The summer officially ends on Sunday, 23 September. And to confirm that fact, the city streets are more congested as most everyone has returned from vacation, parking is harder to find, the school runs have begun and the days are also noticeable shorter. And in my part of the world while the leaves haven’t started to change color, the temperatures have dropped. Just as quickly as the dog days of summer parted, more demands on my time arrived.
Now I find myself thinking about how I can find more me-time? When I say me-time, I’m talking about time alone to relax, recharge, refresh and of course just be in the moment. William Deresiewicz, author, essayist, and literary critic poetically, “Solitude becomes, more than ever, the arena of heroic self-discovery, a voyage through interior realms…to achieve authenticity…” There’s a man who knows exactly what I’m talking about. Yes I just want a few moments to breath and indulge in heroic self-discovery and re-acquaintanceship with myself. Can you relate?
And as quiet as it’s kept, we crave alone time more than ever, even as we forget, disavow and ignore this need as demands and responsibility steal every last drop of our time. So, lest we forget just how lovely a few minutes of me-time can be. Here are 6 benefit of me-time.
1. It gives you time to recharge.
Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest, digest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus and think more clearly. Body and mind are connected, so when you rest your brain you also give your body an opportunity to recuperate from stress too.
2. It gives you space to hear your own voice.
Being alone requires that you make your own decisions and that helps you get in touch with your own voice. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate life from your own perspective. Later you can appreciate other people’s perspectives. But for this moment, it’s all about you.
3. It’s your opportunity to be selfish.
When you’re alone, you can put yourself first. You get to decide what you do and when you do it, without asking for someone else’s opinion. It’s a way to show yourself what you’re capable of, making your own decisions, spending time on your own way, and learning how to be OK with your own decision. It feels really good if you give it a chance. It’s can even be liberating.
4. It’s the perfect time for self-care.
We often feel guilty or selfish for taking the time to ourselves but the truth is the better you are at taking care of yourself, the better you’ll be at taking care of others because you’ll know how it’s done. You’ll know what to ask. You’ll be able to share what’s worked for you. Being alone is a great opportunity to do just that. Listen to your mind and body and do something that nurtures you. That could mean sleeping in late, grabbing a notebook and writing down your thoughts or having a pamper session either at home or the spa. Get to know what feels nourishing to you.
5. It will teach you a lot about yourself.
Once I read somewhere that we are who we truly are when there’s no one watching. Day-to-day life, commitments and things to do, prevent us from engaging in deep thought, which inhibits creativity and lessens productivity. Spending time alone is a great opportunity for re-membering who you are and re-discovering what’s really important to you, for getting a better understanding of who you are and working through problems more efficiently.
6. And finally, it improves the quality of your relationships with others.
As you learn more about yourself, you’ll eventually make better choices about who spend the rest of your time with. Being on my own also makes us appreciate our relationships more. As I’ve said, after too much social interaction, I need time alone to recharge so that when I’m with people again I can really appreciate their company.
The soul environs itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance or solitude; and it goes alone for a season, that it may exalt its conversation or society.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Despite knowing these benefits, it still can be a challenge to find time alone. Here are a few ideas to help you find more time to spend with yourself.
- Close your door. People will always think twice before opening a closed door.
- Go to lunch alone from time to time. It’s easy and discreet. If someone says they wish they had of know, just say, “Oh well, next time.”
- Go for a walk. This could be a quick tour around the building at the office or quick tour around the neighborhood before entering the house after work. A quick change of scenery can work wonders.
- Take a long hot bath. Again I ask if there’s anything that needs to be done before I start. Then I announce that’s I’m taking a bath. That way there’s not excuses.
Remember this is your time. So unplug: no cell phone, no Internet, no TV. You are just being with your own magnificence. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy.