Monday, August 7, 2017

What Do I Do with Alone Time

Last week, I wrote about being alone. How it is important to take the time to decompress. Do some introspection. It's important to slow down.

However, if you are someone who is used to being busy. Or someone who thrives on accomplishing goals, it can be really, really, really hard to slow down. Let alone stop completely. How do you do it? 

The first thing I did, once I recognized that I needed some professional help and got it, was to be honest with my spouse. My husband works. A lot. Plus, he's an introvert and can get lost in his projects. Because I can be a get it done type A, it's easy for us to go into the roles that we have always had. The roles that had led to a mental health break for me. So I had to start being honest about my feelings. I had to face down my fears that sharing honestly could lead to someone not accepting the whole version of me. To begin to create the space for alone time, I had to be honest that I needed time. Now, my darling man, can sometimes see the warning signs before I can that I'm in need of a recharge. And I get sent to my room to recover.

Cultivating the practice of being alone takes some time. Type As like myself tend to see a task and then want to get to the end of it. 'Cause there really is nothing more satisfying than checking off an item from the never-ending to-do list. But this need for a reset is not a one time thing. Yes, it needs to be scheduled and part of your routine, but it's not going to be an easy task. If you are used to being busy, it will feel like torture to be still. If you are used to being entertained or occupied with work, media, the internet, kids and various activities, sitting still by yourself to meditate or even reading a book or magazine is going to be horrible for you! Don't try to go from frenetic activity to meditating for an hour every morning. You will get frustrated at your inability to complete the task and then you will ultimately fail. Because it will seem like wasted effort. Start small. Start by sitting still for a minute. Or try going for a walk without your phone or earbuds. Small victories lead to wars being won.

Let's address some practicalities. Some of us have jobs. Some have kids. Some have spouses or family commitments that are ongoing. Most people have some kind of compilation to all three. I'm not advocating running away from all responsibility and abandoning them. As pleasant as that might seem at times, it is not a healthy response.

I am, however, talking about refreshment. The need to step away from the crazy. The need to say no sometimes. I promise, your world will not fall apart if you say no to something. You will not fall apart if you say no to something. The world will go on without your yes. Even better, your no can create space for someone else to say yes. I believe that so much of our frenetic, busy lives is rooted in our need to be in control. Guess what? Your control over your life IS NOT REAL! It's an illusion.

Slowing down is not giving up. It's giving in to a more balanced life. A life that leaves time for deeper relationships. Slowing down leaves time for reflection and honesty. It allows us each to be a better version of ourselves.

You can do it. I believe in you! 

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