I stood in a room completely full…. from wall to wall and every vacancy of space in between. Although the room was full, I felt empty and strangely alone. I was overwhelmed with the desire to back out, run to my car and exit the city as quickly as I entered (well, let’s be honest - entering Seattle “quickly” isn’t ever a thing).
My body was pulsing with waves of heat and I truly just wanted to cry. I had been go-go-go for weeks, around people non-stop, it was the holidays, and I was hitting my max. I needed to be left alone, and clearly my insides were screaming just that.
I needed some solitude.
S O L I T U D E : the situation of being alone without other people
People often believe that acts of solitude are due in part to depression, loneliness, or sadness. What they don’t realize is that SOLITUDE has so many benefits when practiced routinely and in the right settings.
Conversations around meditation practices and solitude are growing rapidly as society is experiencing its healing affects. We are saturated daily with an insane amount of information and our brains weren’t created to withstand the amount it’s trying to process. Did you know that our brains are only able to maintain about 150 stable relationships? “But I have 102,000 ‘friends’ on Instagram!” Cool, that seems totally manageable.
As a recovering extra-extra-extrovert, I have found that making time to be quiet in my thoughts, or wake up early before everyone else in order to make space for my alone time has been hugely therapeutic. My bouts of anxiety have decreased and I find myself living more in each moment rather than constantly chasing my worry in to the uncontrollable future, or writing value on how busy I am.
Benefits of a solitude practice include //
Lower blood pressure and cortisol levels
Focus and clarity
Reduced stress and anxiety
Goal accomplishment and better productivity
The chance to reset the head and heart
If you’re searching for a way to transition from the “busy syndrome” to a more meaningful day to day and incorporate quality time just you and your mind, let me offer you some self-loving kindness by suggesting the following ways to PRACTICE SOLITUDE:
First, determine best time of day and space that allows for no distractions. Don’t give up if, the first couple of times you introduce your solitude practice, your mind wanders. Keep showing up for yourself!
GO FLOAT // Float therapy is one of THE best forms of solitude in its purest form of seclusion. Floating has SO many benefits for healing and relieving stress. I’ve written about floating in a prior post and talk about it often. I love that I am closing myself in to a secluded quiet solo space where, for an hour, I have no commitments other than to myself. I cannot be distracted by any surroundings, I am completely at peace in my own body and mind. The only thing I have to do is practice my breath.
WAKE UP EARLY or SET ASIDE EVENING TIME // Beginning or end of day can be most beneficial for:
Devotions/time with God
Sitting in silence, while sipping your morning beverage
Gratitude practice and setting goals without distractions
GO FOR A WALK OR RUN // Walking or running is such a great endorphin high and helps with relief of stress/anxiety/depression. Along with these known benefits, going for a solo walk/run allows you to breath in the fresh air, clear your mind, and maybe even have a conversation with yourself..… talk some stuff out.
ESCAPE // Maybe you’re in need of not just an hour or two of solitude, but rather a full 24+ hours to get clear and reboot. This could be a full day away on a hike or road trip, a night away in a quiet small town where you can move leisurely about your own pace.
There is no time better spent than with your self. To better serve those around you, you first need to serve your own needs. Just making space for 20-30 minutes a day to practice solitude can be the shift you need to reset and be inspired to create and pursue.