Get Alone Time (But Not Too Much)

Relax


If you’re a busy person, you go throughout your day in constant stimulation mode. All the sounds, smells and sights you experience throughout the day tax your nervous system. Each conversation or interaction you have with another person depletes your energy just a little bit.

By the end of the day, you might feel exhausted. Many times, taking some “me time” can be the most restorative and relaxing way to counteract a busy and stimulating day.

It’s important to get alone time so you can be alone with your thoughts, calm your body and destress. Alone time allows you the freedom to spend your moments as you wish in a space that’s absent of the demands of other people.

Chronic stress is linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re constantly surrounded by other people, taking time (even if it’s just 5 minutes) every day can help reduce your stress and your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet, too much solitude can be a bad thing. Time spent in solitude has been linked with increases in the stress hormone cortisol. Lack of social engagement and support is linked with an increased risk for dementia. Spending time connecting with others keeps your brain’s neurons firing and increases the production of hormones that prevent depression.

Feel free to enjoy your alone time, but if you start feeling lonely, it’s time to re-engage with friends, family or coworkers. Loneliness itself is linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. It can be tricky to find the right balance of alone time and socialization. If you’re not sure how, remember that alone time doesn’t have to be truly alone. You can take time to yourself while sitting in a coffee shop or walking through a garden. Finding personal time in an ambient space can help you find solitude without the risks of isolation.

References

  • Holwerda, T. J., Deeg, D. J. H., Beekman, A. T. F., van Tilburg, T. G., Stek, M. L., Jonker, C., & Schoevers, R. A. (2014). Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia onset: results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL). Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 85(2), 135–142. do: 10.1136/jnnp-2012-302755
  • Long, C. R., & Averill, J. R. (2003). Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 33(1), 21–44. doi: 10.1111/1468-5914.00204
  • Matias, G. P., Nicolson, N. A., & Freire, T. (2011). Matias, G. P., Nicolson, N. A., & Freire, T. (2011). Solitude and cortisol: associations with state and trait affect in daily life. Biological Psychology, 86(3), 314–319. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.12.011