Our latest blog post by Amy Jackson at Dorothy House is about embracing solitude and making space for yourself- at this time of year, leaning into a slower, less hectic time, seems a natural way to go...
To say I’ve been someone who enjoys their own company is perhaps an understatement. Anyone with anxiety will tell you that being alone with their own thoughts isn’t always the best idea. However, after a particularly anxious Christmas, I’m now desperately trying to work on getting my anxiety levels under control, and a lot of that involves time by myself.
Despite so many of us declaring that we’re “too busy” to make time for ourselves (myself included…), there are countless studies out there that tell us a little solitude will do us the world of good. Solitude has a whole host of benefits, including increased empathy, productivity and even creativity. However, it’s important to note that it’s only beneficial when the circumstances are right. Provided that you voluntarily choose to spend time alone, you feel good about doing it, and you have the option to return to your social group when you choose, a little solitude now and again is an excellent form of self-care – but how do we ensure we get it right?
1: Plan for it
Solitude shouldn’t feel forced or leave you feeling anti-social. Whether you pick a day in your diary every so often to help you unwind or set aside even something as small as 30 minutes a day, planning for that time alone will mean it’s under your control and no-one else’s. Plus, I don’t know about you, but if something is in my diary, I’m far more likely to actually do it!
2: Embrace it in all aspects of your life
I often embrace solitude at work as well as at home. While coming into the office is great socially and allows me to catch up with my colleagues, sometimes we all need to get our head down, and in a busy office environment, that’s not always possible. Working from home every so often is a great opportunity to really focus on your to-do list and in some cases, recharge after a busy couple of days.
However, embracing solitude in your personal life can be even more rewarding. I personally love an evening to myself watching the TV shows my husband refuses to watch (currently it’s The Flat Share), or sitting with a glass of wine and writing in my journal. Even just one night every few weeks is enough to help me reset and enjoy some much-needed down-time. Plus, it gives my husband a chance to spend hours on his gaming PC, so it’s a win-win.
It's all about finding what works for you, and if you feel like stepping out of your comfort zone and going for something new, do it! Go to the cinema alone, learn a new skill, perhaps even enjoy a solo trip away if you’re feeling adventurous!
3: Don’t feel guilty!
When we all have so much to do in our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to end up feeling guilty and that you could have been doing something far more productive or sociable. However, remember what I said at the start about the benefits of solitude? Increased productivity, creativity and empathy are all things that can make us better people. I don’t think that’s anything to be feeling guilty about!
If you really can’t ease that guilt, remember that 100% of the profits from Ubiety go towards supporting the care provided to patients and families at Dorothy House. So, whether you choose to pamper yourself with the luxurious body care products or take an hour or two to light your favourite Ubiety candle (the Calming fragrance is my personal favourite) and curl up with a good book, you can relax in the knowledge that this particular form of solitude is pure unselfish self-indulgence!