PSYCHE CENTRAL: Make 'YOU' a priority

PSYCHE CENTRAL: Make YOU a priority

In today's hectic world, it is imperative that we manage our time well so that we spare ourselves the oppressiveness of incomplete tasks and activities.

By Dr Samineh I. Shaheem

Published: Fri 13 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 13 May 2016, 2:00 AM

We need solitude, because when we're alone, we're free from obligations, we don't need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts." - Tamim Ansary, author
Most of us don't consider spending time alone as important for our wellbeing as proper eating and sleeping habits. When we're surrounded by other people, aspects of their character or identity can influence our thoughts, moods, and opinions. Alone time, therefore, allows us to regroup and reboot our psychological system - and help us feel more whole and less fragmented.
Unfortunately, this much-needed break doesn't just happen; it really needs to be scheduled in. What I mean is that we need to make a conscious effort to schedule some 'me-time' for ourselves. In order to reap the benefits of solitude, this period should be spent on the three Rs: reflecting, relaxing and realising - not running errands.
In today's hectic world, it is imperative that we manage our time well so that we spare ourselves the oppressiveness of incomplete tasks and activities. These psychological monsters often haunt us and make us feel guilty about 'me-time', so the first thing to do is to manage your time and assignments effectively so that you clear your schedule. On the other hand, doing nothing actually replenishes our energies so that we're able to be even more productive; in other words, there's no such thing as wasted time. It would do us well to think of it as rejuvenation time instead.
You can begin spending time alone by taking an inventory of the last time you did something you love, in solitude. This will help you recognise the desire for that activity and hopefully invite you to put aside some time to nourish your mind, soul and spirit.
The benefits of spending time alone include remembering who you are, what your values are, improved concentration and productivity, enhanced creativity, as well as arriving at solutions to issues that you had shelved or repressed due to a lack of time to sort them out. Furthermore, we compromise our own desires quite frequently and, of course, that's necessary in order for us to create and sustain meaningful relationships. Alone time, however, allows us to indulge ourselves with the things we love, without having to negotiate.
Everyone needs to discover how to reconnect with themselves in a meaningful way. For some, it may mean taking a walk; for others, it could be reading a book, taking a long bath, sitting on the balcony or watching TV. Just remember to switch off your phone and avoid being sucked into the Internet, which can actually be quite exhausting.
We all need alone time. However, people who are more introverted can't survive without it. Since they're quite independent, they place a great deal of emphasis on personal freedom and autonomy. They're energised by their inner world and it is only through regularly engaging in the 3 Rs can they feel ready to face the world again.
'Me-time' is a way to unwind and send your mind on a mini vacation. It lets you shelve issues related to your friends and colleagues and feel at ease with yourself. Another advantage is that it helps you enjoy time spent with others better, since you're able to interact with them with a clearer, refreshed mind, rather than a cluttered and overwhelmed sense of self. This should be a welcomed change of pace that has many benefits. Remember: being alone doesn't have to mean that you're lonely. As Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, once said, "A little solitude in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you."
 Dr Samineh I. Shaheem is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Learning & Development Specialist. Please forward your thoughts/ suggestions for future articles to & follow her on Twitter @saminehshaheem or Instagram @wellbeing.psychology.awake 

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