Introverts need alone time to recharge, boost creativity, and feel more in touch with themselves and the world around them.
It was a Sunday night. My son was out of the house. I had no social obligations, and no work to catch up on. I finally had hours — hours! — all to myself. An introvert’s dream. And I had plans for that alone time — big plans. Maybe I’d read the old pulp sci-fi book my friend loaned me. Maybe I’d make a nice pasta and watch a movie. Or maybe I’d play music and draw in my sketchbook.
But first, I figured, let me scroll through a few TikToks…
Just a few…
Well, a few led to a lot. A lot led to a rabbit hole. I kept scrolling until I felt hungry and tired and looked up and realized it was nearly bedtime. All of my precious alone time was wasted. Gone! And did I feel recharged? No. I felt tired, stupid, and guilty. I felt like a kid who had broken their brand new toy.
I think a lot of us introverts end up in this position, so I set out to change it. How? Well, here are some of the tools I’ve found useful in my own life that help turn my alone time into quality time — starting with a change in perspective.
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Why Alone Time Matters to Introverts
Before we dive into specific tips, it’s important to understand what alone time means to you. Of course, alone time is essential for all introverts to recharge and process the events of the day. But alone time can take many forms, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or meditating.
What’s important is you identify what alone time looks like for you and prioritize it in your daily routine. Simply having a clear sense of what you want to get out of your alone time — and how you want to feel after it — can help change the way you use it.
It also helps to think through what good alone time looks like to you. Personally, I love going on a walk outside alone, either with a podcast or just my thoughts. Other introverts would want to stay inside reading or working on a craft, while others would want to do absolutely nothing at all — not even music. Whatever your preference, make a mental (or physical) list of what types of activities recharge your batteries.
Once you’ve got this clear, it can be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with loved ones. Talk to them about your need for alone time. Explain why it’s important to you and how it helps you recharge and feel more balanced. This can help them understand and respect your boundaries, and may even encourage them to prioritize their own alone time.
Then, once you have their support, you can start to put some tools into place to make sure you get the most out of it.
5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Alone Time
1. Create a daily routine.
Creating a daily routine can help you make the most of your alone time by giving you structure and purpose. Research shows that routines help establish healthy habits, reduce stress, and increase productivity. For introverts, a routine can also provide a sense of comfort and predictability, making it easier to manage social interactions and daily stressors.
Here are some ways you can create routines:
- Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning and allow yourself 20 minutes to read a book before getting up.
- Instead of promising yourself to take a mid-day walk, add it to your calendar to do over your lunch break.
- Put a visible reminder, such as a note, somewhere that will prompt you to stick to a new routine. For example, if you want to journal each night before bed, put a sticky note somewhere you know you’ll be after dinner — on the dishwasher or in the snack cabinet, for example. (Don’t put it on your pillow, though. By the time you reach your bed, you’ll be too tired for a new routine!)
2. Limit social media and screen time.
While technology can be a useful tool for introverts, it can also be a significant source of distraction and overwhelm. Social media, in particular, can be a rabbit hole that consumes hours of your time without providing any real value. This is because most social media is “gamified” to incentivize you to keep engaging. For example, the screen will show you how many notifications or unread messages you have at all times, so you feel compelled to check them. Or, the feed will be an infinite scroll setup, so you’re always ready to scroll to “just one more post.”
So, to make the most of your alone time, consider limiting your screen time and social media use. How? Well, one way to do this is by setting a time limit for yourself when you hop on. I like to use the timer on my phone to give myself six or 10 minutes on TikTok, for example. You can also set a daily alarm clock on your phone to alert you two hours before bedtime, so you know to get off social media (or to stop watching TV) at that time.
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3. Practice mindfulness, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Mindfulness is a practice that involves being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It’s often extolled as a way to relieve stress or improve concentration or mental health, and those are all true.
One overlooked benefit of mindfulness meditation is what happens after you finish meditating. This state of mindfulness tends to “seep in” and stay with you throughout your day — especially if you meditate every day. So you find yourself more easily saying no to temptations and being more purposeful in how you use your alone time, even after the meditation is over.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. In theory, you can also practice mindfulness in everyday activities, like walking, cooking, or cleaning — but I would view those as “advanced” practices, in the sense that you won’t stay very mindful during them if you aren’t also meditating regularly.
I recommend at least starting with an in-person meditation class with an experienced instructor. Yes, it means going out (ugh!) to somewhere with people (gah!), but you’ll be much more likely to establish a practice you can stick to. (And most meditation classes are extremely introvert-oriented.)
4. Take solo trips to new places, both near and far.
Solo trips can be an incredible way for introverts to explore new places, as well as recharge. Traveling alone allows you to move at your own pace, avoid social interactions when you need to, and take time to reflect and recharge. It can also be an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.
If you’re hesitant about traveling alone, start small by taking a day trip or weekend getaway (or try these tips). You can also join a group tour that caters to solo travelers, which can provide opportunities to meet like-minded people without the pressure of socializing 24/7. In addition, try going someplace local, and then you can build up to traveling further from home.
5. Create a cozy space in your home that’s dedicated to alone time.
Creating a cozy space in your home can help you make the most of your alone time by providing a comfortable and relaxing environment. This could mean adding soft blankets, pillows, and candles to your bedroom, or creating a reading nook in a quiet corner of your living room. Having a designated space where you feel comfortable and at ease can make all the difference in how you spend your time alone.
In addition to providing a relaxing environment, creating an “introvert zen zone” can also help you cultivate a sense of sanctuary and peace within your home. As an introvert, having a space that feels safe and secure can be especially important for your well-being. This space can also be a reminder to prioritize your alone time.
Creating a comfy space doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Simple touches like adding a few plants, string lights, or a favorite piece of artwork can make a big difference in how a space feels. The key is to focus on creating an area that feels comfortable, inviting, and reflective of your personal style. If you live with others, let them know that it’s your personal sanctuary and may be off-limits to them (at least while you’re in it).
Remember, taking time alone is a necessary part of self-care and helps introverts feel more energized, creative, and connected to themselves, as well as the world around them. So embrace your alone time and make the most of it — you deserve it.
You might like:
- 9 Signs You Need Some Alone Time as an Introvert
- Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time Alone as an Introvert
- 5 Simple Ways for Introverts to Get More Healthy Alone Time
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