I invite you to welcome the slowness of January, cultivating solitude as a practice to uncover an indestructible sense of inner refuge.
I invite you to create time in your calendar for the sound of your own thoughts to emerge over the noise we surround ourselves with. Create the space for your feelings and desires to come up to be heard, considered and validated, first of all by yourself.
Winter is a time to slow down.
Animals go into hibernation or migrate. Plants and some animals go into a state of slow or no growth, only using resources to survive the long, harsh winter months. While the natural world gently progresses into such slowness, we get dropped into it from the heights of the festive period. We fly through December from one family gathering to the next, from one party to the next, and from the excess of food and drink, we land into a blank January feeling sluggish and demotivated. The festive decorations are gone. Friends and family have left. Things are going back to normal and all you want to do is to hide under the duvet and sleep.
Beat the winter blues by cultivating solitude as a resource to be free to be you, without having to meet any expectations, demands or requests. Create an indestructible sense of inner refuge.
Calling back all your energies from external demands, pressures, expectations, entanglements.
Alone time is a time to return to you as your own best authority. It's an opportunity to recall all of the energy that usually flows out and redirect it towards you, nowhere else but you. Focus on getting to know yourself better to cultivate old passions or discover new ones.
While maintaining friendships and a strong support network is essential for your mental health and well-being, taking a break every now and again can help you appreciate those connections all the more
You'll have more energy
A recent study found that spending time alone is probably the best way to rest â whether you're an introvert or an extrovert.
How to practise solitude
Put your phone away.
Take a deep breath and put your phone away. Resist the temptation of scrolling on your phone. Checking emails, texts or social media is another way to be connected with others, their thoughts, their agenda. Also, try resisting the temptation of entertaining yourself with TV, sports, films, comedies. Clear the noise, information, entertainment. This time is just for you. Take it.
Concerned about being alone or bored?
It can feel scary or intimidating to be alone if you are not used to it. You might wonder how to fill the time without talking to anyone. Think about what you enjoyed doing when you were a kid - what would your seven-year-old self do? Play with lego? Then make a project out of lego and build a lego city. Eat cake? Try a new recipe. Climb a tree? Check out the closest climbing gym.
Plan your solitude or it won't happen
Book time alone in your calendar. Ring-fence an hour a week, a day per month, a weekend every quarter. And make a plan, make it fun and exciting. Do something you have never tried before, something that will push you beyond your comfort zone.
Learn to value solitude & tune into you
It can be hard to value solitude in an ever-connected world. Recognising that solitude is a conscious choice that requires some intentionality and planning is the first important step. A step you might have to train yourself to take regularly before it will come naturally to you. Learn to turn down the volume of the external noise that surrounds us, turn up the dial of your own voice, your own thoughts and feelings. The more often you create the space for your own voice to show up, the clearer you are going to be about what you desire more of in your life - imagine that!
What to do on your own
Try a new recipe. Get out of your routine and challenge yourself - flick through a recipe book and try something new.
Go to the cinema or watch a band on your own.
Although we might not socialise much when we go to the cinema or a gig, it's easy to get drawn into wondering what your friends are thinking about. Seeing a film or a band alone means you can focus fully on what you like or don't like and why.
Go for a walk on your own.
If you aren't an experienced hiker, start with a walk at your nearest park. Spending time alone in nature can be a great way to connect with your inner-self. Once you get a bit more familiar with the idea, you might choose to venture out on a proper hike with a map, packed lunch and waterproofs! Researchers suggest that being alone in nature can help people focus their priorities, gain a greater appreciation for relationships, and improve future goal-setting.
Go to a museum on your own.
Check out the latest exhibition and let your imagination be transported. Notice what you like most about the artwork, what it reminds you of or what would be its opposite.
Try some free-writing.
Pick up a notebook and a pen and write about any of the things you experienced alone. If you don't know where to start, just use as a prompt When I was at ...(insert activity) I noticed that I felt... Don't worry about grammar or spelling or writing beautifully - this kind of writing is for no one's eyes but yours, and it's aimed at getting further in touch with yourself.