How Much Alone Time Is Healthy in Mental Illness Recovery?
How much alone time is healthy for me? I used to ask that question multiple times a day when I was recovering from mental illness. Sometimes I felt like I was spending too much time alone and other times I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time alone. People who aren’t suffering from a mental illness may ask themselves this too, but in the case of mental illness recovery, I feel it is more of a tricky one: Isolation and loneliness harms mental health recovery, but taking no time for yourself isn't good for you either. How much alone time is healthy when in recovery from mental illness? A black-and-white answer doesn’t exist.
I Took Too Little Alone Time in the Past
I never knew that "too little alone time" existed up until recently. I thought never being alone was a good thing and that being busy and around others, always making plans, was going to help me feel less depressed. At first, I believed I wasn’t depressed because I was always around other people and when someone is depressed they are always alone, right? But being extremely busy ended up being just a distraction.
I was afraid of taking alone time because I didn’t know what to do by myself. I would binge eat and watch Netflix anytime I was alone, so to prevent that from happening, I would fill my schedule. This busy life didn’t give me time to reflect, to process, to think about my feelings and what else was going on. I wasn’t spending enough time alone and this was a problem.
How to Decide How Much Alone Time Is Healthy For You
Deciding how much alone time is healthy for you isn't too difficult. Ask yourself a simple question: Is my desire for alone time coming from a place of love or a place of fear?
The answer to that question makes all the difference. How much alone time is healthy for you will change depending on your answer.
Being alone during recovery (or anytime in your life, for that matter) can be extremely beneficial for processing, for learning how to spend time with yourself, and for personal development, reading, and journaling. But too much alone time can make you feel isolated, bored, lonely, and depressed.
Understanding if your desire to be alone is coming from a place of love to foster a relationship with yourself or a place of fear because you don’t want to see or interact with anyone is key to navigating this important topic. Asking yourself this question comes down to awareness, self-reflection, and taking a step back every so often to check in with yourself. This simple question is an important tool to help aid you in your mental illness recovery no matter what part of the journey you’re on.
Zacharakis, N. (2017, October 24). How Much Alone Time Is Healthy in Mental Illness Recovery?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2017/10/how-much-alone-time-is-healthy-in-mental-illness-recovery
Author: Nancy Zacharakis
Sounds so simple to love your self but will take hard work!