We know that having close friends and family that support us and make us laugh is an important part of maintaining good emotional and mental wellness. However, these relationships are often challenging for many women with mental health and substance abuse issues as they tend to isolate themselves, avoid loved ones and neglect close friendships. Because of this risk factor, mental health facilities often spend a lot of time exploring the negative effects of withdrawing while encouraging women to make time to see those that are important to them nurturing their social wellness.
But is alone time ever a good thing? Absolutely. Spending time alone is actually an essential part of self-care, and in fact an issue that many women struggle with. Loneliness and solitude are not the same thing, yet they often become intertwined and lead many women to fear time spent alone with their own thoughts and feelings. Some women just simply don’t have time to be alone. Between working all day and sharing a house with family or friends, finding a moment to be by themselves can be nearly impossible.
Solitude is often omitted from our busy lives. The minimal time between the demands of outside obligations and the pull of social responsibilities is usually brushed to the side and neglected. Yet, this small amount of “me” time can help balance our entire wellness, and may actually help avoid the development of depression and anxiety.
Consistently feeling the pressure to engage with others can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. Being alone for a few moments without distractions gives our mind and body a chance to unwind and focus more clearly. With less distractions we are often more productive when we are alone, as we are better able to concentrate and think deeply both about work and our own thoughts.
Taking time away from the crowd isn’t just rejuvenating to our relationship with our self, but our relationships with others too. Constantly being around anyone, even those we love the most, can trigger irritability, frustration and emotional distress. Alone time is critical to gaining a better understanding of our own needs and desires, helping us make better decisions on whom we spend time with, and what we do with that time.
In a world that focuses so much on staying connected through Facebook, Instagram, text messaging and a million other ways, finding “me” time and learning how to enjoy this solitude is a vital step in self-actualization. It gives us a time to reflect, explore and embrace our own identity, and will ultimately help us to better love our self.