7 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
Man is a social species. Realized it or not, we need each other to survive. Because of this, it's no surprise that we really had problems during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of going to an office and getting in touch with your co-workers, you are at home working alone. Sure, there were Zoom meetings on occasion. However, this is not the same as with in-person events.
As if that wasn't enough, you couldn't spend your downtime with friends or family. Of course, there were exceptions when these people were in your bladder. Overall, however, you spent more time alone.
Research has shown that this can be extremely harmful to health. "We're seeing a really growing body of evidence," says Dr. Daisy Fancourt, "showing how isolation and loneliness are linked to the occurrence of various types of disease [and] premature mortality." Dr. Fancourt's research found that social isolation leads to obesity and cardiovascular problems. It could also have psychological consequences such as anxiety and depression.
In addition, loneliness can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. According to a study published by the Wharton School of Business, this can have a negative impact on your job performance. This is mainly because "more lonely people are less effective in helping their organization".
At the same time, a little loneliness can go a long way. In fact, scheduling a specific time gives me the following benefits.
1. It relieves stress
As part of the “Solitude Project”, a study from 2017 discovered that those who proactively support themselves reduce stress and relax. The reason? Since you are not trying to please others, which can be a major source of stress, you can relax and do what you want.
Also, when you're alone, you're more likely to engage in relaxing activities. This includes reading, meditating or doing handicrafts. In my experience, it's a lot more relaxed when you don't have to coordinate schedules with others.
Related: 25 Simple & Proven Ways To Reduce Stress
2. You can think about it and learn more about yourself
"By cultivating this sense of solitude and making the choice to be alone, you can find out who you are and what your real interests are," Angela Grice, a speech pathologist, told the New York Times. How come? By allowing you to think about yourself and learn more about it – without the influence of others.
And this is where it gets really cool: Without these external factors, you feel more comfortable in your skin. This will make you more authentic and confident.
3. You can restart
"When you're constantly on, your brain has no chance to rest and replenish itself," explains Sherrie Bourg Carter. "Being alone without the distraction gives you the opportunity to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly." In short, this is an opportunity for you to "revitalize your mind and body" at the same time.
4. It makes you more empathetic
“When you spend time with a particular group of friends or your co-workers, you develop a us-versus-you mentality,” notes psychotherapist and author Amy Morin. “When you spend time alone, you can develop more compassion for people who may not fit into your 'inner circle'. "
Why is that so important? Empathy is one of the most important leadership traits. It creates more engaged, loyal, and productive teams, encourages collaboration, and increases happiness.
5. It increases your productivity
Studies show that loneliness can improve focus and productivity. In my opinion, that just makes sense. Eventually, when you work alone, there are fewer distractions and interruptions.
The key, however, is to find a balance. For example, if you need to focus on your deep work, block a few hours for yourself. After that, under normal circumstances, have lunch with your co-workers or schedule a brainstorming session to help re-establish relationships and combat loneliness in the workplace.
6. It strengthens your relationships
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, 85% said that for me, time is the key to a healthy relationship. In addition, 82% said that enough alone strengthens their relationship.
Why is that? We could all use this time to participate in self-sufficiency. More importantly, such an honest self-assessment will allow you to help you with self-acceptance.
In addition, a little time is pushing you apart to pursue your own interests. And when you get back together you will have new perspectives and experiences to share with each other.
7. It encourages you to practice gratitude
When you're having a quiet time, you're more likely to practice gratitude. They notice that this is a proven way to make you happier, whether it be by thinking, recording, or writing a handwritten thank you. It can also strengthen relationships and keep you motivated.
Related: How The Gratitude Effect Can Change Your Life And Its Direction
8. It inspires creativity
A study by a group of psychologists at SUNY Buffalo found that those who seek solitude are more creative. "They're not antisocial," explains Julie Bowker, associate professor at the University's Department of Psychology and lead author of the study. "They don't initiate interaction, but they don't seem to turn down social invitations from their peers either."
In other words, “You may get just enough peer interaction for you to enjoy this solitude when you are alone,” adds Bowker. "You can think creatively and come up with new ideas – like an artist in a studio or an academic in his office."
9. It builds your mental strength
Although we are social beings, being alone is good for your mental strength. Studies show that people who take their time are happier, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives.
Additionally, loneliness can help you build resilience and force you to solve problems yourself.
10. You can plan
Take a second and check your calendar. How much time have you invested in planning meetings, project appointments or family celebrations? This is definitely a part of life, but you also need time to think about yourself.
Is that selfish? Not really. Instead, you need time to yourself to plan your goals, focus on your dreams, and track your progress. In doing this, you are making sure that you are living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Related: 7 Steps to Living Your Life with Purpose
How to claim more time for me
I think there is a misconception that "I" time means you disappear into a cubicle by yourself for two weeks. It is not necessarily true. In fact, technically, you don't even have to be alone to partake of a much-needed “you” because it's really about doing something you enjoy.
For example, you could curl up on the couch with your partner and look at a subject together. You can also go for a walk with a friend on your lunch break. Or you can do something creative with colleagues or by attending a class.
On the other hand, you should also find blocks of time where you find yourself in solitude. Examples could be reading a book during lunch, meditating, journaling, or just sitting there doing nothing.
What is your next concern? How can you fit the time alone into your busy schedule? That is essential, my dear Watson.
You could wake up earlier so that you have a quiet home to yourself. Block off certain times at work so you can focus only on your priorities. Spend your breaks outside. Turn off your phone every now and then so that you're not always on.
Most importantly, "I" is not just like that. You need to make it a priority and schedule it like any other important appointment, even if it's just five minutes of solitude.