Just me, myself and I

Nurturing

SOME ME TIME If you find yourself constantly around others and feeling depleted, make sure to schedule some healthy alone time. Pic: istock

Mental Health
Jannah Walshe

We are now more in contact with others than ever before. It is possible to connect with someone anywhere in the world at any time. We travel more freely, socialise more than ever and have multiple devices to help us connect through messages, video calls and social media.
As a result of this we can feel like we have to be available 24/7. However, all of this constant contact can be downright exhausting, unnecessary and bad for our mental health. The antidote to this is simple in theory but not so much in practice - to disconnect and have good quality alone time.
Too much isolation can have a negative impact on both one’s physical and mental health. Loneliness is not the same as choosing to have some alone time. As social animals we need a certain amount of connection with others but we also need the opposite, time on our own, away from others and with no distractions.
Take a few moments and evaluate your current life. Are you always available, busy and surrounded by people? Or is it the opposite, where you feel isolated, find it difficult to reach out to others and with too much time alone? Look at where you need to connect or disconnect. People are often encouraged to connect more and there can be a social stigma around switching off and getting away. This can make us apprehensive about taking time on our own. We can worry about been judged or seen as weird for even wanting it. But it is a priority for our mental wellbeing that we get time alone and away from all the stresses of the world around us.
If you find yourself constantly around others and feeling depleted, make sure to schedule some healthy alone time. This time alone allows our brains to recharge and focus, allows us to be more productive because we have less distractions, boosts creativity, strengthens relationships with others, and allows us to feel more present and mindful.
Getting started seems easy because all that’s needed is yourself. Unfortunately it is not always so straight forward. Firstly we need to be able to find the time. Then we need to not feel guilty for taking it. We might feel the need to justify/explain it to others. We may be judged by others. And finally we may not like our own company or the feelings that come up. But despite all these obstacles the benefits are worth persevering for.
The freedom of not having to follow the lead of others, with no pressure to do anything, to talk to anyone, or to make plans with people is a great way to unwind and destress. It also will help you to discover new interests and ideas without having to worry about feeling self-conscious or the opinions of others.
Above all, the most important step in being able to reap the benefits of time alone is making yourself your first choice - the most important thing in that moment in time and taking the opportunity to give back to yourself.

Jannah Walshe is a fully accredited psychotherapist, course facilitator and mental-health speaker based in Co Mayo. More information about Jannah can be found at www.jannahwalshe.ie.