other recommendations that might inspire you.
Grab your pen and paper and have a heart-to-heart with your journal. Journaling has so many benefits for mental health, which makes it an excellent way to spend your coveted alone time.
Check out our DiveThru app, which has over 1000 journaling exercises created by mental health professionals. The app can be used to target and explore specific areas of your life such as relationships, personal development, and work life.
Plus, if you’re tight for time, DiveThru has a range of options to choose from including 6, 12, and 18-minute dives. Download it for free to get started today!
Pick Up An Old Hobby Or Try A New One
What better way to pass the time than by doing something you love? Maybe it’s something that you did as a child. Or maybe it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do but your partner hates.
News flash: you don’t need anyone else! You can do it by yourself. Using your alone time to do something that makes you happy will never feel like a chore.
Sometimes it’s really powerful to just sit and do nothing. Let your mind wander and be reassured knowing there’s absolutely nothing you have to do except be there in the moment.
Now that you’re a pro on why and how you should spend time alone, we 10/10 recommend you try it out for yourself. You can even start right now. Pretend it took you 15 minutes to read this instead of the 5 that it actually took.
Ooh would you look at that, 10 minutes to spend by yourself journaling or colouring or just breathing.
Don’t worry, we won’t tell. Your secret’s safe with us.