This week's BYP Blog is a guest article from Lildonia Lawrence, a life coach, educator and yoga instructor. Lildonia produces monthly content for the BYP Network centred on wellbeing, wellness and healthy living.
At the time of writing this article, I am coming into my 10th week of working from home and as a result, I've been spending a lot of time alone. For those, like myself who were used to working outside of the house and having a busy social life, it was somewhat of a shock to the system to be thrust so suddenly into proverbial darkness.
Even for those not living alone many of us have a lot more time spent on solo walks or tucked away our bedrooms. Traditionally, being by yourself has been a source of stigma or shame. We felt sorry for those dining unaccompanied and many recreational activities seemed only possible if done in companionship. When we look at institutions such as the schooling or prison system isolation is often offered up as a punishment. However, there is a difference between being alone and being lonely and it is just as easy to feel lonely in a roomful of people. Similarly, spending time doing an activity we enjoy on our own can bring a sense of joy and fulfilment. Many renowned individuals created their greatest accomplishments during periods of solitude. Perhaps, it is time to think differently about being alone.
Here are my top tips to make the most of alone time:
1 | Seek out your top solo outlets
We all have things that we enjoy doing alone. Some of the activities I enjoy are yoga, reading, writing and meditating. It is during these times that I find the most solace and self-reflection. Finding activities that we enjoy alone can be a welcome treat in what otherwise may seem like a daunting or anxiety-provoking period.
2 | Choose reflections over rumination
Time alone undoubtedly gives us a chance for introspection and reflection. These devices are fantastic ways to develop our self-awareness and a wonderful tool for growth. However, everything comes with balance and spending too much time in our internal world can lead to rumination and overthinking. We probably wouldn't have a conversation about one topic for multiple hours but it's easy for a thought to dominate our mind for that length of time. Try to structure your days to have a healthy mix of productivity and downtime. If you find yourself going over the same topics time again try allocating 'worry time' for twenty minutes during the day to write your worries down, throw them away and move on.
3 | Find balance
Alone time can be very addictive. After all, you' re getting to spend quality time with the best person in the world without having to consider anyone else wants, needs or objectives. Having said that we are social creatures and must connect with others to feel the full spectrum of human emotions. It's one thing to decline the odd zoom quiz here and there and quite the other to spend days on end without having any meaningful interaction. Carve out some time for at least one or two video calls a week and if online contact is proving overwhelming try finding activities that provide light connection and conversation such as online courses and classes instead.
Lildonia Lawrence is a life coach, yoga instructor and sex educator working in London. She has a background in psychology and mental health and has spent many years working in the health and wellbeing industries. Her week is spent with a mixture of delivering health workshops, teaching group classes and leading coaching sessions. Alongside this, she works as a wellbeing writer for several publications. You can find out more about her work at @lildonia.lawrence