Ahhh, solitude! (Stay with me extroverts). In our fast-paced world, if you don’t intentionally carve out some peace and quiet, you probably won’t have any in your life. This notion of solitude came to me when I was recently reading Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” where she tells the story of her husband, former president Barack Obama, and his “hole”. In every home or place they stay, he always needs a quiet little nook where he can go to be alone. And, it turns out, many (if not most) highly successful people practice seeking or keeping acts of solitude in their daily life as well. Since becoming a mom and caretaker, I have come to realize that withdrawing, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, is something I absolutely have to do. I do this in lots of ways and have provided a list of some ideas down below.
Rest assured, I am not talking about social isolation or excessive time alone. I am just referring to seeking quiet time and space to reflect and re energize; to seek calm with positive thoughts and feelings. A time to catch your breath if you’re taking care of others. I know that having even 5 minutes to yourself may not be realistic every day.
So, how do you get this in today’s world? First, you prioritize it. You can do this by understanding the value of some quiet time, by yourself. There is plenty of research to support this. For some of us, it might mean 10 minutes and for others it may be an hour or more. If you’re really lucky, it might even mean some vacation time away.
There are lots of ways you can get some peace and quiet – in all kinds of time increments and settings. Even if you begin with doing something once a week, that’s a start to seeing whether or not some solitude could be of benefit to you. If nothing else, it has the potential to be a great stress management tool. Here are some ideas you might try.
- Write or journal
- Listen to music
- Try progressive relaxation
- Go for a walk
- Spend time outdoors
- Read (social media on your phone doesn’t count)
- Exercise or recreate
- Organize or plan