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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Halfway through university, I realized that the mere thought of having to spend time away from my friends or partner sent shivers down my spine and overwhelmed me with wave after wave of anxiety. The constant socialization I had experienced in residence had made it impossible for me to be alone with my thoughts and simply do things on my own. 

As someone who hates the idea of relying on anyone but myself, I decided it was time to isolate myself and learn how to enjoy my own company again. And while this proved a lot harder than I had anticipated, this process helped me rediscover myself and even aspects of my personality I had never known. 

Growing up, I was always the unapologetically loud child, finding solace in being surrounded by friends. Parties and constant chatter filled my days; I thrived through the eyes and opinions of others, which created this constant need for company and muted my own wants.

However, as I entered adulthood and started university, I also started realizing a subtle shift within myself; social interactions left me feeling hollow the second the door of my residence room closed. I couldn’t find myself without the company of others, their conversations filling my head and completely shutting out any other thought. 

The reality was that spending so much time with others helped quiet the constant buzz of anxiety that overwhelmed my mind whenever I found myself alone. But as I slowly started dipping my toes into the water of alone time, I realized how beneficial it could be to find my voice again and face my more negative thoughts. 

Scientifically, this situation is far from unique; psychology has long ago highlighted how alone time can be greatly beneficial. Psychology and behavioural website VeryWellMind states that “being around other people comes with rewards, but it also creates stress. You might worry about what people think or alter your behaviour to avoid rejection and to fit in with the rest of the group. While this may be the cost of being part of a social world, some of these challenges demonstrate why alone time can be so important.”

Solitude has also been proven to improve emotional regulation and stress management, allowing people to develop a deeper understanding of their thoughts and feelings. Without the distractions of socialization and the need to fit in, I slowly started discovering more and more about myself. Living at my own pace and taking the time to enjoy hobbies I had long abandoned proved to be one of the best decisions I had ever made regarding my mental health journey. 

One of the most transformative results of this experiment I conducted on myself was how much I discovered about myself. Out of the spotlight I had desperately tried to keep myself in all my life, I acknowledged much more of my personality than I ever could have around my friends and partner. 

Self-care practices like journaling and going on long walks with my dog helped me face my thoughts and reaffirm who I was and what I believed in. Freed from the constant expectations of others, I rediscovered pursuing habits simply for the sake of enjoying them instead of trying to follow the herd. 

Overall, deciding to spend more time alone for the sake of my mental health was nothing short of crucial as a young adult. What began as a process out of necessity to gain back my independence turned out to be something I desperately needed, and it transformed me for the better. 

I would highly recommend adopting habits like booking a few days a month out of your busy calendar to spend on your own and on your own terms. The benefits of such days far outweigh the solitude you initially feel and will help you access some part of yourself you will never find in any friendship or romantic relationship. Ultimately, the only way to truly know yourself is by getting to know your mind and spending time on your own every once in a while.

Claire Dufourd

Toronto MU '25

Claire Dufourd is currently in her third year of the journalism program at Toronto Metropolitan University. When she is not chasing leads or reporting on the latest news, you can find her sipping on a strong cup of coffee, enjoying long walks in the Annex, Toronto, or spending time with her beloved golden retriever, Bailey.