Do you hate spending time alone? If so, I totally understand. It can be a bit boring, and maybe a tad lonely. And yet, it can't be denied that occasionally going solo is pretty darn important. This is especially true if you start showing signs that you need more alone time.
As an example, think back to those days you felt crankier than usual, or frustrated for no reason. These may have been little hints that you needed to slow down and, say, spend the evening at home with nothing but your dog, Netflix, and a ton of snacks. (Yes, even if that meant missing out on something else.)
Taking time to yourself — to be alone, to travel, to partake in a hobby — is essential, and definitely not something you should forgo. As psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells me, "... it is actually a very important process to give ourselves that time and space alone to unplug, work through things, or just disconnect from everything around us to truly relax and get centered."
It may sound scary, or feel totally unnatural at first. But it is a skill that's necessary to develop, lest you spend the rest of our life feeling stressed out. Read on for some signs that you really need to disconnect and relax — all by your lonesome.
1. You Cringe When Your Phone Rings
Some of us aren't super into our phones, and that's OK. But if you feel the urge to casually toss yours across the room whenever it rings, take note. Not answering your phone — even when you're available — can be a sign that you need a little time to yourself, clinical counselor Paula Anderson tells me. This urge to be "off the radar" is your body telling you to, well, be off the radar. Listen to it every now and again and you'll likely feel much better.
2. You Constantly Feel Frustrated
If you feel frustrated by everyone and everything, you might have a "human hangover," says life coach Bridget Chambers in an email to Bustle. "Being on edge makes us edgy… and in time, our toleration threshold for otherwise frivolous annoyances dwindles to nothing," she says. "Take an evening or weekend to decompress alone [and it can] ... reenergize your spirit and make you more grateful, less irritated, and better equipped for the stuff that tends to push your buttons."
3. You Snap At All The Innocent People In Your Life
Your partner didn't do anything worth yelling about, and neither did your best friend. And yet you can't keep yourself from snapping at them. In fact, you find yourself snapping at everyone in your life — whether they did something to "deserve" it or not. "This is [you] taking your need for alone time — and your inability to get it — out on them," Martinez says. Not cool.
4. You Truly Hate The Thought Of Alone Time
Like I said, not everyone enjoys spending time alone. But if you deeply and truly detest the idea, consider it all the more important. "Not wanting to spend time alone can often be a sign that you really need that time to face the thoughts you've been avoiding and really listen to yourself," says holistic wellness coach Leah Lesesne, MA, in an email to Bustle. Let that resistance be your guide, and do it anyway.
5. You Feel The Need For Constant Validation
It's really nice to get validation from friends, family, partners, etc. But you shouldn't be getting it from them exclusively. If you feel like you require someone else's advice, then it may be time to hang out with yourself. "Spend some time alone assessing what would be best for you, your energy, your time, and your interests," Chambers says. "In the end, you cannot do right by others if you cannot do right by yourself."
6. You Suddenly Find Everyone Very Annoying
While everyone is annoying from time to time, we've all had those days when the entire planet seems downright awful — even thought nobody's doing anything wrong. "A roommate, boyfriend/girlfriend, or parent may walk around the house and their very gait makes you cringe," says gestalt life coach Nina Rubin, MA, in an email. Or maybe you despise how they pour their cereal, or hate what they're watching on TV. When this level of sensitivity occurs, it's most definitely time to retreat.
7. You Aren't Enjoying Anyone's Company
It's possible to have too much of a good thing, even if that good thing is the company of others. So take note if you suddenly feel bored in the presence of your otherwise amazing friends. "When we do not have that equal balance of alone time and time where there is connectedness, we actually enjoy the time with others less," Martinez says. "Striking that balance is what allows us to fully enjoy both."
8. You Get Sick At The Worst Times
If you've been extra busy as of late, don't be surprised if your body sabotages your schedule. "When we are not getting the time we need, sometimes our body forces us to take it," says life coach and psychic Laura Powers. This might show up in the form of a cold that keeps your from going to work, or a flu that requires you to cancel that last-minute trip. It may feel like horrible timing, but take it as a hint that you need to relax.
9. Your Emotions Are Out Of Whack
It's totally OK to cry, and you should do so whenever you want. But don't ignore your mood if you've been feeling extra teary as of late, as it may be a sign that you're over doing it. "When we do not get the time alone to ourselves ... our emotions get off kilter ... for what seems like no particular reason," Martinez says. An evening or weekend spent doing exactly what you want to do truly can help.
10. Your Anxiety Seems To Be Worse
If you've been burning the candle at both ends, your old pal Anxiety can and will come strollin' on in. You might feel a sense of overwhelm, Powers tells me, or like your anxiety has turned up a few notches. Taking some time to yourself can help the stress — and your anxiety — dial back down.
11. You Feel Tired Even Though You've Slept
If you're getting a full eight hours, but still feel tired, it may be a sign you need some time to yourself. "Just as with getting sick, our body will react when we are not getting what we need," Powers says. "Sleep is truly alone time, so getting sleepy or tired can force us to get more alone time in the simplest way." Is this your life? Then go ahead and give into that nap — and any additional alone time you may require.
After all, spending time alone is not only perfectly OK, but totally essential for good health.
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