Alone time – it’s one of my favorite things. As an introvert, I don’t just enjoy it – I actually need time alone to process and recharge. Don’t get me wrong – I love people! But I don’t function well if I have to ‘on’ all of the time. I know I’m not the only one.
I did pretty well with finding alone time in my life until I became a parent. We had our two daughters just 13 months apart – which meant that for a couple of years just using the bathroom alone was a luxury. When they were two and three years old we moved into a 26 foot camper for several months, and have lived in a pretty small house since then. To top it all off, our oldest is very extroverted, and hates to ever be alone. In order to survive, I had to learn creative ways to recharge in seasons when I was rarely – if ever alone.
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Creative ways to find alone time when you’re never alone:
Find alone time in the fringe hours of your day.
I’ve found that the most reliable places to find alone time are in the wee hours of the morning, and the last few minutes of the day. Even if I have to trade a bit of sleep for a few minutes of alone time – it’s totally worth it! Sleep is really important. But I’ve found that once I recharge a little bit, I sleep better. It’s all about balance.
Make the alone time you do get count.
When you do find a few moments to yourself, don’t waste them. Do something that refreshes your spirit. For me that looks like reading a few pages of a good book, enjoying the beauty of nature, or even just sitting quietly for a bit. Whatever it looks like for you, take this chance to feed your soul.
Use headphones to create the feeling of alone time, even when you’re not alone.
I learned this trick when my girls were toddlers and I was desperate for a moment of peace. I put up baby gates to barricade us in the living room, and turned the tv to a toddler cartoon. Then I’d pop my headphones in and listen to soft music or the sound of crashing waves. I was able to visually supervise and make sure they were safe, and still have mental space to refresh and recharge. I use these inexpensive earbuds everywhere – in a noisy coffee shop, on the treadmill at the gym, and at home – to give me the feeling of alone time, even when I’m not alone.
There are some really great white noise apps out there that will turn your phone + headphones into a mini spa retreat. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, there are some awesome options on Prime music – I love listening to albums like these. Not an Amazon Prime member? Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Learn how to take advantage of the little slices of alone time.
I think many times we miss moments of alone time, because we’re so busy trying to get things done. But when I focus on savoring the time I do get, I’m actually more productive the rest of the time. Be intentional about taking time to recharge, even if it just means stopping to stare out the window for a bit before naptime is over, or getting lost in a good book at the end of the day. Give yourself permission to pause and soak it in.
Find the balance between being present and caring for your own soul.
There are so many distractions out there, that we all need a reminder to be present in our own lives. Especially as parents, it’s easy to get lost in the online world and ignore the ones that mean the most to us. BUT, it’s also important to care for your own soul. Don’t feel guilty for intentionally making room for alone time, whether it’s arranging for a few hours away, or using the tv to babysit while you pop in some headphones.
Related: How to Make Time for Self Care
At the end of the day, you might not get the amount of alone time that you want.
Some seasons of life are just like that. But you can choose to make the most of the alone time (or almost-alone time) that you do get. You might find, like I did, that even small slices of alone time will help in getting you through a challenging time.
What are YOUR best tips for finding alone time in seasons where you’re almost never alone? Please share in the comments below!
Jamie writes about living intentionally and finding beauty and perspective in the adventures of everyday life. When she’s not writing, she’s living her own adventures – working full time at an ER registration desk, parenting two spicy girls, and collaborating with her husband on the remodel of a former one-room schoolhouse on their homestead in rural Wisconsin.