How much time do you get for you in a day? I don’t mean eating lunch in front of your desk, putting on a wash, calling a friend you have not spoken to in a while. I mean genuine you time; time in solitude to get to know yourself.
If this sounds like a scary concept to you then you are not alone. Solitude, in this modern technological age, can be at best impossible; at worst terrifying. Moreover, the world has confused ‘you time’ for ‘time to get stuff done’. In this article, TV.bed.com seems to suggest that you time is making a list, cleaning the house and going shopping… I am resisting the temptation to spend the rest of my time writing about how wrong this article is…
Why is genuine you time so important?
“We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart… and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together…. I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.” —Helen Hayes
You Time allows you to understand yourself, trust your instincts, tap into your genuine needs and follow your intuition. The more time you spend with you, the better you will be at dealing with the world around you. You wouldn’t spend all day with a stranger, so why would you do the same with yourself?
Spending time with yourself allows your body to process all the connections and content thrown at you. We like to brush pain under the carpet but, by doing so, we are allowing this pain to fester inside us.
“All men’s misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone.” – Jean de la Bruyere
So how do we carve out genuine time for ourselves?
Check in with yourself: My sister used to set an alarm every hour on the hour. When this alarm went off she had to look at what she was doing and question herself; what was she doing? Was it something she chose to do? Had she found anytime for herself in that hour? This made my sister more mindful and understanding of how she spent her day, allowing her to make small changes every hour.
Shut the door: We are now expected to communicate with everyone all the time; walk through a modern office to see how booths and cubicles have been replaced with open plan offices and casual meeting spaces. My husband gets his much needed time by taking himself to Foyles in Charing Cross whenever he wants to sit on his own but you can also get this time by simply shutting the door behind you and being in one space alone. Find a room in the house you rarely use, an empty meeting room or take my husband’s advice and find a bathroom (can you tell how much he values his own time?).
Be, don’t do: We have been trained to believe that success is based on accomplishment rather than acceptance but the value of simply being enables you to accomplish more in the long-term. So when you have shut the door just sit with yourself and revel in the nourishment of doing nothing. “Constantly being ‘on’ doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself,” Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. wrote in Psychology Today. “Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.”
So take some time today for YOU. Solitude isn’t something to be afraid of; it is good for you mentally, physically and emotionally.