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How To Schedule In You-Time…Before The Holidays Hit

How To Schedule In You-Time…Before The Holidays Hit

What happens when you plan ahead and build you-time into your schedule? Mental health support, opportunity for intentional reflection and a creativity boost are just a few of the outcomes you might experience.

November 02, 2022 by Henny Rau

Spending quality time with yourself is essential to your wholeness, but it has become somewhat of a lost art in a culture that prioritizes productivity over presence. We all fall in different places on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, but no matter where you land, there’s no doubt that we all need alone time to maintain our optimal wellness - and our sanity. Especially as the holiday season rolls around, get a head start on ensuring that solo time is built into your schedule before the holidays hit.


Why is solo time so important?


Solo time gives you a moment to decompress and unwind.

And most importantly - solo time gives you the opportunity to rest. It’s a self-care practice. Especially if your holiday season includes additional social commitments, whether those are work parties or family gatherings, nothing provides a rejuvenating breath of fresh air like a few hours alone after an intense or stimulating social setting. 


Solo time provides a creativity boost.

Some days creativity comes naturally and with ease, and others it feels distant and challenging to tap into. Oftentimes, creativity is blocked by mental clutter or built up emotions - both of which often require time alone to move through. When you spend intentional solo time to slow down and process stuck emotions or repetitive thoughts, you create mental space for a spark of your creative instincts. In addition, a break from social stimulation gives your brain space to increase creative pathways (Very Well Mind, 2021).


Your mental health depends on solo time.

Studies show that time spent alone leads to improved stress management, lower rates of depression and higher overall life satisfaction (Forbes, 2017). An hour of doing nothing (yes, nothing) gives your nervous system a much needed break. It is the shangri-la for an overwhelmed body + mind, providing a respite from the stressors that accompany social interactions and expectations. Intentionally spent solo time (away from your phone and other distractions) also supports you in building mental strength, as it allows the time to sit with thoughts and emotions that arise.


Solitude provides the opportunity for intentional and introspective reflection.

Time alone gives you time to catch up with you. Especially during holiday socials or gatherings, it gives you time to take inventory of present emotions and to reflect on both hard conversations and empowering moments. In addition, the new year is right around the corner (crazy, we know), and your alone time is the perfect time to reflect on the past year - taking note of lessons learned, wisdom embodied, proud moments and sweet memories. Self reflection is the key to increased self-awareness.



How to build you-time into your schedule… pre-holiday chaos


Create a daily ritual that you practice alone.

This could be 10 minutes of meditation, journaling, listening to music or sitting outside listening to the birds. Whatever it is, protect it as a time of solitude. Maybe this means waking up or going to bed 10 minutes earlier. You deserve it. Just 10 minutes - everything else can wait. 


Set boundaries.

This one is especially important during the holidays. Getting clear on your boundaries and equips you with the freedom and support to prioritize you. Maybe this looks like putting your phone on do-not-disturb, expressing your needs with your partner and/or children, or communicating your capacity with your team at work.


Practice single-tasking! 

Use this to practice presence during your me-time. (See also: The Pros and Cons of Multitasking)


Take yourself on a weekly or bi-weekly solo date

Put this down in your calendar. And then - think outside the box! Go to an art exhibit, have a picnic in the park, explore a new part of town alone, make a fun new recipe…


Learn how to be alone together with family or friends.

You-time doesn’t always have to be spent completely alone. There is beauty and power in sharing space with people you love while doing your own thing - whether that’s reading or laying by the fire.

Helen Rau
Author

Henny Rau

Henny is a Cardiff, California-based writer. When not writing or sipping on Clevr, you can find her paddling into waves, exploring trails in the backcountry or cooking a meal with friends.

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