When the time came to move abroad, I was a weird mixture of excited, nervous and terrified. I was packing up everything I knew with zero plans or preparations, and moving to a developing country I had never been to. Friends had told me that […]
Money management is something most of us hate talking about. Just those words alone spark anxiety, discomfort and a sense of pressure. But the fact of the matter is if we want to completely design our lives and live out our dreams and desires, we […]
Alone time can feel awkward and uncomfortable if it’s not something you are used to.
I know I would freak out at the thought of going out for dinner alone! Maybe afraid of judgements from others, maybe just afraid of doing something new and different.
But now I eat dinner out on my own at least once a week. And it feels comfortable and enjoyable.
Some of the best things in life can happen when you are on your own: exercise, reading, showers, binge watching your favourite TV show… so why don’t we embrace time alone instead of avoid it?
Below I have outlines some of the reasons we should learn to love spending time in solitude and things we can do to make it feel more comfortable for us too 🙂
It is a chance to learn
Whether you are a reader, a TV binger or YouTube fanatic, you can use this time to learn more on topics that interest you using whichever source of information you find most interesting.
No compromising on what to watch or read. Just following your own interests.
Creativity and productivity will be boosted
Letting your mind wander often brings you to pretty weird ideas… like when I find myself thinking about who decided to pineapple on pizza for the first time. Or how I find myself thinking about the one time someone told me that cereal is a type of soup.
But in between the weirdness can be some really interesting ideas.
It is that space where entrepreneurs thrive and have those moments of genius that change the world. Embrace it!
You can plan your life
Get out the journal and your best stationary!
Alone time can be just the space you need to think and reflect on your goals, set new ones or make a vision board for how you want your life to look.
This post from a fellow blogger is great for learning how to make an effective vision board.
You will feel well rested
Being social can be exhausting. Although also super important to a balanced life, it can be equally healthy to spend time to heal both emotionally and physically.
That often involves being alone.
In fact, most of my favourite self-care practises involve time in solitude. It’s perfect for those rest and recharge days.
It makes you self-reliant
When you have an amazing support network it can be easy to rely on others and slowly let them make decisions for you.
Especially if you are in a relationship, it can be really easy to become dependent on one another and to lose grasp of making decisions on your own and for your own interests.
Alone time can give you that chance to take back control and make yourself feel like the sole driver of your life again!
You can get to know yourself better
My personal favourite way of doing this is through journaling (or guided writing, whatever you want to call it).
This post introduces some journal prompts to get you thinking about some answers to questions we never really ask ourselves but probably should!
Journaling was the first time I had actually produced something that held me accountable to the things I wanted but only allowed myself to want as fleeting thoughts.
Writing about myself has certainly given me a better perspective of my strengths, flaws and goals. Things that I probably would have ignored if I hadn’t started journaling.
So pick up that pen and start some self discovery!
You will appreciate those closest to you more
Living abroad I spend a lot more time in solitude than ever.
And that time alone has made me appreciate all the time I spend with loved ones that little bit more. And I schedule a lot more time to speak/be with them too!
I would love to know what benefits you find from spending time in solitude!
So as always just drop a comment or get in touch 🙂
Love and joy
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Free time is something we all treasure and what we often work so hard for throughout the week.
So why do we feel like we never have enough?
I know I am not the only person out there who thinks it is CRAZY to spend 5 days a week exhausting yourself to only have 2 days of enjoyment.
Who told us we have to live like that?
The great news is, we don’t.
I mean sure, doing the 9-5 grind plus the rest of your errands will pay the bills and put food on the table, but have you ever thought that there might be a bit more to life than that?
A bit more to YOU than that?
When we free up some time we can start to explore the things that make our souls happy and contented.
Whether that means resting and recharging, going for a walk in the park with your family, or learning a new skill like cooking or playing guitar. It’s all nourishing and needed to feel fully contented with our lives.
Investing time and energy in yourself is powerful.
Yet we continue to let life interfere, and the dreaded to do list creeps in and steals that precious time from under our feet.
So what can we do to protect that time and make it our own?
Well, you can do one of the following things:
- Make the task easier to complete in less time
- Get someone else to do the task
- Make the task obsolete
Below I have put together some small (and some not so small) ways that we can gather more free time from these methods, which we can use in whatever way nourishes us best.
Get up earlier
Back in my teaching job I chose to start getting to my desk for 7.30am instead of 8am, and my productivity increased tenfold!
