Most of us understand the importance of taking time for ourselves in order to preserve our energy and our sanity. Unfortunately, like other bodily cravings such as hunger and thirst, by the time we receive the message that we desperately need some alone time, it’s a little too late. Irritability, anxiety and other actual physical signs of discomfort are all signals to take 10— or more, depending on your lifestyle. Women and couples with children are often the greatest victims.
Taking personal time is crucial to your overall health and well-being. Today, solitude is virtually non-existent. We are constantly connected. Even if we connect in seemingly healthy ways, like checking in on a loved one or sending a quick text to an old friend, we can’t step away. We can’t set the phone aside. Sure, looking at Instagram might be pleasant or inspiring, but what about the book or magazine that has been laying on your coffee table for months? I personally find myself completely zoned out, staring into my phone, much more often than I would like to admit. It seems to be getting worse as our opportunities for distraction grow.
Our minds, our brains, just like any other muscle in our body, need to rest and reboot. This is how creativity comes in fresh, how we focus effectively, and to revitalize ourselves so that we can succeed at whatever we need to do. Companies often don’t understand this. You do not maximize the potential of employees by forcing them to work. If everyone can take a minute when they need a moment alone, productivity in the work place would increase. Solitude is proven to help improve concentration and increase productivity. When we spend time alone and disconnect, we can think things through more effectively and find our own voice, to understand things in our own perception, and not be influenced by others. I typically work solo, and I find that stepping away from the computer and lying in the sun for just ten minutes, wakes me up and I am able to do everything faster, and better.
Taking time for yourself allows you to think more deeply. Chatting with a friend on the phone doesn’t count. We are talking about real time for yourself with no voices and no noise. Thirty years ago when you went on a run the phone didn’t come with you. Instead, you thought and processed things for yourself. We are running an experiment on the human race right now with knowledge at the tip of our finger tips. We no longer need to retain as much information, or think things through as deeply or as thoroughly—we can google it. This seems to be a bit of a scary proposition for our mental health.
And of course taking the right amount of time for yourself and properly disconnecting, ultimately helps improve and preserve your relationships with others. How many times have you gone to a dinner where someone is constantly checking their phone? What is this? It isn’t proper personal connection, nor is it healthy disconnection—it’s purely distraction.
We spend all of this time researching, googling, and phone flipping to learn how to better ourselves—how to preserve ourselves and our health. The irony is profound, wouldn’t you agree?