Whether a full-on retreat or time scheduled for ourselves throughout our regular weekly routine, introverts need to be alone if we want to fill up our energy tanks so we can share our goodness with the world.
Alone time, solitude, offers the gift of “disengagement from the immediate demands of other people“. The amount of alone time you create is up to you. Only you know how much you need.
I can already hear your “ya but’s”.
Ya but: I’m too busy. My family needs me. My business needs me. I can’t afford to take time off work. If I took as much time alone as I wanted, people would think I’m a hermit. I should be spending my time with others. What will people think?
I’m going to ask you to stop making judgments about yourself (and stop listening to judgments others might make of you) and just create space for alone time. Just do it.
I understand the guilt. I understand the criticism. I also know from personal experience that the best thing you can do is trust your intuition and give yourself the time and space you need for self-care. Forget about what anyone else thinks. In the end, it doesn’t matter.
For me, this has been lifelong learning, but it finally sunk in over five years ago when I was feeling exhausted from my stressful job and also torn because I really wanted to be living a different lifestyle. My choice to go go go without self-care led me to burnout (again – although I didn’t know it at the time). I thought what I was doing was “proper”.
It was clear that my idea of what “responsible” and “committed” looked like had to change. I had to become central to the equation.
It shouldn’t take courage to commit to alone time. But it does.
How will you build more alone time into your life?
An hour to yourself at the end of the day?
A daily walk?
You don’t have to feel like an empty shell just going through the motions of life trying to live up to norms or expectations. Do yourself, and everyone else, a favour and find the courage to schedule the alone time you need to be your best self.
My hope for you is that you will put systems into place so that adequate amounts of alone time become the norm rather than the exception (an afterthought, if it’s convenient).
And when those ya but’s start showing up, just imagine a mini-me sitting on your shoulder, nudging you to trust your intuition.
I’ll be whispering – Make your need for alone time a priority. Connect with your wisdom. Show up for yourself. It’s necessary.
P.S. Just so you know that I really walk the talk, my husband and daughter (an extravert and an ambivert) usually fly to Ontario to visit both our large families for what has become an annual face-to-face. I love them all and enjoy our time together, but sometimes, I stay home instead. Alone (well, my cat is here). And I can’t tell you how happy I am to commit to myself this way, even though I miss them.
Go ahead and criticize. I know what I need most. Space and time to move to my own rhythm. My introvert rhythm. To tap into clarity, creativity, strength, and re-connecting with my self. Permission to say no (to others/yes to myself) has become a non-negotiable. My radical act of love.
How about you?