Alone and Loving It

With the health and wellness movement on the rise, self-care is in the spotlight.


Photo by Riley Brandt

Riley Brandt walking in front of a creative mural representing a tree of life. Brandt has emphasized to others the positive changes she has seen in her life from practicing self-care.

Is there a difference between loneliness and spending time alone? With the health and wellness movement on the rise, self-care is in the spotlight. Spending time alone is becoming more normalized, and giving many a better lifestyle. 

It is important to note that everyone has felt lonely before. Loneliness is an emotion that is felt when one feels like their true self is not understood or seen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that feeling lonely occurs when spending time alone. 

The word “alone” has a very negative connotation. Often, hearing the word is followed with a feeling of sadness. “Alone”, though, is not a negative thing, rather just a state of being. Spending quality time with oneself has amazing health benefits, including combating loneliness. 

In order to build a relationship with someone, it is important to spend time with them. Same goes for knowing oneself. Developing a relationship helps find out more about one’s thoughts, habits, and passions. Self-care is a very crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. 

This can take many forms: journaling, meditating, exercising, and even reading are just a few. The thing that makes self-care fitting for everyone though, is that it is easily accessible and can vary in time commitment.

The secret to spending time alone: intentionality. Many people feel their lives are too busy to be able to spend time focusing on themselves, but in some cases self-care only needs a few minutes. Senior Riley Brandt finds self-care in the little moments she can.

“For me it’s the small things like taking a bath, shaving my legs, or going to buy a new chapstick,” Brandt said. “Just taking time to do things and not saving them for another day gives myself that self validation that I am worthy of self-love.”

English teacher Amber Sims also believes that self-care can come in the little moments. This semester she introduced “two-word check-ins” to her English classes. This allows students to sit with their thoughts, take some deep breaths, and articulate their feelings into two words. Taking the time to not let feelings derail students’ thoughts is beneficial for them, helping them listen to their bodies and minds on what they need. 

“When we don’t give language to what we are feeling, it’s hard to respond in a way that is helpful,” Sims said. 

For Sims, spending time alone was a habit that she learned in high school and college. It wasn’t called self-care at the time, but it served the same purpose, centering her focus in order to have a good day. 

“I called it quiet time,” Sims said. “It can be challenging to find time, but even if you run late or whatever, you are so much better off for the rest of the day.”

Taking time for oneself increases a person’s mental and physical health significantly. There is a shift to a positive mindset that occurs when practicing self-care. One of the biggest results of self-care is an increase in confidence, along with a large decrease in stress. It creates a change for the better. 

“There’s days when I struggle to eat, but when I’m showering and taking care of my body, it makes me want to eat more,” Brandt said. “It makes me want to see a change.”

Thinking over one’s feelings allows for an opportunity to see change in oneself. Sophomore Courtney Hagestad saw the benefits of meditation within her life, calming her anxiety. 

“My mind is in 17 different places and I feel like I have no control over everything,” Hagestad said. “After meditating I feel more calm and I am able to be more focused, and for tennis, my head is really clear.”

Another benefit is that self-care strengthens the relationships in the lives of those around oneself. The newfound self-confidence and happiness allows the mind to have more ability to love. It is also proven to grow independence, which in the long-run leads to higher levels of success.

“Self-care made me realize that there’s many people I am going to talk to for five seconds of their life, so why wouldn’t I just be nice because it could change their day completely,” Hagestad said. 

Time alone does not have to look a specific way. A small step to take to start practicing self-care is to just listen to the body, especially people who are very extroverted. Just like everything else in life, it takes practice to learn to love to be with oneself. The more you do it, the more you are going to feel comfortable.

“I think you can start small and just say I’m going to be intentional about listening to what I need,” Sims said. 

For some, this requires a certain playlist in the background or candles to be lit. Others, it looks like a walk around the block in complete silence. It doesn’t have to be a routine or look a certain way. Time alone should be filled with things that are enjoyable, and not conformity.

Self care is worth the time. It’s okay to acknowledge what you need and to respond properly. It is a small habit that can change one’s life for the better. 

With all of these benefits, it is clear to see that loneliness and being alone are very different. Loneliness is a feeling, while being alone is an important technique to learn in order to be healthier and happier.