Over the past 18 months, we went from lockdowns to new normals, having to face calendars suddenly filling before our eyes, after months spent connecting with people on the other side of a screen. Still, many of us are challenged at the idea of spending time alone this Winter.
Lockdown has affected everyone differently, which rings very true for entrepreneurs and business owners.
We learned to embrace our own company and realised the power of community and why having a support system around us is so pivotal – we are biased as we run a collective membership of entrepreneurs, yet it’s undeniable.
We have been craving human connection more than ever. However, so many of us had to face the reality of being alone more and truly enjoy our own company.
I have always been the kind of person who enjoyed spending time alone. Solo cinema date, here I come. Restaurant date for one, do not mind if I do.
When running a business, you spend so much time with your thoughts, running strategies, ideas and often battling internal negative chatter. You celebrate your wins and reflect on the lessons.
Naturally, entrepreneurs are more equipped for being alone. Regardless of that, Winter and Christmas can be challenging times to enjoy some me-time. All the adverts, decorations, and memories can prompt us to walk into memory lane and look at the past and the people we miss.
On top of that, the cold weather, grey skies and dark mornings and evenings mean we dip into melancholia.
“Our immunities can dip, and life can feel flat and gloomy”, admits life coach Carole Ann Rice.
Being able to reframe this quieter time and embrace solitude is a great asset when harnessed correctly. Make this the perfect time to re-charge, pamper yourself and still the mind. In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected, high stressed culture, it can be the ideal opportunity for real ‘me time and self-care.
Solitude is different from being lonely. It gives you time to restore, listen to your inner dialogue, gather yourself and get into the realms of deep peace.
“This can reconnect you with yourself; your thoughts, feelings and make you more stable as a being which can benefit your relationships”, Ann Rice continues.
How women can embrace time alone this winter
The fear of loneliness is particularly strong in women due to deep cultural expectations, affecting us profoundly.
“This is due to mindset and social conditioning, we feel trapped in what we think we should be doing rather than what we want to do. There is a stigma attached to being alone, which makes people struggle with it,” explains Helen Birch, sex therapist and hypnotherapist.
What if we are afraid of what we might discover about ourselves?
We are scared we might find out that we are not good enough, clever enough, or loveable, Birch continues, “it is also deeply deep-rooted in women to fear becoming the old ‘spinster’ or the fear of being alone in our later years”.
Birch once again encourages us to think about simple ways to start realising how great you are:
- Learn what makes you tick: keeping a diary or voice note to jot down thoughts can be enlightening.
- Compliment yourself: notice and acknowledge the great things about yourself.
- Be in the moment– taking a step back to appreciate your place in the world. Being in nature can help with this.
- Focus on goals: what do you want, and how can you get them? Remember, you are worthy of reaching your dreams
Simple ways to practice alone time
What is one practice we can cultivate to enjoy our own company and spend time alone this winter? Too often, when we are alone, we are stuck in our heads and on our phones, and we have forgotten how to indulge our senses.
Remember I mentioned my solo cinema and restaurant date? This simple practice can be incredibly positive when cultivating an enjoyable time with ourselves (the words “treat yourself” spring to mind).
Online therapist Charisse Cooke encourages you to find your way to “treat yourself”. You might go for a walk and watch the sunset. You can make or order a delicious, nourishing meal. Or have a long bath listening to calming music.
These date nights help to meet our own needs so we can return to the world replenished and excited to interact and connect with others
“We can so easily become rushed and over-extended in our busy lives and then be impatient, intolerant and emotionally unavailable in our relationships. By having time on our own, we can fill up our cup. We can engage with our friends and partners wholeheartedly and happily”, explains Cooke.
Anything that encourages relaxation and enjoyment, bringing in self-care and a degree of spoiling, can help you recognise that being alone can be a time of important de-stressing but also an absolute pleasure.
After all, the relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. Take a chance to get to know yourself again. Hell, why not even fall in love with yourself a little bit more. Rediscover who you are to re-ignite the fire of your passions and dreams for the year ahead.