The last 12 months of being in lockdown has taught us a lot quantity about ourselves. It has also forced many of us into reviewing what we value most in our lives. We’ve all had our values have changed.
There’s been times when we’ve had to confront various aspects of us too. To find out how we feel alone, how much the presence of others influences our lives. Many of us have required to spend large amounts of time alone at home because of work in person, family, friends and life have all disappeared, effectively absent from our life.
They remain in constant contact with their partners with their children and family, having to be in constant contact as well as home schooling, while adapting to working and sourcing all their needs online, getting items delivered straight to their homes.
For some, this has been a precious time that they’ve gotten to know each other well while experiencing the highs as well as lows of lockdown, having conversations, sharing times, going for walks as well as cooking and dining together. They’ve forged new habits and are none too keen to allow the world back in.
Whilst others are eager to join the world, desperate to move around again, while keeping some of the best bits from being locked up, and yet keeping them in such a tight, secluded cocoon.
On reflection, do you prefer being alone or with other people?
It all is contingent on the circumstances at home. For those who reside in a home that isn’t occupied and are relatively self-sufficient, already catering to our own needs and making use of the internet. It’s possible that lockdown hasn’t really had a significant impact on the way we live.
However, for those who are used to going out for work, networking, having a hectic social and work schedule and taking holidays regularly, or even those who are consigned to a home with agitated children and their partners, endless zoom meetings , and no alternatives to get outdoors, it’s been quite a different experience.
– Whether you prefer to be on your own or with others depends very depending on what you want to do and what the alternative choices are. Sharing your thoughts with others may mean that you’re under a lot of pressure to talk, have a conversation, walk at their pace or make compromises. All of these can be too to handle, especially when you’re desperately in need of a break and some me-time. However, they can be a welcome relief if you’re at risk of becoming too closed-off or stuck in your comfortable area and in desperate need of a boost.
– Sometimes, taking a regular break alone, for instance, to relax with a brew, have an hour-long soak in the bath or go outside to enjoy a bit of nature , can result in you being relaxed and can return in a better frame of mind. You’ve enjoyed a moment of peace, have reintroduced some calm and, consequently, feel more confident about appreciating what you’re returning back to.
Additionally, there are people who have passions that no one else in the family shares. Running or playing a game of golf may not be on their radar. So doing it on our own ensures that we’re able to still have fun and not miss out on something important to us. Additionally, it adds an additional perspective to our conversations when we get back home.
The company of others can be a source of encouragement and motivation to do something we may want to put off but are unable to do. People around us can encourage us to experiment with new activities and even help us in case we’re uneasy. But remember that should they eventually lose faith then we might be demotivated too.
Also, remember that there are many things that we might begin together, and end up doing alone. For instance, going for a swim or a bike ride taking a class online, losing weight, stopping smoking. These are all activities that we could choose to do en masse, but actually spend the majority of our time on our own. Yes, we can go on trips together, or check in regularly for updates and pep talks however, the majority of the success of our team is due to our own efforts.
– When we spend lots of time with our friends, scheduling a few minutes of time alone can be a treasured, closely guarded and treasured time. Awaiting with excitement for a day of your own, preparing your snacks and plans to have a relaxing time, only to then discover that other people are also taking days off, can be quite a disappointment!
Scheduling regular personal time will dramatically improve your level of happiness. Even if you simply leave your car in the garage for 10 minutes at a time after work before returning to the bustle of your daily life, it can be a major boost to your mood and get a handle on your day’s stress. Utilizing the drive home or taking a short break can enable you to break up the various parts of your day. This will allow you to recharge and look forward to rejoining your daily routine with a positive outlook. This is when you can benefit from being both alone and together.
Susan Leigh, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist and relationship counsellor and writer who also contributes to media offers help with relationship issues and stress management, assertiveness , and confidence. She works with clients individually and couples, as well as providing training for corporate clients and provides support.
She’s the author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress and the Effect it has on us”, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and “Dealing with Death: Coping with Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, advice and suggestions to help get more confident about your life.