Have you taken time today for yourself?

Being alone by ourselves is a great challenge these days. Many things, activities and preoccupations can rob us of our “me” time. Busyness can rob us of “me” time. Being alone is time to turn off the cell phone, disconnect the computer, and ignore the television…But this is the time we most need each day! A time for reflection, meditation, a time to pause and think, to pause and refuel, to pause and plan.

Technology can rob us of our “me” time. The daily social media usage worldwide is up to 2 hours daily. Around 10% of US adults used social media in 2005, but now it is reaching 80%. Studies indicate that being the most connected people in history does very little to improve our wellbeing, and does not discourage depression. Studies indicate that lack of solitude inhibits the creative abilities.

Psychologist Elizabeth Waterman, who specializes in online addiction, says it's social media apps that leave people most vulnerable to addiction. This has become a huge challenge today: to limit the use of social media. Sadly, the social media gives us the illusion of solving our loneliness and disconnects us from ourselves... and yes, it disconnects us from others.

It is generally harder for women to take “me” time due to the expectations of needing to be taking care of others, which is why, when they have free time, they spend it mostly catching on their responsibilities. Men usually find it easier because it is more socially accepted that they watch television, have a hobby, or take time off.

Even couples require “me” time. “Private time for spouses enhances marriages,” writes Dr. Douglas Sprenkle, director of the doctoral program in marriage and family therapy at Purdue University. ''Couples are less critical and irritable after each mate has had some time to do something he or she enjoys,'' he said. And we also need solitude from members of our family and friends.

Solitude can be difficult to achieve. We are afraid of ourselves and what we fear to find inside! Solitude will help you become more comfortable with whom and what you are… it gives you the opportunity to explore your deep longings and desires; it is time to refuel your life.

Our best thoughts and decisions are made in solitude. When we realize how enmeshed we are with so many external activities that push and pull for our time, we can observe how easily we can get lost in “things” and “others” and forget that we are first individuals needing space and quiet. We discover how quickly we have attached ourselves to the “outer”, forgetting the “inner”. In solitude we learn how to read, how to reflect, how to write, how to enrich our lives. In solitude we bare open our lives to grow, to learn and to discover.

“Solitude is a positive state, not to be confused with loneliness, which is a negative one, in which your mind and body are truly free. Taking these respites for yourself are known to refresh you, leading to increased productivity, calm you and contribute to enhanced feelings of freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality,” writes Hale Dwoskin.

A time of solitude can be a quick walk, time to work on your garden, a few minutes in your office, watching the stars, even taking time when you are surrounded by people; this is what will enhance your life.

Take solitude as a great gift to yourself!

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