Imagine that after a stressful week with work, family and social obligations pulling you in many different directions, you get to go away to a secluded cabin on the beach or in the mountains. All weekend long, you have time to yourself to rest and relax. You can read, do yoga, cook nutritious meals and enjoy nature. You have time to take care of yourself with no one making any demands on you.
You may be musing that this kind of alone time sounds wonderful. You're probably also thinking about how impractical it is or telling yourself, "There's no way I'd ever find time to do that." The good news is that you can get solid recharging solitude in the schedule that you have now. Just add a few of the following tweaks to your life.
Believe the Benefits
It's easy to ignore your own needs if you don't really see immediate benefits from taking care of them. The reason many people forget to take time for themselves is that the stress of always putting others first doesn't often seem like a problem until you are pushed to your limits and have nothing else to give. Therefore, the first step toward making your need for rejuvenation a priority is understanding what you can get out of a regular practice of solitude:
- Improved focus and memory
- Increased productivity
- Enhanced ability to empathize
- Boosted creativity
Some people feel selfish when they engage in solitude, but the truth is that it has just as many benefits for those around them. Making the time you need to recharge a priority can help you be calmer and more patient throughout the day, thus improving both personal and professional relationships.
Mold Your Morning
Even creating a small change in your daily plan can be a challenge. First, you need to find a time to set aside for it. Morning is a popular choice for enjoying solitude because days and evenings are often more hectic. Second, your family must understand that you intentionally want to be alone and should be expected to respect that. Often the extent to which this plan will be successful depends on the amount of support your family is willing to extend.
If your planner rules your life, use it to your advantage. Put a solo activity on your schedule every morning as a reminder to recenter yourself as you begin the day. It can be as simple as a walk or run through the neighborhood or setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than everyone else to meditate or pray. Choose what works best for your morning routine and make it a regular, scheduled habit.
Seek Out Silence
Ultimately, you know better than anyone else the amount of quiet solitude you need to recharge. Therefore, it is up to you to ensure that you get it. Intentionally seek out silent moments when you can. For example, instead of eating lunch in a cafeteria or a busy restaurant, pack a lunch and spend your break in a quieter, calmer space, such as a park or unscheduled meeting room. You can read a book, take a leisurely walk or just enjoy the silence for a few minutes while you eat. If a lunchtime plan is not feasible, schedule a few small breaks throughout the day.
The biggest obstacle to getting the solitude you need to recharge may be deciding that it's important to you. Once you understand the perks, though, you are likely to start looking for opportunities to get rest whenever you can. Figure out how much time you need to yourself and make it a priority. You'll be amazed at how much it helps!