How you chose to spend your free time is based largely on your personality type and temperament. And while your preferred choice of activities is a great way to spend your free time, you may not be optimizing your “me” time. You can end up feeling even more drained, depleted and depressed than you did before.
When you think of unwinding and getting in some “me” time, what comes to mind?
Is it a quiet evening at home with you curled up in your favorite spot with a cup of hot tea and a good book? Or maybe it’s an entire day spent binge-watching consecutive seasons of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black on Netflix.
You may be one of those people who prefers to grab the girls and spend the day shopping and the night dancing. Or maybe you call up the bros and shoot hoops or catch the game together.
Or maybe you just sleep all day…
The Purpose of “Me” Time
The true purpose of “me” time is to give yourself the opportunity to get away from the activity and nonsense of life, quiet the noise in your mind and focus on self-care.
It is a time of reflection and self-assessment. It’s a self-imposed mental, emotional, spiritual and physical check-up. It’s about shutting off the world, unplugging and turning your attention inward.
It’s a chance to pause and reboot.
The Art Of Being Alone
Journaling–by either writing down or audio recording your thoughts–is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself during this time. It allows you to focus on things that have caused you stress recently and find a way to mitigate that stress moving forward. When journaling you want to:
- Identify specific incidents that caused you to be upset or feel stressed.
- List all of the feelings you experienced associated with each incident–such as anger, disappointment, embarrassment, feeling unappreciated, etc.
- Write down how you overcame those feelings. What did you do to calm your self down, cheer yourself up or move on? Were you able to resolve the situation? If so how?
- Write down ways that you can avoid the stressor altogether (whenever it is realistically possible) and steps you can take to resolve the situation and appease yourself when you do become stress.
- And last but most importantly, always end with a list of things for which you are grateful. Research shows that maintaining an attitude of gratitude is one of the quickest and easiest ways to pull yourself out of a mental funk and to move forward. It always helps to look at the bright side of things.
Engaging in reflection and then journaling provides clarity and declutters your thoughts. It allows you to sort, process and make sense of your feelings. It also helps you create a plan for attacking negativity when it rears its ugly head.
Actively being alone allows you to be fully present in the now
Actively being alone helps you eliminate distractions. It allows you to be fully present and in tune with right now. It makes you conscious of what you are doing, feeling and thinking.
Worrying about the future, and being consumed with whether or not you’ll achieve your goals or create your perfect vision of a fulfilling life diverts your attention from the present causing you to miss out on the beauty and opportunity that is in front of you, right now.
You miss the magnitude of moments always reaching for the future.
Learn how to be alone with yourself. And purposefully decide to love yourself enough to spend time with you–with your thoughts. Once you’ve spent time processing your thoughts, you will find that your state of mind changes. Your mood improves and your outlook is better. You can then spread sunshine and goodwill instead of doom, gloom and sadness. You will be a refreshed better version of yourself.
Activating your active alone time
In order for the refreshing to truly begin, you have to remove distractions. Go to a quiet spot and sit amongst nature. Go to a beach, a wooded area or a quiet park tucked away. And leave your phone in the car or turn it off.
If you can’t take an afternoon to get away, set aside the hour before you go to bed as your active alone time. Shut off all of your electronics, get in touch with you and record your experience.
If you have plans to go to lunch or shopping with friends during your free time, carve out time before or after to disconnect from the outside world and turn your attention inward. You will become a better, more balanced version of yourself.
Make it happen
You will become over-saturated with life from time to time. And getting away for a week in the Bahamas to rest and recharge is not always an option. You have to learn how to create your own little oasis right where you are. You have to make time to spend time with you. This form of mental exercise will help to restore your spirit and give you the type of true rest that recharges your battery and keeps you moving forward.