Embracing Your Alone Time: What to Do When You Feel Lonely
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Avena

Being alone doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

In fact, it could be just what you need for personal growth and self-discovery.

If you’re looking for ways to turn solitude into an opportunity for meaningful reflection and personal enrichment, keep reading!

Understanding Loneliness: The Difference Between Being Alone and Feeling Lonely

Feeling Lonely

Loneliness is a common human experience that can affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It’s often thought of negatively since it can cause feelings of sadness, isolation, and longing for social connection.

Feeling lonely is an emotional state that arises from a perceived lack of social connectedness or meaningful relationships. These feelings may be intensified by societal norms and expectations that place a high value on socialization and being part of a group.

Loneliness isn’t always linked to physical isolation or a lack of social interaction. Ironically, it’s possible to feel lonely at social gatherings or even in a crowd. When intense and prolonged, these feelings can have detrimental effects on one’s mental health and well-being.

However, there’s a distinction between feeling lonely and being alone.

Being Alone

Being alone refers to physically being by oneself without any company or social interaction. This could be due to circumstances such as living alone, not having close friends or family nearby, or choosing to spend time by oneself. Being alone doesn’t necessarily equate to loneliness as some individuals may find solace and enjoyment in their own company.

Key Differences

One key difference between being alone and feeling lonely is the level of distress associated with each state. While being alone may be seen as temporary solitude or a personal choice, feeling lonely tends to bring about more negative emotions such as emptiness, despair, and self-doubt.

Another important factor in understanding loneliness is the quality vs quantity of relationships. A person may have many acquaintances, or even a large circle of friends, but still feel deeply isolated if these connections lack depth and intimacy. Conversely, someone with just one close friend or family member who they confide in regularly may feel less lonely despite spending most of their time alone.

Notable Nuances

It’s important to realize that there are nuances between being alone and feeling lonely. While some may thrive in solitude, others may experience deep feelings of loneliness despite being surrounded by people. It’s crucial to understand these distinctions to effectively address and cope with feelings of loneliness.

What to Do When You Feel Lonely 2

Why Alone Time is Important

In our hectic society, finding some quality alone time may seem like a luxury. However, carving out time for yourself is crucial for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Alone time means consciously choosing to spend time by yourself without any distractions or obligations. It doesn’t necessarily mean being completely isolated; instead, it’s about creating a peaceful environment that allows you to relax, reflect, and recharge. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, everyone can benefit from alone time.

Here’s why alone time is so important and how it can positively impact your life.

Enhances Self-awareness

Spending some uninterrupted moments with yourself allows you to get in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It provides you with an opportunity to understand yourself better and identify what truly matters to you. This can lead to increased self-awareness and personal growth.

Boosts Creativity

Being alone can help unleash your creativity as it allows your mind to wander freely without any external distractions. Many artists, writers, and musicians find inspiration during moments of solitude.

Reduces Stress

The modern lifestyle has made stress one of the most common mental health issues. Taking occasional breaks from social pressures can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to mood issues and burnout.

Improves Problem-solving Skills

An individual’s decision-making process may be negatively influenced by external factors. Alone time provides space for unbiased contemplation and can lead towards better problem-solving.

Increases Productivity

Being alone allows you to focus on a task without interruptions or distractions, which can help improve productivity. You also can use your alone time to plan and organize your thoughts, goals, and priorities.

Embracing Your Alone Time: 5 Top Tips for How to Enjoy Your Own Company

Embracing your alone time can be a daunting idea for many people. The thought of being by yourself and disconnected from others can trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation. However, spending time alone can be a positive and enriching experience if approached with the right mindset.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your alone time:

  1. Set Aside Designated Alone Time

While juggling various activities and responsibilities, it can be easy to let alone time fall by the wayside. However, it’s important to intentionally set aside specific times in your schedule to spend by yourself. This will allow you to fully disconnect from outside distractions and focus on recharging your mind, body, and soul.

  1. Engage in Activities That Bring You Joy

Alone time offers an opportunity to participate in things you may not have had the chance to do while surrounded by others. Think about the activities or hobbies you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, painting, or even just taking a long bath, be sure to incorporate these activities into your alone time routine.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Instead of constantly reaching for your phone or turning on the TV when you’re alone, try practicing mindfulness instead. Take a moment to focus on your breathing or get outside for a nature walk. This can help you be more present in the moment and appreciate the beauty around you.

  1. Embrace Solitude

Becoming comfortable with alone time is an essential part of self-care. It allows you to listen to your inner thoughts and needs without any external influences or distractions. Use this opportunity to reflect on your life. What makes you happy? In what areas do you want to improve? Self-awareness is one of the keys to personal growth.

  1. Start a New Hobby or Skill

Use your alone time as an opportunity to discover new hobbies or learn new skills. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument or cook a certain cuisine – now’s the perfect time! Not only will this challenge your mind and keep you focused, but it also can boost your confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Take Time for Yourself

Embracing alone time can have numerous benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. It can help you disconnect from the constant noise and distractions of the outside world while giving you a chance to recharge and focus on yourself.

Instead of turning to social media or seeking validation from others, try embracing your alone time as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Use this time to practice self-care activities such as journaling, reading, exercising, or indulging in a hobby you enjoy.

Remember, taking some time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s essential for your overall well-being.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This content is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical or healthcare advice from a physician, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new health regimen.

Keith Rowe