Loneliness is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “the unhappiness that is felt by someone because they do not have any friends or do not have anyone to talk to”. Whilst I do feel there’s a bit more to it than that, you can be lonely in a crowd of friends, this is something that shouldn’t be confused with being alone.
Life is so busy! Kids, house, work, relationships, bills, money, appointments, planning – it never stops, there’s always something to be done. For me in the UK, I always missed that down time, that time of the day I never got when I just wanted to slow down, or actually stop, and just catch my breath and let my mind wander on its own, instead of following an over-sheduled to-do list. We’ve all heard about this folk tale called ‘me time’ but living here in Australia I’ve made an effort to find it, and I have, it’s called being alone.
In today’s constantly connected world, finding solitude can be hard, finding time to be alone with your mind and your thoughts and without interruptions and kids around your legs can be difficult but psychiatrists say that being alone is something we should do often, as it gives us the chance to rest and rejuvenate.
Our brains need balance. Social interactions are so important, and we need that activity in our lives, we need that human connection but alone time is also a necessity for our brains to switch off, to unwind, to recharge, and to strengthen. Being alone with no distractions really does give you the chance to clear your mind, to focus and for me, to think clearly about my new life, my goals, my worries and put things into perspective and prioritise, plus it’s a chance to rest the body too.
For me, the only place I can really zone out of the rush is on the beach. Even before making the move, the beach for me was always my thinking place, looking across the ocean into nothing but blue, it was always the place I could actually hear my thoughts and now living so close, it’s my daily go-to (with hot chocolate of course!)
Early morning or late evening, wide open space, no restrictions, the sound of the ocean, the soft golden sand, it’s just perfect for switching off, I’m pretty sure time actually stops there. Being away from the pressures of the outside world, from the craziness of the kids and the house and just taking that time to be by myself makes such a difference to my day. From the moment my feet hit the boardwalk and I can see the waves amid the trees ahead, I feel that rush of peace wash over me.
Being a creative person, I also believe being alone makes me more productive. Studies show that people are actually more likely to come up with their best ideas on their own, rather than during group brainstorming sessions and that the lack of interruption from others allows us to think differently, leading to more creativity.
Furthermore, time alone allows us to appreciate our time with others more, rather than taking it for granted or feeling overwhelmed by it. When I’m back from the beach, I feel so refreshed! My heads in a good place, I’ve maybe written a blog there so I’ve had my therapy and I’m me again.
We really shouldn’t feel guilty if we take time out on our own. The demands of life and the expectations of being a partner, a parent, an employee can make finding time for yourself a huge challenge, something I’ve never been one to shy away from, but if you don’t care for yourself, how can you care for others? For me, daily visits to my piece of paradise gives me the perfect opportunity to relax, refresh, recharge and reboot and in turn makes me, and my mind happier, healthier and stronger.
My advice for those needing some me time, is take it. I’m not saying you all go Tom Hanks in Cast Away, live on a beach and make friends with a ball but schedule even just 20-30 minutes into your day. Get up early before the kids wake and just sit in your cosy PJs with a cuppa, or go for a walk, or meditate. Take your lunch on your own a few times a week in work or grab a coffee alone with no technology in hand, just people watch and take in the world around you.
Once you’re alone, in that space, it’s all about you. You can be your true self, you don’t need validation, you don’t have to apologise, no one can dent your confidence and the only person’s happiness you have to worry about in that exact moment, is your own. Take the time and enjoy every second, you deserve it.
Written by Editor, Rhian Cable
Mum, Wife, Marketing Specialist and Blogger – Living life every minute.