I love people, and I’m very social. I always considered myself an extrovert, as I always believed I thrived most in a group setting and with lots of people. However, as the years have gone by I have found myself needing to spend more time by myself to re-charge, and I’ve found now that I’m quite comfortable spending time with just me.
I first noticed wanting to be alone more after I started commuting into London. I’d never really had a long commute before (and mine’s a real doozy of up to 2 hours each way!) and when I would get home in the evenings, I needed to just sit by myself for half an hour - no talking, no doing anything, just sitting and recharging. It felt like I was shedding off all the people I had been around during my commute. The bustling crowds and stressful atmosphere could only be cured by a small voluntary solitary confinement.
I’m pretty used to commuting nowadays and don’t feel the need for my solitary confinement every night I walk in the front door. I do however, recognise that if I say yes to too many social events; I burn out. And I’ve discovered the best antidote to “burn out”, is having some good old fashion “me time”. I refer to this as “filling my well”. If i’m feeling burnt out, it’s because I’ve over committed, I’m stressed, I’m sick or all three. I’ve drained my well of my resources and energy. If I’m taking time out to relax and practice self care, I’m actively filling that baby up again.
I have been reading The Artist’s Way lately, and one of the challenges in it is to book in an “artist date”, minimum two hours weekly, where you spend time with yourself and let your inner artist roam free. Well, this sounded flipping perfect to me! I had come off the back of busy weeks and weekends since May with not much view in the future of things slowing down. [Side note: I love all my friends, family and job, and I am very grateful that I have so many activities and events to fill my days with - please don’t interpret this post as a moan fest!] I had been feeling pretty worn out and so I decided to book myself an artist date last Saturday. The planets had aligned so I had found myself with an empty house for the day, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I had a little think and asked myself, what I really wanted to do on Saturday afternoon. I have a slightly bad habit of always needing to feel productive so I really wanted to just do something for fun. I decided on taking a casual walk by the river into town and a trip to the second hand book shop. It was a lovely sunny day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my leisurely stroll and spent absolutely ages reading through and picking out a selection of second hand books. For just over a tenner, I bought a stack of art books and had a lovely afternoon out by myself. I felt completely refreshed and recharge. My well had well and truly been filled!
What I most enjoyed about my artist date, was completely dropping the pressure of needing to achieve something and embracing just having fun. I didn’t have to rush, I wasn’t tied to getting errands done and I just chilled out!
If you’re interested in going on an artist date with yourself, I had a little think of fun, artsy and mostly cheap or free things you can do:
- Explore your surroundings and go for a walk in a local beauty spot
- Visit a museum or art gallery
- Take yourself out for tea! Go and treat yourself to a slice of fancy cake :)
- Watch a play, or go to the cinema, solo
- Get some art supplies and spend the afternoon making a mess - no pressure, just time to create
- Take your favourite book and make yourself cosy and comfortable and spend the afternoon reading
Spending time with myself is something I have to do to keep myself healthy and happy - do you find you’re needing some more alone time? Or have you already mastered the art of setting time aside to enjoy your own company?