How to Know When You Need Time Alone
"Time for Alone Time"
I grew up in the mountains of Southern California. In a tiny town right at the base of a massive forest. Seriously, so small we didn’t even have a shopping mall or a movie theatre. CAN YOU IMAGINE?! But…. growing up here was amazing because without knowing it, it forced me to learn to enjoy the wonders and simplicity of nature right from the start of life. Pretty much till I was about 15 you could find me up a tree, or hiking some canyon area, sitting watching sunsets from my porch or just running around the forest somewhere. I didn’t grow up watching tv, shopping, or being fancy at all.
I was a legitimate small-town tomboy and I loved it. So, fast forward to my life now as a woman traveling to big cities where they have countless malls and movie theatres. You can imagine how different my life is now. I’ve lived in Paris, Bali, Zurich, Los Angeles, just to name a few. Obviously, these places have it all. But in the midst of all this amazing stuff to do, buy and see, I find myself always trying to find time alone in a packed city. (Update: if you are reading this in 2020 during the Coronavirus isolation, you may have too much alone time! Check out Tips for coping with Lockdown).
"Sometimes solitude is one of the most beautiful things on earth"
Don’t get me wrong I love that I have had the opportunity to live in these metropolitan cities all over the world but there is something to be said about just needing to be in the middle of nowhere so you can stare at a sunset alone and just enjoying what the earth is giving you to witness. I’ve always been what most would call a “lone wolf” and I’ve always liked to sneak away and have solo time. I firmly believe time spent alone is how we truly connect with who we are. It’s how we learn to love our thoughts. Life can be so busy that sometimes finding time alone can almost become a chore. But I find when I actively protect and cherish my time alone, I’m happier and feel more balanced in every aspect of life. It’s in the times that I agree to every invitation, take on every work task and spread myself too thin that I don’t have any time for myself. It is in those moments I find myself a bit lost.
I ALWAYS SAY
“YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOUR TIME ALONE.”
It took me years to realize this. But when we are young it’s easy to lay in a field of grass and just enjoy the clouds rolling by. It’s when you’re an adult running around “adulting” that you have to actively find the space within your schedule to find alone time. I swear it’s a game changer though. It’s a huge thing that most of us (including myself) usually take for granted when we’re young kids. For me, time alone is one of the most important parts of my life and I protect it fiercely. Because it keeps me sane. So when do we know when it’s the time to check out for a bit? Below are a few ways I know when I have met my limit and need some time alone.
It’s time to spend time alone when you find yourself exhausted.
I know a lot of you are thinking…. duh. This is an obvious one. But you would be surprised how often I myself and a lot of people I see around me are spreading themselves way too thin and just going and going and then burning out. Life doesn’t have to be that way. Life doesn’t have to involve any burnouts. But I had to pay close attention to the signs before I reached that point. We have to ignore the F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). Most people use this term as a joke but trust me, it’s a real thing. I don’t know how many times when I was living in Hollywood I would accept invitations to events and regret them the next day. Why didn’t I stay home? Why didn’t I just spend that time alone? So now I pay close attention to my real intentions and when I accept an invitation I ask myself… do I really care about going? Do I really wanna be there? Get ready? Be around people? Do I maybe need a night to myself? And the most important question, Am I exhausted?
It’s time to spend time alone when you feel the world spinning out of control.
I know we have all been there whether we would like to admit it or not. Life can get pretty ugly sometimes. Life can get pretty rocky. It’s one of the beautiful tragedies of life. The rollercoaster effect it has. It’s during these times I feel it’s so important to carve out some time alone. In the past, I didn’t know to think of alone time as something that would help during rough times, but as I experienced strife I learned that the most calming thing I could do for myself was to step away from it all. Work, love, life, all of it. I’m not saying you should run from your problems. I’m not saying to ignore them either. Not at all. But sometimes the world can get overwhelming and we need to reconnect with ourselves and just take a deep breath and get the heck away from everyone. Seriously, I know for some it might be unnerving to sit with your stress or thoughts. Maybe it’s something you aren’t used to. Maybe it’s something you have to practice. But trust me speaking from experience this works wonders to calm most people once they can do it peacefully.
Here are a few suggestions of things to do when you find yourself needing alone time
- go see a funny movie
- go out to have a great dinner solo
- take a long walk/run somewhere beautiful
- do some yoga at home with soft music
- cook a challenging (but fun) new recipe
- bake a healthy treat
- read your favorite book
- go for a long drive in the hills
- take a bath (while reading a book is even better)
- listen to a positive podcast
- watch a sunset in silence
- go to the beach and lay out in the sun
- go on a hike
- write in your journal
- visit a great museum
- people watch
So if you feel like some of this really resonates with you please try some of these suggestions. Life is short and we should be spending it happy and if you’re exhausted or overwhelmed then you can’t possibly be the happiest version of yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time alone. It’s all just about knowing when to check out and how to do it in a healthy way.