Giving yourself alone time means you can explore these things without the pressures and judgments that others may impose. Having time to yourself is critical for growth and personal development. Instead of worrying about the needs, interests, and opinions that others may have, alone time lets you focus on yourself.
Chances are, if you’re like most people, you enjoy a little alone time—and, by the way, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, research shows it can be beneficial: In addition to giving you the chance to unwind and actually rest, it can also boost creativity and productivity, and improve your overall happiness. Not to mention that it can also enhance your relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues. Just take it from Oprah, who in a 2005 What I Know For Sure column, said, “Alone time is when I recharge and go back to my center, distancing myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own with clarity.”
Independence is an ideal. In American culture, few things seem as prioritized as the freedom of the individual. Loneliness, though, feels like a threatening concept. This creates a bit of a tension, at least for a garden-variety anxiety-and-depression-suffering-sad-girl like me.
While being alone sometimes gets mistaken for being lonely, it is clear that having time to yourself now and then is important for mental health and well-being. If the thought of spending time on your own makes you feel bored or uncomfortable, try starting with a small chunk of alone time that allows you to focus on a specific task.
In a study by the British Journal of Psychology, scientists found that highly intelligent people became less satisfied the more time they spent with friends. In other words, spending some quality time with yourself is good for your overall well-being and results in greater life satisfaction. When you’re doing something solo, you can go at your own pace, think and reflect, discover new things about yourself, and improve your self-esteem.
Learn/participate in a hobby you enjoy. When you are by yourself, this can be a great time to practice a musical instrument, dance to your favorite music, braid your hair, or even sew. Not only is there quiet in the house, but you can also open up and be yourself creatively.
Going to a bar might seem like a uniquely social thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of gathering up your best girlfriends to meet for a night out, have a night out by yourself at your favorite local watering hole. Try a cocktail you’ve never had but have always wanted to, and spend the evening people watching or chatting with the bartender.
Until you live alone for the first time, it’s pretty common to spend most of your time in the company of others. When you focus on maintaining strong connections with friends, family, and romantic partners, though, your relationship with yourself might take a backseat.
A recent Life Pro Tip on Reddit said, “Learn to do — and enjoy — things by yourself. You’re going to miss out on a lot of fun if you keep waiting for someone else to accompany you,” and the comments had a bunch of great ideas for solo activities. Here are some of the best ones: