Contributor: Saffron & Sage
Photographer: Sarah Shreves
Ears filling with chatter. Minds consistently racing. Bodies shuffling from one activity to the next at lightning speeds. Phones buzzing with a steady stream of text messages and laptop screens casting a glow on the faces of their entranced users. This is 21st Century America where one is never entirely alone.
In the modern world, it’s a bit difficult to feel like you’re ever one hundred percent alone. This feeling of being constantly connected to everyone around us can be unnerving at the very least, but it can also start to take a toll on our mental health. When we aren’t spending time in community with people, some of us have a tendency to occupy our time with distractions to unintentionally numb the empty feelings of loneliness. According to Psychology Today, one of the main reasons our minds crave alone time is so that we can reflect; our mile-high to-do lists can hinder us from making proper time for deep thinking. Reflection and introspection lead to creative thought and self-discovery. These things may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but they become nonnegotiable in fulfilling the desire to live the best life you can live.
How is loneliness different from being alone? Loneliness implies that something is void or missing from your life in a specific moment. It is an emotional reaction to a physical state. Being alone is that physical state. We have the power to choose how we react to that physical state and how to properly spend that precious time we have apart from others.
What’s problematic about the way we view alone time in our culture is that it can potentially keep us from doing the things we enjoy or from trying new things. When we’re afraid of doing something alone or even of being lonely, we’re less likely to take risks, which means that the possibilities for cultivating growth become smaller. Make it a point to go out alone and do things solely because you want to do them. Think about what that looks like for you individually. Is there an activity that you thoroughly enjoy that you can never seem to get a friend or loved one to do with you?
Alone time can look different for everyone, but if you’re confused as to where you should begin, start with our 7-Day Downtime Challenge.
Day 1- Turn off your electronics when you’re home alone and do something creative instead.
Day 2-Take a warm bath and listen to an album that speaks to your soul.
Day 3-Leave your phone and to-do list at home and just go for a drive with no destination in mind.
Day 4- Go on a walk or hike and experience solitude.
Day 5- Set a date to do something you’ve wanted to try for a long time.
Day 6- Treat yourself to a solo lunch date at your favorite restaurant.
Day 7- Buy a single ticket to an event, movie or concert that you really want to see.
What are your favorite ways to spend time alone? Dialogue with us in the comment section below.