The amount of things I could do in that short space of time that meant I didn’t have to work through all of my breaks was awesome.
But of course that meant setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier.
To maximise that morning time further still you could switch to evening showers instead of morning ones.
All that time spent blow drying your hair and making you late out of the door? Gone!
Re-evaluate your travel options
You’re probably sat there thinking ‘duh, if I knew a faster route to work, I’d take it’.
Yes, and I hope you would! But have you considered other options entirely?
Are there trains/buses/bicycles you can use instead? Even on the weekends?
Better yet, can you lift share?
Alright we probably don’t like the idea of sitting on a bus compared to the comfort of a car but let’s face it, it is better for the environment, and all that time you would be driving is time to get some pesky emails sent. Emails that would otherwise be sent in your lunch hour, or free time with your family.
As much as I loved my little car I actually found it way more useful getting the train. I would bag that table seat, get my test papers out and get them marked before 8am. #teacherlife
Delegate to others
Although this can be assigning tasks to colleagues or asking a sibling for help, the major form of delegation I have found the most useful is hiring a cleaner.
I don’t care what anyone says, surely cleaning the house can’t be the best way you can think of spending your free time?!
Or maybe it is. If that’s the case consider getting paid for it as a side hustle.
But most of us have to drag ourselves out of the comfort of our beds or sofas to do the hoovering and (oh my gosh, my nemesis here) washing the dishes.
And we must spend SO LONG cleaning up after cooking for ourselves too! It all eats in to our evenings and before you know it the day has slipped by.
Having a cleaner take care of this has genuinely changed my life. Maintenance of where I live now takes next to none of my time.
To see how much difference this would make for you, jot down all the little things you do every day to keep on top of the house, and see how much time it comes to across a week.
It might make you re-evaluate whether or not the monetary investment is necessary or not.
Failing the cleaner, ask to share out some monotonous tasks with family members or people close to you. You’d be surprised by how willing others are to help you achieve free time for yourself to rest and recharge if you’re brave enough to pose the question.
Turn off the phone, the TV, radio… anything that splits your attention and prevents you from powering through tasks.
I set some boundaries on checking my emails and my phone, and used that time to write an entire blog post in half the usual time!
Giving yourself set times in the day to check technology can prevent the unnecessary and excessive use of it throughout other tasks.
When you give tasks your full attention, they get done quicker.
If I had a penny for every time I agreed to do something to help someone when secretly I knew I was already maxed out with my own errands…
Reality is, the more we put on our plate the less time we have for ourselves.
It’s not selfish to say no, and I so strongly believe that you can give the best of yourself to those who do need your help if you are well rested and taken care of. And not stressed out and over stretched by your own to do list!
Can you think of something that you ALWAYS end up doing even though you know colleagues/family members /friends could do it instead?
I always used to have to ‘run the floor’ (which sounds more exciting than it is) in one of my old shoe shop jobs even though I was paid the same and had the same job role as everyone else.
Then one day I had the genius idea to tell my friend what I did to keep things running smoothly and they took over from then on. Score! No more running around like a crazy person whilst my colleagues literally sat on their butts waiting for me to tell them what to do.
The point being, maybe teaching someone else how to do something that you do really well would give you more freedom to focus on other things you need to get done.
Looking back the times I had the best relationship with food were times when I was batch cooking effectively.
One evening spent cooking 2 bulk meals will save you a bunch of time in the week, and it’s a good way to keep your meals healthy and prevent picking up crap on the way home in the attempt of saving time.
Self-care and free time all rolled in to one, woohoo!
Try a time management tool
I recently wrote an article about why our time management techniques often fail.
So in the interest of practicing what I preach, I started using rescue time, an app that tracks what you spend your screen time on, and I was so unbelievably shocked at how all the quick little social media checks add up throughout the day!
Rescue time is only one example, but there are a tonne of useful apps and tool out there to help with time management.
This article gives some cool tools that are useful for gaining that extra bit of free time.
So I hope you have drawn some inspiration for even one way to either make tasks more efficient, delegating to others or making the task obsolete, and gain more free time.
If you have any other little tips and tricks for freeing up an hour a day I would love to hear it! Just drop a comment or get in touch!
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Solo travel used to be quite a scary thought for me. Having always made trips abroad with friends or with Josh, I had never really had to take full responsibility over planning a journey or had to fix the common traveller problems […]
‘How do I become more confident?’
