Ever since I was a girl, I’ve relished spending time alone. Perhaps it stems from having once been an only child to now being one of three, but I enjoy nothing more than a quiet few hours to myself. Heck, I even moved to the other side of the world on my own! And these days, I choose to work for myself, by myself, and I can revel wholly in spending time with myself. Even something as simple as choosing not to wile an entire evening away on Twitter does wonders for my fried, busy mind. You might be wondering ‘doesn’t that get awfully lonely?’ but I can certainly vouch for that not being the case at all. Instead, it leaves me feeling wonderfully freshened and ready to spend some quality time with my loved ones.
Time alone is so valuable in a world where we’ve all inadvertently signed up to a lifetime’s subscription of Digital Pressures. Notification bells ringing, twenty hundred Instagram-worthy walls that you go out of your way to pretend was part of your daily routine, a different device or app to track every solitary moment of your day… Isn’t it all a bit excessive? Why am I insistent on monitoring all of my steps and hitting ‘share’? Am I really finding joy in scheduling an ‘Insta’-gram? Here’s why I cherish my alone time so much…
It allows me to recharge
- Get in my pyjamas and take my bra off
- Sit in the armchair and clear my notifications, before manually checking my apps
- Watch an episode of something comforting: Friends, Gossip Girl or Gilmore Girls usually does the trick
- Rearrange my desk
- Clean my glasses properly
- Do a little writing
It’s only after that that I can feel rested and like myself again. I find it incredibly draining to be out all day, especially coupled with anaemia, and these tasks help me to recharge my energy and put them towards things like walking the dog, catching up with my family over dinner, casting an eye over my emails or even getting down to starting a new series on Netflix!
It lets me calm my busy, creative mind
I’m sure many of you can relate when I say I find it increasingly difficult to just enjoy a night in or a day out. As a trained journalist and general creative, I automatically direct most of my energies towards seeking the story or angle from whatever I do. Spending some time alone helps me to find a patch of calmness amongst the noise. True, I still find my brain whirs with fresh ideas when alone, but alone time helps me to channel those ideas into something productive. I love journalling my thoughts just to offload some of the frantic energy that bubbles when I’ve spent too much time around others.
It helps me to grow
Lastly, time spent with yourself is essential to personal growth. Now I don’t want this to come across as totally hippy-dippy, but it’s incredibly important to allow yourself time to learn who you are, who you may become in the future, and how that could happen. Let yourself indulge in whatever you fancy: long hours at the gym, short hours at the gym, a soak in the bath with an alchemy of products, a 5-hour Netflix marathon, taking a book and going to read it in the park on the bench where the sunlight dapples the pages… Whatever it is that floats your boat at that moment: engage in it. Often when we’re with others, we subconsciously take on their mannerisms, their uniquenesses, their turns of phrase. What about when you’re not? Sometimes when I hang with my friend from Birmingham, I borrow her Brummie lilt. It disappears after a few hours. I know that my boyfriend and I have practically got our own secret language, but what about when we’re apart? Does that continue? (Yes.)