By now, you’ve probably lost count of how many days you’ve been practicing social distancing in your household. You’re also probably starting to go a little stir-crazy (or maybe that already happened back on day two). While spending time at home can seem dull and unproductive, in reality there are a number of benefits to spending time alone.
If you are “quarantining” with your family, you may not be getting much alone time right now—perhaps not nearly as much as you would like. Or maybe you live alone, and the isolation is starting to take its toll. No matter your age or situation, take advantage of the stay-at-home order and spend some time in solitude.
Benefits of Solitude for Adults
Whether you live alone or not, you should try to make some time for solitude.
Being alone increases empathy. As you become more in touch with your feelings while spending time alone, you’ll grow to understand others more, too.
Being alone improves productivity. People actually work better when they are isolated and not distracted by others. It’s okay to shut your home office door and focus on your important tasks for the day. You’ll get your work done faster if you do it in solitude, anyway.
Being alone sparks creativity. Many famous authors and painters get away from the world to create their masterpieces. Now’s a great time to create your own personal artist’s retreat! Rumor has it that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined from the bubonic plague.
Most importantly, it allows you to take time to think for yourself. Being alone allows you to drop your social guard, giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. If you spend time in solitude, you’ll know yourself better than ever when all of this is over.
The Benefits of Solitude for Children
Your children probably miss seeing their friends at school or playing at the local park, but spending time alone can be good for them as well. Asking them to isolate themselves for a period of time each day may even help them to come out of social distancing better-behaved and more mature than when they went in.
Research shows that children who spend time alone have fewer behavior issues than those who do not. Time alone helps children learn to regulate their own thoughts and emotions and do better with independent school work. While you may need to help your kids with their school work as they dive into distance learning, carve out an hour or two per day for them to work independently as well. You will thank yourself later for it—and their teachers may thank you as well.
A Harvard study found that spending time alone as children improves memory formation, processing life events and for memorization exercises like learning to play an instrument.
Research also shows that spending time alone helps people develop more self-acceptance and can help them foster better self-esteem.
Spending time alone teaches children to solve problems for themselves.
During this time of staying at home, make sure you take a few hours for yourself each day. When you start the day feeling recharged, things will go more smoothly for everyone in the house.
Not Sure what to do? Here are some suggestions
Read a good book
Start journaling - these are unprecedented times so it will be fun to go back and read what you wrote.
Meditating, or even daydreaming about your future will produce the desired benefits of spending time in solitude.
Be Well and Happy!
Tippy and Ron