The world is connected with cell phones, email chains, and everything else that may live within the glass and plastic walls of our electronic devices. It is important not to villainize the technology which has offered us many avenues of communication with our loved ones. At the same time, it is now impossible for anyone to feel as though they are utterly and truly alone. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why being alone is a good thing? Shouldn’t we want to be with our friends and family? Why seek isolation? The answer is simple: because we need alone time. We need to learn to be okay by ourselves to understand ourselves. Let’s learn how to be alone with yourself.
The first step to accepting alone time is realizing that “lonely” and “alone” are two different concepts. You have to be aware of this fact, lest you start seeking alone time until you actually begin to feel lonely. It’s healthy to have alone time, but not healthy to be feeling a need for companionship but ignoring that in favor of being by yourself. Learn to distinguish these feelings. Remember, being alone with yourself should settle you, not leave you yearning for something more.
Once these feelings are easily separated and managed, it’s time to begin the hard work: truly being alone. There are many ways to begin this process, but in the year 2021, the hardest and most helpful would have to be stepping away from social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more– all these websites and apps are great ways to connect with people. Hidden in this offer of connection, though, are lies and deceit– scams and ill-intentions. Keep the bad parts in the forefront of your mind as you close the apps and, if you’re feeling gutsy, even delete them! With this first step, you now delete a way for your mind to seek out anything that is not all about you. Following steps may be to turn off your phone entirely and find a nice, peaceful place, be it at home or in a park, where you can sit and relax.
Being Alone and Happy
You’ve taken the first steps to being alone. Now you’ve only got yourself and your thoughts. It’s a perfect time to think through any stresses you’re unable to when surrounded by the noises of everyday life. However, if you find yourself unsure what to do, here are a few activities to consider.
Reading and Writing
The go-to for many with quiet time! Stop by a bookstore and pick up whatever looks interesting to you; drama, fiction, memoir, even a self-help book. Then take it back to your favorite quiet place and dig in! Reading keeps the mind sharp. If you’re a writer like me, it also helps inspire the words you may wish to craft yourself. Consider getting into poetry or flash fiction. Short-form writing exercises, no matter if they’re good or not, can open your soul to self-expression and shadow work.
Nature and You
Take a walk through a park, go on a hike, plant a garden. Mother Nature is abundant in her love for us, so long as we are sure to love her back! Taking your alone time outside will not only grant you some time in the sun, but also help keep your body in shape and your energy high. You may even be able to plant a whole garden of flowers and fruits and vegetables, just for you and your loved ones to enjoy in the future!
In a capitalist society, people are taught to never stop working, never stop moving. It’s an unsustainable lifestyle. In order for human beings to be healthy and happy, we need moments of absolute nothingness. When I say vegging, I mean sprawled out on the couch, light music playing or a show you can ignore in the background, and your mind wandering far beyond what you usually allow. Don’t think about work or familial issues or relationships. Think about nothing, and if not nothing, think about what you want to do in the future. There is no shame in being lazy for a day, and there is no better time to be lazy than when you are alone with yourself.
Happy and Alone
There are a number of things to do by yourself, all you need is to find the time and the self-love to do them. You have to be alone and happy, keyword there being happy! Love the time you can spend with yourself and you will soon find that you can be happy and alone just as you can be happy and surrounded by loved ones. There is no shame in struggling to come to this point. Find the time to practice being alone and you will be better for it!