For those of us quarantined with other people–especially parents with kids–there is a whollllllle lotta together time. In many ways, it’s great. We get to see each other and be with each other through all kinds of moods. But alone time is also how we catch up to ourselves, process our emotions, and just be, without having to respond to anyone. We get to go into the zone when we’re alone. Kind of like superman needed the fortress of solitude. The need for alone time is real.
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Also, I know that many folks are quarantined on their own, and if that’s you, my heart goes out to you. I understand that that brings a whole other set of challenges in terms of needing connection and conversation. It is also so far outside my reality that I don’t feel equipped to speak to it, but I can share
Differing Quarantine Experiences
I heard Mindy Kaling on Fresh Air the other day, and she was talking about how her daughter used to think Mindy was some kind of special guest star in her life, and now Mindy is with her all day, and how they’re both loving it. It’s so sweet.
That’s lovely. That is not what I’m experiencing.
Now that I am home with kids husband and dog every day, the irony is that with all the together time, I am feeling over-socialized during quarantine.
By the end of the day my psyche needs to be wrapped in a weighted blanket. Being that responsive for that long exhausts me.
Alone Time Is A Fundamental Need
Please, don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. But I am also an introvert. Alone time is a fundamental need. How do you know if you’re an introvert? It’s not about whether you’re shy if you like socializing, it’s really about how you restore yourself. Extroverts restore themselves by being around other people. Introverts do it by being alone.
In that regard, I am very very much an introvert, even though I do love socializing, I always prefer a smaller event to a larger one and after a lot of talk, even when it’s fun, I have to go into what I call my introvert hole for a while to be ready to talk again.
Even if you’re not an introvert, it’s hard to think straight when you are continually in a situation where you are ‘on’ at all hours of the day. We all need alone time to just… be. To not respond to other people. To be able to think. Or to just not talk.
Make Friends With Yourself
Studies show being surrounded by people kills productivity. (I can relate)
It helps you make decisions without the influence of other people
Helps you do what the Buddhists call making friends with yourself, because it’s really hard to be friends with someone you don’t spend any time with. And if you’re not friends with yourself, that’s when you get down on yourself, talk meanly to yourself. I mean, think about it, I bet you’d never say the things to your friends that you think about yourself, am I right?
I know alone time is hard to find but it is possible. You can go into a room where you can shut the door, even if your only option is the bathroom, take a bath, or a long shower. Go on a walk solo. Even leave the dog at home.
But really, the first step is to acknowledge that alone time is a need and a right. I think women, especially moms, can forget that. I’m here to remind you.
Daily Tiny Assignment
No matter where you’re quarantining or who you’re with — if you’re fantasizing about being alone or with other people, today’s tiny assignment can help. It’s called:
Go There Now
Here’s how you do it:
Conjure up the most relaxing place on Earth for you. Is it in front of a fire in a mountain lodge? On a hammock near the ocean?
What can you see there? What can you smell? How does it feel in your body to be there? Who is with you?
This doesn’t have to be your answer forever and always — just for right now–what sounds like the most relaxing situation you could possibly be there.
Then close your eyes and imagine yourself there, wherever it may be.
Because your brain can’t perceive a difference between real and imagined relaxation, you can enjoy a truly restorative mini vacation even if you can’t hop a flight or take time off.
Let’s all go relax together, separately and in our own homes, ha.