5 Simple Ways for Introverts to Get More Healthy Alone Time

An introvert reads on a park bench

It’s not always possible to carve out large chunks of time for yourself, but there are often little pockets of time that you can use to recharge.

I used to be a pushover. If someone invited me out, I’d go. If they called, I’d answer. If they texted and asked for advice, I’d drop whatever I was doing (or blissfully not doing) and start the back-and-forth message game. Even if I didn’t want to. 

Why? Because I was worried about being rude. Worried I’d hurt someone’s feelings. Worried that if I said no to social things, people would think I was aloof, or unfriendly, or even didn’t like them. 

So I never got enough alone time, and that took a real toll, because I’m an introvert. Having time alone is essential to my well-being. It’s how I recharge and do my best thinking. It’s a key part of my happiness. Like all introverts, I need alone time to be at my best — and, like most of us, I’m not getting nearly enough of it.

(Here’s the science behind why introverts love — and need — alone time.)

Fortunately, there are ways to create space for yourself, even when time is limited. Here are five things you can do when you can’t seem to get enough alone time.

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5 Simple Ways to Get More Alone Time

1. Take advantage of small moments throughout the day.

It may not be possible to carve out large chunks of time for yourself, but there are often little pockets of time that you can use to recharge. For example, you could wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual to have some quiet time before the day begins. Or you could take a few moments during your lunch break to read a book or meditate. Even a few minutes of alone time can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health.

In addition to waking up a bit earlier or taking a few minutes during your lunch break, there are many other small moments throughout the day that you can take advantage of. For instance, when you’re commuting to work or running errands, you can use that time to listen to music or a podcast that you enjoy. If you’re waiting in line or sitting in a waiting room, you could use that time to do a quick mindfulness exercise or simply take some deep breaths.

2. Set boundaries around your time, which will help you prioritize your needs.

Another way to create more alone time is to set boundaries with others. It can be challenging to say no to requests from friends or family, but sometimes it’s necessary to prioritize your own needs. 

For instance, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some time alone, tell your friends you can’t hang out tonight and need to stay in. Or if your partner is always interrupting your alone time, ask them to give you a certain amount of uninterrupted time each day. 

Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable, but it’s essential for your mental health, especially in terms of getting some “me time.” When setting boundaries, be clear and direct. Instead of beating around the bush or making excuses, be honest about what you need and why it’s important to you. Say something like, “I need some alone time tonight to recharge, but let’s plan something for another night.” Or, “I would appreciate it if you could give me some uninterrupted time for the next hour, as I need to focus on myself.” 

One of my personal favorites is to let people know when you first arrive at an event: “Just letting you know that I’m an introvert, so I’ll run out of battery in an hour or two and head out. I’m really excited to be here though!” This sets the expectation right off the bat that you will protect your time and needs.

As important as boundaries are, however, it’s also important to set them with realistic expectations. While it’s good to prioritize your own needs, it’s also essential to be flexible and understanding of others’ needs. For example, if your friend asks to hang out but you need some quiet time, you could suggest a compromise, such as going for a walk together instead of hanging out in a loud restaurant.

3. Practice self-care — and make it a habit.

Self-care can be an effective way to get some alone time. Self-care activities can range from taking a relaxing bath to going for a walk in nature. The key is to find activities you enjoy and that help you relax and recharge. 

Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming either. Even taking five minutes to do some deep breathing exercises or stretching can make a big difference.

In my view, however, there is one activity that is especially beneficial and easy to stick to — a low-impact workout routine. You can go to the gym (in an introvert-friendly way) or exercise at home. This includes things like an elliptical or exercise bike, or a yoga routine. These activities are ideal because they allow you to do something mentally satisfying, like listening to a podcast, at the same time you work out.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

4. Create a designated space for your quiet time.

Whether it’s a cozy corner in your home — your own “introvert zen zone” — or a spot in nature that you love, having a designated area just for you can make it easier to prioritize time alone. Be sure to make this space comfortable and inviting; that way, you’re more likely to use it. For example, you can set up a meditation cushion or comfortable chair in your designated space, along with comfy pillows and soothing candles. You could also add plants or other natural elements to help create a sense of calm.

Having a space that is just for you can also help you feel more in control of your time and your mental and emotional well-being, as well as help you establish healthy boundaries with others. By designating a specific space for alone time, you communicate to others that this time is important to you and you need to be left alone while you’re there.

5. Use technology to your advantage, such as podcasts and meditation apps.

While technology can be a source of stress and distraction (hello, social media!), it can also be a good way to connect with yourself and find some peace. 

For instance, a variety of apps and tools can help you meditate, relax, and unwind. Try a guided meditation app, like Headspace, Insight Timer, or Calm. Calm will even send you a reminder to pause and recenter yourself. Or, use a journaling app, like Day One, to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. When you use technology in a mindful way, you create more space for yourself in your busy life — and maximize your alone time in the process.

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