We’re living in a whirlwind of constant communication. Between smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, many of us are online or on-screen for several hours of the day. (Recent surveys suggest we check our phones an average of 52 times a day!) While this always-available mentality may appear to make us more productive, it can lead us to sacrifice something that may benefit us more: Time for ourselves.
Here are five benefits of solitude that may encourage you to cancel plans or put down the tech — all in the name of a better, healthier you.
Five benefits of time for yourself
- Improve mental health.
Research shows that people who are comfortable with time alone experience increased happiness and better stress management. Enjoying time alone is linked to better life satisfaction and lower rates of depression.
- Spark creativity.
Taking intentional time for yourself can also help increase your creative powers. Why? Time without structure lets your mind wander so you can spark new ideas. You need only look at top artists and authors who chose a bit of solitude to help them create masterful work — Thoreau, Georgia O’Keeffe, or Hemingway.
- Boost self-esteem.
Need another reason to schedule out time for yourself? You can boost your self-esteem by choosing time alone for personal reflection and goal setting. The key here is your intention. Studies show that solitude is good for people if they choose it. If you’re faced with sudden time alone, you may be more likely to perceive yourself as lonely. Your motivation matters.
- Create empathy for others.
When you have time to reflect, you can increase your empathy and compassion for others. Instead of spending your time in the usual circle of friends and family, take a little time for yourself. It can broaden your perspective, open your mind up to new ideas and prevent what’s known as “group mentality,” where people are heavily influenced by those who surround them.
- Heighten emotional intelligence.
Spending time alone can also heighten your emotional intelligence. Why? You have more time to reflect on your feelings and become self-aware. When we’re busy, we can sometimes act or react rashly. Take time for yourself so you can clarify your emotions and determine why you feel the way you do.
How do you create more time for reflection? Follow these tips:
- Plan or schedule out time for yourself, just like you would for a meeting or lunch with a friend.
- Close your door. It’s a simple but effective way to make time for yourself. It doesn’t have to send a cold or closed-off message; put up a friendly note that you’re busy for the next hour, but are happy to chat later on.
- Take up a new activity or make time for an old hobby. A fitness class, a good book or a new recipe — there are dozens of ways to sneak some time for you into your day.
Remember, as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first. And if you want to chat with a therapist for a fresh perspective, schedule a visit or visit our online practice to learn more today!