5 benefits of solitude and why you need it for your mental health

The social stigma about being single is rampant. For many people, being alone is something they avoid because it looks like loneliness on the surface. And no one wants to be mistaken for being single. But solitude and solitude are not the same. Loneliness is characterized by negative emotions that can sabotage your self-esteem and happiness. Loneliness replenishes you.

Solitude is a peaceful time for self-reflection and recharging. Let’s dig into why solitude is good for your mental health and why you should make it a priority.

What is loneliness?

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In its simplest form, solitude is spending time alone without feeling lonely. Your company is enough to meet your needs. Loneliness is something you choose because you value your time and energy. Think of it as a state of peace where you have the space to reflect, process things, and nurture your overall well-being. Loneliness (to some extent) is a good thing — a necessary thing.

Signs you need some alone time

Solitude is something we all need, to varying degrees — some people need more alone time to recharge, and that’s okay. Having time alone allows us to drop all the burdens we carry and relax. Responsibilities and social expectations can be exhausting.

Here are some of the most common signs that you need alone time:

  • You are irritated by small things that you usually take away.
  • You are tired or fatigued even when you get enough sleep.
  • You feel overwhelmed and have trouble concentrating.
  • You regret plans you made that you would normally look forward to.

You don’t benefit from continuing while you’re overstimulated and exhausted.

Why it’s important to spend time alone

Let’s talk about how solitude can boost your well-being.

It allows you to know yourself

We conform to social expectations and norms when we are around others, even if we don’t consciously do so. Giving yourself time away from it takes the pressure off. Solitude allows you to be yourself without outside influences. The more time you give yourself, the more comfortable you feel with your own company.

Solitude can help you get to know yourself through self-exploration as you examine your needs, wants, and interests. You can also process things at your own pace and solve problems without being judgmental. It’s free to be yourself. When you are fully focused on yourself, you can work towards becoming the person you want to be and what you want to achieve.

Man leaning against a tree reading a book.

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You can recharge

One of the main signs that you need time alone is being short-tempered. Solitude offers an opportunity to rest and recharge without expectations from others. Recent research published in Sage Journals found that loneliness puts the nervous system into a state of “low arousal,” which allows us to feel calm and undisturbed.

You can spend your alone time however you want — reading, hiking, or taking a bubble bath. Investing in yourself and doing things you enjoy will improve your mood and yours stress levels to go down

It sparks creativity

Creativity is one of those things that everyone has, but some people don’t tap into it as often. Solitude is a tool you can use to regularly access your creativity. Studies show that being alone can help boost your creativity. Spending time alone can also improve your concentration and help you focus on tasks.

Your relationships are more meaningful

When you spend time alone, you become more aware of what the people around you bring to the table. People who regularly participate in solitude know what they can offer themselves — introspection, relaxation and self-compassion. This helps them recognize what they want and need from other people. They can make better decisions about their boundaries and the health of their relationships.

Your mental health increases

For all the above reasons, solitude complements your mental health. Loneliness makes you feel better because it gives you the space to exist without the normal expectations that come from work, family or friends.

Studies show that spending time alone and showing self-compassion can reduce anxiety and depressive thoughts. Remember that loneliness is different from loneliness. Loneliness is linked to a higher risk of depression, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

If you want to boost the mental health benefits of solitude, engage in activities such as the meditation or calendar.

read more: 6 Techniques for dealing with depression

Hiker taking a break by a lake writing in her journal.

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Tips to maximize your solitude

Sometimes, choosing to be alone can be difficult, especially with the stigma surrounding being alone and possible negative thoughts that arise when you’re not distracted by others. These things can prevent someone from taking time for themselves. But you shouldn’t.

If you’re not used to prioritizing your time alone, it can be hard to know where to start. Are you supposed to just sit there? There is no wrong way to practice solitude. Here are some jumping off points to make the most of your time.

  • Embrace solitude: Spending time alone doesn’t mean you’re alone. Developing the right mindset and distinguishing between loneliness and loneliness it will help you maximize your alone time.
  • Log out of social media: Are you focusing on yourself if you’re scrolling through an endless series of perfectly staged images? If you want the best results from your solitude, unplug as much as possible so you can focus on yourself.
  • Choose the right way to spend your time: Okay, there’s no wrong way to spend your time alone. However, there is one correctly way for you. Don’t try to fill your alone time with chores like folding the laundry or doing the dishes just because you have time. To make your solitude work for you, you should do something you enjoy, like listening to music, reading a book, or going for a walk.
  • Communicate your needs: You should feel empowered to tell family and friends about your loneliness needs. Communicate boundaries for when you won’t answer your phone and when they shouldn’t stop.

Too long? didn’t you read?

Loneliness can be intimidating. On the surface, it looks like you’re choosing loneliness, but really you’re just choosing yourself. Solitude gives you time to recharge without connecting. Try to fit some alone time into your schedule and watch your mental health flourish.

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