We are living in a time where we are connected via social media to more people than ever before. Human beings long for human interactions, but we also require alone time (some more than others). So, why do you feel drained at the end of every day, even on your days off? Because even your alone time is being consumed with social interactions. Being constantly connected to other people can be demanding and draining, and I would argue that most of our social time is spent discussing meaningless topics anyways. Our generation obsesses over taking care of our external bodies, but we tend to completely neglect our eternal bodies (our souls). Alone time is extremely important for spiritual and emotional health. In a time with such high percentages of people with anxiety, depression, and mental health issues, I believe that now more than ever we should stress the importance of true alone time, along with more meaningful time spent together. This time should be taken without your phone (or at least with your phone on do not disturb). Below are some ideas and examples of what this alone time has looked like for me.
1. Meditation – I am new to this, but I highly recommend making this part of your routine. There is something so peaceful about stopping everything to just be. Whether you listen to a guided meditation, or you just listen to instrumental music/sounds, this is great alone time. Even meditating with someone can feel simultaneously like bonding time and alone time. Use this time to clear your mind, or pray. Warning: if you rush through your meditation just to check it off of your list, this is not helpful. I only mention this because I have done it and it was extremely counterproductive.
2. Journaling – This is very therapeutic. I keep a prayer journal, but I do not pressure myself to make an entry a day or any sort of requirement. I usually end up journaling when I am upset or anxious. When you force yourself to put into words how you are feeling, it allows you to process them in a way that you normally couldn’t. Don’t be afraid to spend time alone with your thoughts. If you don’t want anyone to see your journal then don’t keep one! Write out your prayers/thoughts/emotions on a piece of paper and burn it or throw it away when you are finished. This can also be a great strategy when journaling about a situation or person that you need to let go.
3. Time in Nature – This will look different for everyone. My alone time in nature varies from running to hiking to hammocking to surfing. No matter the activity you are doing in nature or if you are just laying still in the grass, one thing is consistent and that is God’s presence. God is begging for more time with us, and He loves to reveal Himself in nature. Spend some time alone with yourself, alone with God, in nature. Plant flowers, or take a walk. Notice the way that He carefully designed this earth. May it mirror how carefully he designed you.
4. Affirmations – If you do not already, get in the habit of showering yourself with words of encouragement. When you wake up every morning, look in the mirror and SAY OUT LOUD what you need to hear most. Tell yourself you are beautiful, you matter, you are patient, you can make a difference, your identity is found in Jesus, you will show God’s love to others. Remind yourself of these things and others even if you don’t believe them. Convince yourself of who you are by speaking to life who you wish to become. These types of exercises set the mood for the day. No matter what happens during the day, you are confident in who you are.
5. Reading – Spending time in God’s living Word is some of the best time you can set aside for yourself. Again, if it feels like a chore to check off your list, don’t do it. Pray for God to give you the hunger for His Word. Then, enjoy that time with Him when He does. No matter what you choose to read, you will find this alone time to be energizing and fulfilling. Take a moment after reading to reflect and process. Taking the time to set your phone aside to read a fantasy novel is great alone time (double points if you read outside and triple points if you read outside in a hammock). Start a book club with your friends. You will have alone time to read, and quality time to discuss the book! Take a bubble bath and read that book you never finished from last Summer. If you tell me you’re just not a reader, I’ll tell you you’re just lazy and haven’t found the right genre or book.
Set a time and plan ahead to have these moments with yourself. If you don’t plan for them, they will rarely present themselves to you. Set an alarm on your phone. Take a lunch break. Make it part of your morning or bedtime routine. Get in the habit of spending time getting to know and understanding yourself. Again, some people will require more alone time than others and that is okay. I dare you to take the time, to grow, to learn to fall in love with yourself, by yourself.