Do you like alone time? I do – and it’s probably the most important thing I’ve learned about myself in the last couple of years. Making sure I get a good few hours to myself (though to be honest, sometimes I crave whole days) leaves me feeling more energised, less anxious and makes me far better company for friends and family.
Introverts have got a lot of press of late but to be honest, I am not sure I fully recognise myself in the descriptions of introverts. Plus, the idea of people going around telling everyone they’re ‘introverted’ and asking for recognition is pretty obnoxious, don’t you think? A lot of the writing also sets ‘introverts’ against ‘extroverts’, with the former being touted as inherently superior to the latter. I instinctively dislike this impulse to identify differences between people and then set them in competition.
However, the main characteristic attributed to introverts – that socialising, especially long periods of socialising in larger groups can be draining – absolutely resonates with me.I love spending time with my friends and family. They are all pretty amazing and I couldn’t be without them. But after too much time spent with either, I become tired and, eventually, ill-tempered. Many a flare-up has come after a long period spent socialising with others. Now that I’ve realised this, I’ve been able to tweak how much time I spend with people to maximise the good parts and wind things up before and I feel exhausted and my patience has all-but eroded.
Of course, it isn’t always that easy to make sure you have time to yourself, especially if you have children. Visiting other people and having people visit you for overnight, is the most challenging circumstance in which to find that time to recharge. For me, the urge to make the most of the available precious time conflicts with my desire to spend a couple of hours on my own doing nothing in particular. Travelling alone can help – a few hours alone on a train is perfect. In a normal week, I try not to plan too many meet-ups on consecutive nights and aim to keep at least half a day free from commitments at the weekend – that seems to be enough balance for me.
As for what I like to do with my alone time? Not a whole lot, to be honest. I do count gym time and netball as alone time, because even though there are people around me, the bulk of these activities are dedicated to quietly getting on with what I’m doing. You might have noticed that I really like television, so that features quite heavily in any Rose Time. During my working days, a good solitary stroll at lunchtime or some quiet meditation set me up well for an afternoon in the office. I’m not massively into solo outings (apart from shopping); I prefer to stay indoors where no one can see me. However, enjoying a coffee by myself in town is not unheard of. It’s the aloneness of it that matters. After that, I’m raring to go out and have a good night without fear of overload.
How about you? Do you like spending time alone or does the very thought make you feel numb with boredom? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
P.S. other things you can do in your alone time including teaching yourself to meditate, working out at home with a little help from YouTube and settling down with a good sad film.