In the Costa Rican culture, alone time may not necessarily be frowned upon but is often rare, especially in the Guanacaste province and in other rural areas of the country. Here, it’s less common for people to live alone or even to do errands alone. But did you know that spending time alone may actually be good for you?
Many of us are uncomfortable claiming time alone for self-care or relaxation, either because we fear being “alone” or we are too busy with work, school, family life and friends. Being alone may also pose a safety risk, especially for women. Although most of the “cat calls” and luring gestures in the Latin American culture are harmless, a single female is an easy target for someone who is looking to either take advantage or cause physical harm.
When safety risks are assessed and spending time alone is plausible, finding the courage or the time to break away and disconnect may be an important boost to your emotional health and well-being. When we are alone, we receive a break from the judgments and pressures put on us by others. We learn to rely on ourselves and make our own decisions, which gives us a higher sense of purpose and self-worth. When we breakaway, even for short periods, to replenish, renew, and focus, ultimately we are rewarded with more energy, perspective and confidence.
But without practice or skill, it can be intimidating to “just be.” Within the moments of solitude, doubts or worries are likely to arise because we focus inward rather than outward. But once we let those worries go, while staying present in the moment, in the details of our surroundings, we gain focus, clarity and learn how to cope better with our ever shifting moods and emotions.
4 Keys to Getting the Most of out of Alone Time
1. Take Short Breaks Alone: taking time out each day for solitude, even some time during the morning or at lunch, to reconnect with the self is beneficial.
2. Turn off the TV and Limit Distractions: Shutting off the TV, radio and limiting time texting and talking on your cell phone will help you free up time for reflective solitude.
3. Reach Out for Help: Allow family members or friends to help out with important responsibilities such as caring for children or seniors so you have a mini-escape to take a yoga or exercise class, head out to the beach or go for a walk.
4. Cherish Your Time Alone: meditate in order to access your inner strength. Work on self-forgiveness and letting go of judgments and fears by expressing gratitude for the positive aspects of your life, which will help you improve your mood and your overall quality of life.