Prioritizing “You” Time
Most introverts would agree that “you” time is a necessity to recharge and process information. However, even if you don’t call yourself an introvert, ”you” time is important for all of us. It’s the time where we get to prioritize our individual wellness and develop a better relationship to self. It’s also where we often do the best thinking and problem solving due to lack of distraction and influence from others. But how do we recognize signs that alone time is needed and how do we make time for ourselves in a world that is constantly on the go? Very Well Mind and PsychCentral agree on the following signs that a little “you” time is probably needed:
- You’re short-tempered and easily irritated by inconsequential things
- You’re bored or have lost interest in social interactions
- You’re overwhelmed and feel like you never have enough time
- You cringe when the phone rings or someone calls you from the other room
Now, if this sounds like you, you’re not alone. This is such a common occurrence that the term “aloneliness” has been created to describe the phenomenon. Professor Robert Coplan of Carleton University coined the term and defines aloneliness as “the feeling that arises when one’s need for solitude is not met.” It’s important to note that alone time and loneliness are very different things. Alone time is a conscious decision to spend time with yourself, while loneliness is a lack of connection not experienced by choice (and is also a major societal issue). To make matters even more complex, everyone’s threshold for aloneliness vs. loneliness is very different, as Coplan describes in his research, which explored the links between solitude and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, now that you’ve identified aloneliness in your life, what can you do to mitigate it? First of all, you’re probably going to have to schedule some time for yourself. There’s always going to be something you “should” be doing and you’re never just going to magically have enough time, so it’s time to put it in your calendar. Everyone will need a different amount of time for this, so that part is up to you. For some, a 15-minute walk is all they need. For others, it could be an entire weekend away alone. Ask yourself questions like “What do I like to do?” “What helps me to feel rejuvenated?” or “What have I been meaning to do for myself?” For some, this could mean meditating, journaling, walking in nature, listening to music, reading, going for a run, or taking a bath. Whatever it is, try to limit influence from others – including social media.
Once you’ve set aside some intentional time for yourself and determined what it is you want to do, all you have left is follow through! Stick to your plan and make sure you have regularly scheduled “you” dates, since this is not a one-and-done sort of practice. And because this is meant to feel good at the end of the day, you get to decide on the length and frequency of your dates!
Check out these time management apps, some of which can mute distractions on your phone for an allotted period of time.