I would definitely consider myself to be an ambivert: I love spending time with my friends and family, but I also really value my alone time. Before the pandemic, when I was a senior in high school, I took all the alone time I could get. I had a packed schedule, so I took any chance I could to watch Netflix, take a nap, or just listen to music and decompress. Sure, I probably seemed like a recluse half the time, but I needed my “me time!”
When the pandemic hit, I suddenly found myself spending much more time by myself than before. At first, it was great: I got to catch up on sleep, binge my favorite movies, and watch TikToks for as long as I wanted. Like the saying goes, though, there can be too much of a good thing. After a while, I got tired of spending more time by myself without seeing friends at school or dance classes every day.
I had finally gotten lonely.
There was an easy fix for this. I made more plans with my friends (COVID-19-safe, of course), and I spent more time with my family. Both of these were super helpful for lowering my increasing levels of boredom, but it didn’t help with my newfound aversion to being by myself. Like I said, I hold my alone time near and dear, so I knew I needed to reclaim it. I didn’t want to stare at a screen anymore, so I tried doing more engaging things. I started reading more, I got into painting, I tried a new workout routine, and I drove around listening to my favorite music. This made all the difference; I was having fun again.
Putting in effort with yourself is just as important as any other relationship, and once I put in the effort to do things I actually wanted to do rather than just sit on my phone or watch TV, I fell in love with my alone time again. Don’t get me wrong, Netflix still has my heart, but I think it’s a good thing that I can do more than just scroll through TikTok and not get bored or lonely. Now, I make sure to balance the time I spend with friends and family with the time I spend by myself in a way that works for me.
I think it’s super important to protect your alone time and make sure you’re capable of hanging out on your own. We’re all going to be on our own at one point or another, so I think it’s a pretty worthwhile skill to have. So, the next time you realize you’ve been watching YouTube for embarrassingly long, maybe try out a new independent hobby, join a new gym, or pick up a new book. Balance your alone time with hanging with friends and family so you don’t have too much of a good thing. Don’t let it get to the point where you resent your alone time – make the effort to spend time with yourself in a way that’s fun for you, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.