By Mariel Uyquiengco
Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. – Paul Tillich
In youth, most of us craved the company of friends, going out on all hours and filling our days with activities. Being alone was somehow always equated with being lonely, and alone time was not actively sought.
Being alone with our thoughts, however, is healthy and should be given priority no matter our age and personal circumstance. It’s called solitude. It allows us to unwind, to recharge, to discover ourselves and form our own thoughts without outside influence. More importantly, solitude re-energizes us, enabling us to give more of ourselves in what we do. As an effect, it boosts and enriches our relationships with others.
It is ironic then that it is when we become parents and much time is demanded of us that we suddenly see the value of alone time. Though it seems hard to come by, me time for moms should be actively given time in between changing diapers, preparing meals, and working in or out of the home.
Here are some ways to find some alone time.
Reserve and respect your daily alone time
Carve out your own daily alone time and respect it. Some wake up earlier than the rest of the household to pray, meditate, or have their first cup of coffee. Some wait for everyone to go to bed to relish the stillness of their home.
If you can manage it, squeezing in some me time in the middle of your busyness during the day can give you a much-needed break. Reserve at least one hour that absolutely no one is allowed to disturb you for you to do your thing: read, craft, watch a movie, etc.
Close the door
Moms are notorious for taking a shower or using the toilet with someone intently watching them – their little ones. So be it your bedroom, bathroom, or laundry room, close the door!
A 10-minute break can feel like a great deal when you’re in the midst of a busy day. Taking a catnap, reading a magazine, or drinking a steaming cup of tea by your lonesome is going to be awesome.
Running errands is a form of me time for moms, especially on those days that everything seems to be going wrong. Some actually relish doing the mundane like lining up at the bank, wandering around the grocery aisles, or taking the car to the carwash.
If you want more me time on those errand days though, you can do everything quickly and squeeze in a few relaxed minutes in your favorite coffee shop. People-watching is therapeutic so you just need yourself and your cuppa.
Going to the salon on your own is a relaxing activity. You don’t need to chat with your friend over the loud buzzing of hair dryers. You don’t need to do anything, too, other than sit and be pampered.
Nail salons and spas are a good destination for moms in need of a good alone time. A manicure, pedicure, and a massage are the height of self-pampering.
It is important to note that when you decide to have your alone time, you really should be alone. Scrolling through your Facebook timeline and leaving comments here and there will not give you time to think and re-charge.
Unplug yourself from social media and leave your gadgets alone whether you are having your me-time at home or outside. Observe your surroundings and the people around you. Empty your mind, disengage, and enjoy your own company.
Parents who are busy attending to work, home, and kids will benefit much from having a dedicated alone time to unwind, recharge, and re-energize. Inside or outside the home, 10-minutes or 2 hours, any time spent with one’s own self is time well spent.
Mariel Uyquiengco hopes to inspire parents to be their children’s first and best teacher. She does this through her blog and online children’s book shop www.thelearningbasket.com and by giving parenting seminars about early childhood development, preschool homeschool, and raising children to be readers.