After more than two years of rolling with COVID-19’s punches, we are now experiencing a sense of normalcy so close to what we used to have pre-pandemic. As things can get overwhelming while we ease into a lot of interactions again, I unearthed a concept I read in a health magazine more than a decade ago.
Being alone is not synonymous with loneliness. I was reminded of this reality while on the road to a series of events on a busy day last week. As a matter of fact, being alone can actually contribute to being a happy and well-functioning individual. Studies show that spending some time away from family and friends leads to a better appreciation of time spent with them.
Backed by science, the idea was better explained by Harvard psychology department’s Adam Waytz, PhD.
He said that our highly connected world leaves people “socially stuffed.” This outcome prevents one’s ability to genuinely empathize with others. It can be derived that those who step back and temporarily detach themselves to be alone tend to become more open and empathetic to others.
Prevention magazine in a 2011 issue presented the concept well with an analogy. It said, “Periods of solitude refresh our appetite for togetherness the same way being hungry before a meal can make it seem more delicious.”
Here are some ideas on how to maximize me-time:
Unplug and disconnect. With all the social media available these days, we are always within reach. As I write this piece, I can hear notifications popping up on my phone. Unknowingly, technology causes unnecessary stress for us. We can grant ourselves some headspace by disconnecting from all these distractions even just for a day or two.
Travel alone. It sure is fun to explore a new city with friends or family but going to a place alone may allow us to have a better appreciation of our surroundings. We can replace our supposed conversations with reflections. It’s our chance to unleash our adventurous spirit and do what we want right when we want it. We have the final say on how to go about with our schedule, having the luxury of allotting more time for our preferred activities.
Go on a retreat. One of the powerful ways of refreshing the soul is recharging the spirit. No matter what our faith is, there are different ways of reconnecting with our spiritual side. It will be a treat to find someplace peaceful and take time to reflect on our lives or simply commune with nature. Sometimes, taking a look back at our past actions allows us to make better decisions and necessary changes for the future.
Meditate and detoxify. Just like our bodies, our minds also need cleansing and rejuvenation. One good way to declutter the mind is through the art of meditation. Meditation is simply the act of getting us to focus on what is happening by heightening our senses. This saves us from becoming like headless chickens because of crazy schedules. Activities such as yoga and mindful tea drinking provide the benefits of meditation.
Date yourself. Spend some quality time with ourselves as we would with people we love dearly. We can go get a relaxing massage, go to our favorite coffee shop with a good book, or simply watch a movie by ourselves. This is the perfect chance to satisfy both our needs and wants.
Seeking solitude and temporarily detaching from the ones we are always with may seem daunting. But reminding ourselves that it is for a purpose is reassuring. We are staying away for a while so we can get closer to them better.
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