Alone time
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Alone time: 10 Alarming signs you need more or less of it for your mental health

We all need alone time to relax, reflect and recharge. It is necessary for taking care of our mental and physical health when dealing with the stresses of our busy lives.

We work hard and play even harder so our minds and bodies are constantly active as we move with the fast-paced crowds. If we do not stop to catch a breath now and again, it can affect us negatively.

Even when we are in a romantic relationship, we need alone time to make ourselves whole and healthy individuals. We use this time to sleep, exercise, meditate, groom ourselves, read, write in a journal, listen to music, catch up on movies, cook and explore our talents.

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Spending time alone has many benefits for us. According to an article in Forbes, alone time increases empathy, productivity and creativity. It helps you to build mental strength, reduces behaviour problems in kids, gives you an opportunity to plan your life and helps you to know yourself.

On the other hand, there are several dangers to spending too much time alone. PsychAlive states that alone time makes us vulnerable to our inner critics, it can lead to painful loneliness and depression.

Studies show that social isolation leads to higher mortality. This is why it is important to balance your alone time with the time spent socialising with people. When there is no balance, it damages you either way. Here are 10 alarming signs that your alone time is too little or too much which can damage your mental health.

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5 Obvious signs that you need some alone time

1. You suddenly find everyone around you annoying

When the people you once liked are suddenly annoying all the time, you need alone time. The expression, “It’s not you, it’s me!” holds truth when it comes to this scenario.

Healthline states that stress and anxiety can cause mental or emotional symptoms such as nervousness in social settings and irrational anger. Instead of lashing out at people because everything they say seems stupid, try getting some alone time to relieve your stress.

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2. You enjoy socialising but feel irritated when you do

If you love going out but feel annoyed, agitated and tired when you do, then you need alone time. It does not necessarily mean that you have grown “old and cold”, it simply means that you need peace from the noise and time to heal.

According to VeryWellMind, instead of worrying about the needs, interests, and opinions that others may have, alone time lets you focus on yourself.

3. You get tired of new people quickly

Meeting new people supposed to be a fun and fresh experience, but when it becomes a mundane task, then you should give yourself some alone time.

Carrying the burdens of past relationships to new ones makes you come across as moody, easily aggravated and unfriendly. First impressions last so you should take time to rejuvenate yourself before meeting new people.

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4. You constantly keep yourself busy with new tasks

People who are addicted to being busy have fallen victim to the workplace cult and need some serious alone time.

FastCompany states that when you give in to the cult of busyness, you give up one of the greatest tools we have for being productive, happy, and protecting ourselves from burnout: rest.

This means we need to take a step away from the always-on, no-room-to-breathe, hectic pace of the modern workplace.

5. You feel bored all the time

Feeling bored is a normal part of life but when it is caused by serious medical concerns, you should get some alone time to take care of yourself.

Psychology Today states that people with chronic attention problems, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have a high tendency for boredom.

Healthline says that having inadequate rest or nutrition is a cause of boredom. Spend some time by yourself to eat healthy, exercise, sleep and enjoy the little things in life.

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5 Clear signs that you have too much alone time

1. You have a fear of intimacy

People who prefer alone time because they fear abandonment and engulfment need to stop pushing people away and learn to socialise with them.

VeryWellMind says that people who are afraid of others’ judgement, evaluation, or rejection are naturally more likely to shy away from making intimate, personal connections.

The cause is usually linked to negative events in childhood and they are known to sabotage their relationships as adults. Seek help from a therapist to deal with these issues so you can have better relationships with people.

2. You want to be alone but feel lonely

The introverts who say that they want to be alone but feel lonely simply need to enjoy the company of others in moderation.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying alone time in abundance but when it starts to affect your mental health, you feel as if something is missing in your life.

Instead of digging yourself into a deeper hole of self-loathing by binge watching movies and moping around the house in slacks, you should dress up, call a friend and grab a quick bite.

A short outing with company is all you need to bring balance to your peaceful world.

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3. You outright hate people

Stress is a major reason for feeling hatred towards people with whom you should have healthy relationships.

Spending too much time alone while being stressed can exasperate your distressing feelings toward others who do not deserve your bad attitude and rejection.

VeryWellMind says that people with distressing feelings withdraw from healthy activities such as exercising and spending time with supportive friends and family. 

Therapy can help you be more empathetic, build healthy relationships, and develop alternative coping skills.

Get matched with a therapist online by Thriving Center of Psychology

4. You think something is wrong with everyone

Feeling as if something is wrong with everyone is a sign of depression that can worsen if you are alone too much.

WebMd says the most common depression trap to avoid is social withdrawal. Isolating yourself from others amplifies the brain’s stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it.

Michael Nichols on leadership states that you should look in the mirror and the solution will require a life change not to realise what you have done for people, but to realise what so many people before you have already done for you.

Your gratitude may change your perspective of people.

5. You do not see the purpose of life

If you ever find yourself wondering what is the purpose of life, then you probably have too much alone time on your hands.

Many people find purpose in having a successful career, a loving family, and a strong social network. This may not be the case for others.

According to VeryWellMind, the process requires plenty of self-reflection, listening to others, and finding where your passions lie.

You can begin living a more meaningful life if you donate time, money or talent, listen to feedback, surround yourself with positive people, start conversations with new people, explore your interests, consider injustices that bother you and discover what you love to do.

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