The rituals you create by yourself just because they make you happy are a big part of your identity building and development. Get to know yourself. Explore your soul and feed it with the moments of pure joy, freedom and silent solitude. Think about your dreams, plan your future, read, listen to the music, watch movies, talk to yourself. It is equally important as hanging out with your friends. Psychologists advise it is also very important for your mental strength and your psychological health in general. Without setting priorities, without feeling guilty, without thinking about others’ needs, just be alone. Many people find it hard and I never understood why. It is a very important part of my life and I would never give it up.
Once in a while you need some time off from everything and everyone and you have to make sure that nobody messes with that plan. Just like you organize a party or an important event, schedule some occasional meetings with yourself, too. There is always a way and there is always time, it is just a matter of priorities. Remember that and learn to say no to other things. You need to be your own best friend.
Just like the society pushes us to be successful in what we do, it pushes us to be socialy active and involved, to get married and to be in relationships. It is, of course, not a bad thing. The problem appears in the negative perception of singleness, solitude and aloneness. It is directly connected to depression and isolation, you are automatically an “outsider” and even a bit “weird”. If you need a time to be by yourself, it often implies that something is wrong with you, that you don’t feel well or that you are going through some rough times. That’s why people are not comfortable with the thought of being alone, so they cannot relax and just be. Nobody posts on Facebook statuses and photos saying: “I am sitting alone of a bench and thinking about my life”. Everybody is posting about having great time at parties and on vacations. People are simply ashamed of loneliness, and unfortunately, that’s why they miss the beauty of it. A lot of people don’t even know what to do with themselves.
Maybe you are not born with the natural need for loneliness like I am, but it doesn’t mean you cannot learn to be okay with it. Just like it takes you time to get to know a new friend, it will take you a while to become comfortable with yourself. Don’t think about it, just feel the moment. Be grateful. Take small steps and every day learn something new about yourself. Ask yourself: What do you want to do right now? Do you want to take a walk? Go somewhere new? Would you like to stay at home and chill with some ice-cream and watch your favorite movie? Just like you would ask a friend. Now, instead of satisfying your friend’s desires, indulge yourself. Be selfish for a moment.
As an expert in “me-time”, I can give you some ideas, but in the end, you will have to find your own pleasures and create your own time in the way only you can. For me personally, there are three equally important types of “me-time”:
- “just because”-time
- “useful pleasure”- time
- “smart self-development”- time
The first type is dedicated to my unplanned “switching off” when I go with the flow of my emotions and just do whatever I need in that moment, no matter if it’s daydreaming or progressive thinking, talking to myself in my mind (or out load) or if it’s an activity (like walking) without a particular goal or purpose. It could be combined with something useful (like cleaning or manicure), but it doesn’t have to. I could just spend time lying on my couch listening to the radio and staring at the ceiling. I love to do some thinking in the subway or, even better, in a hot tub with a glass of wine.
The second type of my loneliness refers to the time I would probably spend writing or reading or taking care of my body. Beauty treatments like body peeling, face masks and pedicure are very present in my daily life and I sacrifice that moments only for emergency cases. I am not a big fan of exhausting long workouts, but I love yoga and body stretching, I love 20min- workouts in front of the mirror and I love to walk, so I try not to let three days pass without doing any form of exercise. And I don’t do any of this because I have to.
The third type of my “me-time” refers to the hours I spend improving my knowledge and skills. I watch tutorials about business communication, I read news from the field I work in, I learn German, I plan future, I think about my savings. I want to improve my professional performance, I want to learn new things. I feel good when I work on myself and my future.
Think about the things that make you happy, about things you always wanted to do, things that only you can understand. Commit to those things and be persistent in taking time you need for yourself. The world won’t stop spinning if you take an hour for yourself. Apply for that dancing course you always wanted to attend, finish that book you started months ago, go to that massage appointment you always postpone. These moments that you steal for yourself will stay with you forever and in stead of regretting, you will look back at your life one day with a smile on your face. You’ll know you lived.