I remember about 2 years ago, almost to the day, sitting on my bed having just spent the night crying because I had run in to someone from school, typing this in to Google.
I felt like I had hit a pretty low point.
The person I ran in to was perfectly nice, made nice enough small talk, and yet I had a horrible weight of thinking I had made a fool of myself or I had somehow upset them or they thought I was just a bit weird.
And now I was asking google how to fix my life.
Looking back now I wish I could tell myself that seeking help when suffering anxiety of any kind is a bold step and nothing to feel ashamed of!
So whether you are in a similar position with anxiety, or if you just want a strong and successful start to 2019, some little tips and tricks for boosting your self-confidence can go a long way.
Below you will find some little ideas of mine that I have found super useful in raising my self-esteem and outwardly becoming more confident.
Separate facts from opinions
For so long most of my thoughts about myself were seemingly negative.
‘Your hair is a mess today.’
‘Don’t go for that job, you will never get it’.
Then someone reminded me that none of those thoughts are actual black and white facts.
My hair could look great to someone else, and I did have a good chance of getting the job, but I let me opinions weigh me down.
Instead: Focus on the black and white facts of what you have achieved.
I often remind myself that I moved to a different country, that I won several dance competitions and that I taught myself how to design and set up my own website and blog.
Those are facts. Recognise them because no one can take them away from you with an opinion.
Stop comparing yourself to others
When you come from a group of insanely awesome friends (I mean, they are all doctors, dentists, and stupidly successful business women. And one of them is even on tour with Enter Shikari after quitting their management role in a world renowned corporation as an engineer), it is hard NOT to feel like a bit of a failure.
But it doesn’t actually achieve anything but negativity when I think about their careers compared to mine. Or their salaries compared to mine. And little by little it chips away at self-confidence.
Instead: lay out your goals and an actionable plan.
If you stay focused on your own idea of a perfect life, suddenly others don’t feel like a threat or a point of comparison.
You’re working towards totally different goals, so a direct comparison is null and void!
Even better, as you track your work towards those goals, you start to feel more accomplished and successful in your own right.
Try positive affirmations
I first started looking in to affirmations when a family member of mine would say things like this with their 3 year old at bed time.
“My name is Michael. I am kind and helpful to others. I can do anything. I can be anything I want to be.”
And sure enough little Michael would repeat after them and honestly he is the most kind and loving child. And confident as hell.
Obviously that isn’t completely down to affirmations, but how powerful is it to tell the world you have a tonne of self-confidence and that you’re truly happy. You might start to live out those thoughts more frequently just like muscle memory!
Create personal boundaries
People pleasers out there, I feel you.
Never being able to say no can be a double edged sword. Sometimes it opens you up to new experiences, but other times you stretch yourself beyond what you can realistically manage and end up with a to do list the size of your arm and a brain that has turned to fluff from all the extra things you have promised you would do.
Instead: before saying yes to something, ask for a bit of time to think when you can.
Granted it is not always possible. But I once asked for some time before I took on a huge responsibility in my last job.
In that extra time I was able to think a little more rationally about the amount of time and effort it would take and concluded it wasn’t in my best interest. So I said no.
Oh how awesome you feel when you assert those boundaries.
Make self-care part of your routine
Setting boundaries is already a huge part of self-care. But so is scheduled time alone, and scheduled time to invest in your hobbies and interests. And of course time for caring for your body too.
Depending on whether you like to live by a schedule or not, I find making a timetable and actually blocking out some time for me really helpful.
It prevents the dreaded to do list taking over and hijacking my entire day, because I now see the blocked out time for me just as important as any other time of day.
In turn, the more you invest in yourself, the more worth you place on yourself.
For some ideas on how to implement self-care in to your routine, you can find my 20 favourite ways to practice self-care here.
Help someone with a problem
We should all probably admit that when you help someone out and give them helpful advice, you get a bit of an ego boost.
And that’s okay!
You’ve still helped a friend, and that action doesn’t get diminished by feeling good about it.
It is totally fine to think about how you’ve helped and credit yourself for your amazing problem solving skills and that you are a person that others can trust and confide in you. Go you!
Far too often we see self-confidence and being proud of our abilities as being arrogant. Something to play down and feel ashamed of.
But what if we celebrated our talents.
You have every right to be confident in your unique abilities and skills, and it’s about time we saw what we could achieve if we made good use of them!
So be confident. You deserve it.
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