O is for On My Own – Why we all need time alone

Megan On Top Of The World by Wayne Kelly
Megan On Top Of The World by Wayne Kelly

As Greta Garbo once famously said, “I want to be alone!” Cue sharp intake of breath from those around you as they stare in stunned silence like you’ve just told them Lassie is dead. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, but why is wanting a little quality time for yourself seen as being just a little strange?

How rude!

In today’s world of inter-connectivity, social media and being ‘plugged in’ at all times, it seems that the idea of deliberately taking yourself off ‘the grid’ for any amount of time longer than a toilet break would be insane. I would argue that is precisely the reason that you need to step away from all of the madness on a regular basis.

But what about the children?!

The other guilt-stone that will be thrown at you by well-meaning relatives and friends is that you really should be spending all of your free time with your family. Well, at the risk of being disowned by my own loved ones, I think that although the majority of your quality time should be devoted to family and friends, you really should make an effort to balance that with some well-deserved ‘me time’.

Ok, I’m on my own . . .what now?

That’s the fun part . . . it’s your time. Try to do something that’s difficult to focus on when surrounded by technology and family distractions. Could just be a nice long walk. Read a book. Listen to that album you bought 6 months ago, but haven’t made it passed track 3. Write – writing’s always good. Sew, paint, exercise. Here’s a good one . . . think. Yes, quality thinking time is one of the most valuable commodities known to man. If you’re anything like me, often the only time you really get to think something through is as your trying to get to sleep – a perfect recipe for insomnia.

Short bursts, big gains

In an ideal world we would get a few hours or a whole day to ourselves, but if you have a family and a busy work life, it’s highly unlikely that you will get much more than half an hour or an hour at a time, but sometimes that can be enough to recharge your mental batteries and spark some creativity. You’ll also feel refreshed and better able to give quality time to your friends and family. Make sure you encourage them to get some time to themselves and you will be amazed at the difference it can make to your life.

Nobody wants to be lonely, but sometimes being alone can do wonders for the soul. How do you get your ‘me time’ and how do you find it helps you as a person?

This was my 15th post for the A-Z Blog Challenge. Follow the blog during April for more writing tips, inspirational life posts, short fiction, film-inspired articles and more songs with audio recordings. Next post – P is for Pigeon-Hole. Stop trying to put me in a box!

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25 thoughts on “O is for On My Own – Why we all need time alone

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  1. Really? Am I in the ideal world? Doubt it, but I do get tons of time on my own and love it all! Probably love being on my own too much these days.. oops! I have no idea how anyone writes or reads a book when they’ve got a family. Great post.

  2. Have you read The Artist’s Way? It tells the writer to go on an “Artist’s Date” once a week to make quality time for yourself. I like to spend my lunch hours away from my desk with a book and some peace & quiet. I feel very refreshed when I go back!

    1. Hi Catherine, no I haven’t put that’s the second time I’ve heard about it in the last few weeks and someone else mentioned the idea of an ‘Artist’s Date’ – maybe @MariaAsmith? – so I think I should definitely seek it out. Sounds like an interesting read. Looking forward to seeing what prompt you have for us today.

  3. I love time on my own.Hubby goes away overnight one day a week and that is usually the day I get my writing done without interruptions as he works from home. I also love time just reading with my feet up. I don’t mind looking after my granddaughter just so her mum can relax it’s so important.

  4. I agree with this! I am gregarious by nature but I crave some alone time sometimes, to watch my TV shows, write blogs, read books and go shopping (I don’t like shopping when there are other people around because I don’t want anyone waiting for me while I try on stuff, etc).

    ~ D is for Deecoded ~

  5. I find it very easy to enjoy my alone time – perhaps almost too easy, and maybe sometimes I let the balance go too far the other way.

    When I know I’ll be having an evening or two to myself, I tend to start planning creative work that I want to do and forget that I could ask friends round to catch up.

    Mind you, they can always read a new blog post once I’ve written it! 😉

  6. Me time! I would love some! Luckily I do generally get some once or twice a week when my husband takes our daughter out for some of her activities. I guard it jealously, and it’s mostly used for writing! (occasionally for reading a good book)

    Rinelle Grey

  7. I’m an introvert. Time alone is a pre-requisite for my energy levels. Otherwise I might die. Okay, probably not, but sometimes it feels that way. Particularly right this week, while struggling through Week 3 of the A to Z Challenge, and having my daughter home from school in her school holidays. Oh, to be alone for just an hour.

    1. If you consider yourself an introvert, you may be interested in tomorrow’s Q post – The Quiet Ones. It’s probably less that you are shy, and more that you are a natural writer.

  8. I remember that as soon as my daughter was old enough to be left in a room by herself, the rule became “bathroom time is private time.” When I needed a few minutes alone to regroup or just to sit and think, I’d go into the bathroom, close the door and sit on the floor. It was utter bliss.

    Regular doses of “on my own time” is a basic need, as far as I’m concerned. If I were to make one suggestion for improving Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it would be to add “on my own time” to the pyramid, probably between “Safety” and “Belonging.”

    1. Haha, Kern, thanks for managing to get in Maslow’s Heirarchy of needs – I used to crowbar it in to every essay I wrote at school. Good old Maslow missed a trick there.

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