"Sometimes, you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself." - Unknown
I recently gave up a business that required me to be out the door by 4:15 am seven days a week. No need to re-read. 4:15 am. Seven days a week. No lie. Aside from the obvious cons, there were many pros. I was home by 6:30 am - just in time for my husband to leave for work. Most days I was walking in the front door as he was walking out the back door. This meant that one of my children's parents were home at all hours of the day. When anyone asked me how I could possibly handle this schedule my answer was always "For two hours every day I am alone with my own thoughts." That was the biggest pro.
Whether you are a parent or not it is so difficult to find time to be alone. We live in a fast-paced world. We work, socialize and take care of pressing responsibilities every day.
I am not suggesting that you begin starting your day at 4 A.M. As a matter of fact, unless you can manage to get yourself to sleep at 8 pm, please don't. I gave that business up mainly because my health suffered due to the sleep deprivation. It was the right decision, but I still miss that guaranteed alone time.
While I really did enjoy that time alone that fact is that I was working. I've learned that that time didn't even really count as alone time at all. My opinion is that work, errands, and grocery shopping absolutely do not count as alone time. Busy "grown-ups" must learn to prioritize. It's not easy. It seems like everyone around me needs something from me. In the case of my children, their needs are my responsibility. But if I don't take care of myself there is no way that I can give them or anyone else my very best. I've come up with a few things that steal me at least ten minutes alone with my own thoughts.
GIVE IT TO 'EM STRAIGHT
Look your partner straight in the face and let him or her know that it is an absolute necessity for you to have a few minutes alone. If you are a single parent drive to a trusted adult's house and let them know. Most often my seriousness is convincing enough for my husband to agree.
Now that your kids are under someone else's care for the time being, here is what's next:
DON'T OVERTHINK IT
While I'm all for a spa day and visiting the movie theater alone is really nice, you don't have to take it that far. Try taking a quick walk. If you really don't have the energy for physical exertion go sit in the car if the weather permits. Your house (even if it's small) has alone time potential. Lock your bedroom door, or my personal favorite door to lock is the bathroom. My children will probably grow up thinking that I have digestive issues.
MAKE IT A HABIT
Now that you've discovered one or more ways to steal a few minutes alone, don't become a stranger to it. You might not be able to work these minutes into every day, but find what works best for you and never get up on it completely.
Time alone gives you the opportunity to rest and recharge. Self-care is not selfish. Your family deserves to have you at your best and you are better when you're happy.