The Importance of Alone Time & Ways to Practice Independence
Guest post by Amanda DiMarco.
Hi, friends! My name is Amanda DiMarco, host of Just Mands The Podcast, founder of the blog Just Mands, and a huge lover of oat milk lattes and avocados. My boyfriend is a close third.
Most recently, I got pregnant, graduated college, and became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer because health and fitness are two of my biggest passions. The other is inspiring others to live their most genuine lives by doing what they love without fear and taking better care of themselves. I’m a real big advocate of journaling, baths, & watching Disney movies with a kale face mask on while shoveling popcorn into my mouth. No one wants to watch a movie without snacks — it’s just the facts.
When I was 16 years old I met the love of my whole damn life. We’re still together to this day and I can’t believe I get to say that he is the father of my soon-to-be son come September. We fell hard in love the summer before Junior year of high school and when it came time to graduate, we were determined to make long distance work as we left for separate colleges. We were together our whole Freshman year — me at art school, him playing football at a school 7 hours away. We would drive the distance to see each other more weekends than not. Getting drunk off a six pack of ciders on the beach or exploring the thrift stores where I went to school in Savannah, GA. It was incredibly beautiful and insanely hard and absolutely worth it.
That following summer I went through a premature quarter life crisis — I’m not dramatic, you are — and decided I needed a change. A change of scenery, a change of pace, and a change of heart. I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years, the man who I’m with today, for an entire year until we got back together and started our lives. It was a hard year, but it was the most pivotal year of my life.
I know you’re not here to read a mediocre version of a Nicholas Sparks book, and I promise I’m not here to give you one. But my relationship over the last four years, through the long distance and the break up and the long distance again, taught me something so vital about my existence as a human being.
We, as humans, need our alone time.
Maybe it was the early quarter life crisis, or maybe it’s the Aquarius in me, but I learned to become so intensely independent and take advantage of the alone time I was given through long distance and a break up. When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with at a really young age, it’s easy to get lost in the relationship and forget about your own individual growth. I see this happening all of the time in all aspects of people’s lives — careers, friends, familial relationships, romantic relationships. We occupy our time with people and events and technology so much so that we forget who we are and inhibit our ability to grow and thrive.
The time I spent away from my boyfriend was a time where I dedicated my whole life to “self-growth.” Some nights that looked like blacking out on a Tuesday and others it looked like trying a new fad diet and overdosing on spirulina. It wasn’t always a flat road, but I found myself through the mistakes and one night stands and a whole lot of reflection. I got curious and asked myself things like, “what are my passions? dreams? aspirations? when do I feel the most like myself and what am I doing when I feel utterly me? when am I the most happy and what makes me feel sad?”
I started to become fiercely independent, prioritizing the things that made me happy and cutting out the things that weren’t serving my happiness. What I learned is that I feel the most like myself when I write, go outside, learn something new, stimulate my creativity, and talk with like-minded individuals. Most of these things are done when I’m alone and these are the ways that I practice my independence.
When my boyfriend and I got back together I made sure that I wouldn’t compromise my independence again. I made it a priority to make time for myself and do the things that make me feel like me so that I could thrive both in my relationship and in the world. For me personally, that means that I create the time and space for alone time. To really practice my independence like a religion. I give myself an hour to go for a walk alone, to write in the morning, or take advantage of the time when he’s at work and I’m at home to really dive into my thoughts, emotions, passions, and goals.
It’s crucial to my existence as a human being to implement alone time because it feeds my soul and allows me to soar in all of the other aspects of my life. I can only imagine that if it’s helped me better myself this much that it can help you better yourself, too.
Here are three ways that you can implement alone time and practice your own independence:
- Get curious. Like literally, ask yourself questions. It might seem silly to talk to your steering wheel and you might get a few stares if you’re on a walk, but actually asking yourself questions — whether that’s writing them down or saying them out loud — allows you to find out so much about yourself. Really dig deep to uncover your passions, dreams, fears, obsessions, goals, needs, and wants.
- Make yourself a priority. I think that most people put themselves second, third, or even dead last on the list of priorities in their life and it’s devastating to see. We matter. You matter. And when you prioritize your happiness and wellbeing you can better serve the people around you. Make it a priority to schedule out the time and space for you to be alone, do the thing that you love, and get in touch with yourself.
- Nike it. This is my way of saying just do it! After you’ve done the work to make yourself a priority and get curious about the things that you like, dislike, and the things that you want to do in life — go freaking do them. If you realized that you absolutely adore painting, go buy yourself some acrylic paint and a canvas. If you find out that your true goal is to be an actor, take some acting classes or go to a few auditions in your spare time. If you notice that your current lifestyle of going out 4 nights a week and waking up hungover isn’t making you happy, cut it back to 1 or 2 nights a week and see how you feel. Whatever you discern about yourself through the process of spending time alone and practicing your independence, honor it. Give it life. Watch how your mind, body, and soul evolve and flourish.
If you decide you want more of me you can find me on Instagram @justmands, head over to my blog justmands.com, or check out my youtube channel. You can also tune into my podcast Just Mands The Podcast which covers all things womanhood, wellness, and self-growth in an honest, uncensored way. I upload a new episode every Monday and would love to see you guys over there!