“I enjoy time to myself, because I don’t have to act or pretend to like something or do something I don’t really want to do. I can relax and not think about trying to please the people around me. Time alone lets me recharge my mind before going back to time with others.” - valo teen
Every retreat, we spend 2-4 hours in “solo time.” Just like it sounds, we carve out space to unplug and be by ourselves. Some of us read. Others draw. Another might give meditation a try. A few brave ones go on long walks in the cold. Whatever our activity, we all feel refreshed and centered after this monthly visit with solitude. Without fail, we find ourselves seeking that space in our daily lives.
Some of us shy away from time alone. Time spent with others feeds us and often seems to override being alone. Or maybe we feel there’s barely enough time to shower, much less find 20 minutes to sit in solitude. That said, the teens (and many studies) help us understand that it’s well worth the sacrifice. Micaela Marini Higgs agrees in her New York Times Article, “Why You Should Find Time to Be Alone with Yourself.” Here’s the trick: it takes practice.
Studies have shown that time alone can:
build empathy. We are more open and compassionate without others’ opinions and influence.
spark creativity. Without distraction from others, we can let our minds wander.
improve emotional well being. Think happiness, stress management, and lower rates of depression.
help us feel comfortable in our own skin. If we can settle into time alone, we grow more in touch with what makes us tick and what we want from life.
a separate peace
A new year invites us to push reset. Maybe even try something new. Making space to be by ourselves at the same time each day (perhaps the first 15 minutes of the morning?) helps turn the occasional moment into a habit. Perhaps, one that we can't live without. Why not go it alone? We guarantee, you'll be glad you did.