Alone time. It’s a strange concept where we, naturally social creatures, take time for ourselves. This isn’t constricted to just sitting in your room watching Netflix, it can be anything! Of course, fill it with Netflix binges if you want but some might fill it with running, others with a much needed nap. Personally, I have always struggled with this concept. I struggled to the point that when I was alone I would panic as if I were doing something wrong. As if there had to be something I needed to do or someone I needed to see. It took me till this semester to realize the true glory of alone time.
I came to this realization once I overfilled my schedule with countless obligations from becoming a new member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, joining two Emerson Channel shows, working at P.F Chang’s and writing for this very blog. So, I was pretty swamped all semester, especially while I was going through the new member process with Alpha Epsilon Phi. If I wasn’t at a shoot, writing, or working, then I was with my New member class working diligently to become initiated into the sorority. The times I spent with these girls was some of the best memories I’ve made here at Emerson and I don’t regret any minute I spent with them, but once we were initiated I quickly realized how much time opened up in my day.
At first, I was filling this time with my homework and going to the gym. But, I soon realized that even after I finished doing that I still had spare time in my day. It drove me mad the first couple days because I had this looming feeling that I was forgetting something. But, as the days passed I realized this was just my new schedule and it was so freeing.
I thought that I would want to fill this time with my friends, but I just couldn’t bring myself to text or call them. Now mind that I still see my friends every night, just during the lulls in my day I stopped wanting to fill it with them. Instead, all I wanted to do was just go to my room, watch some Netflix, and brew a nice cup of coffee.
Prior to this semester, I would have fought this urge, but one day I decided to just try it out. And it changed my life. I snuggled up in my bed with a cup of coffee, Shameless and watched three straight episodes in a row; more than I had seen in months. I felt so relaxed by the end of the third episode I felt that the day had so much more to offer. I went on to do some homework and still saw my friends at the end of the night. I found I could still fit in everything that needed to be done and that I wanted to do, but I was just happier at the end of the day and didn’t feel so exhausted. When you are running from task to task you don’t realize how draining that can be on your body, and by taking a step back and just focusing on yourself it lets you rejuvenate all the energy you just used that day.
All this extra energy allowed me to thrive and make the most out of my day. I became less snippy with my friends and really be present while I was hanging out with them instead of kinda listening while being on my phone. I was more patient with them, made more jokes, and was just overall happier. They definitely noticed because they have commented multiple times that they are so happy I’m done with the pledging process and that my other commitments are coming to an end.
I now spend my alone time in different ways. When I feel like I have so much energy I can’t concentrate I use my alone time to run. It makes me center myself and calm my mind down from all the extra thoughts that are just clouding my focus. When I feel as though I have no energy I nap so that I can try to gain back some much needed hours of sleep. When I feel like I’m running a little low on my energy than I just chill with some Netflix or a book and let my body take a little break. The more and more alone time I have taken for myself the more and more I’ve learned about what I need to take care of myself. I’ve learned that if I start to get a little snippy then maybe I should step back and think about if I have ate enough, if I need to nap, or if I just need to spend some time laying down alone for a minute in my cozy bed.
Yes, we are naturally social beings and need interactions with others to stay sane. But too much of anything can become unhealthy. Still hang out with your friends as much as you’d like, but,don’t forget that you need to take time in your day to just be by yourself to recenter and refocus your body and mind. Only then can you really function at your highest and make the most out of your life.