When was the last time you checked your standards?
We are more apt to do hours of research to choose a quality eating establishment or Airbnb than to set boundaries for those who text us, who take us on dates, who we easily give our time.
Have you taken time to look at the standard of living you have set for yourself, not only with the people you surround yourself with, but also your career, your leisure, your environment, your finances? You may not even realize you have set these standards. Maybe you need to pause and evaluate.
In the journey of “knowing thyself”, there must be intentional solitude – a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people.
There must be time for you to understand why things need to change or gain momentum in your life. There needs to be space away from others to help gauge how the people you choose to surround yourself with affect your well-being.
Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the allusions of the false self. – Peter Scazzero
As we take intentional steps to raise the standards of what we allow into our lives, we need to better understand what healthy solitude can look like.
I have listed ways to purposefully use the time that you set aside for solitude:
- Quiet – As much as possible, I find it helpful to silence those things around you that tempt you out of this quality time of solitude, such as your phone, television, neighbors, pets, your phone (yes, that one is worth repeating). Possibly turn on calming music or white noise to drown out the sounds and things around that you cannot do anything about.
Put on your comfy clothes, dim the lights a bit, brew a cup of coffee or tea and settle into the space in your home that brings you most comfort. Quiet is not just about sound, it is also about removing anything that can distract you.
- Take a short nap – I love the Calm app and using the nap stories; 30 minutes of deliberate sleep to clear the mind and give you rest.
- Journal – As I wrote about a couple days ago, sometimes the simple act of writing your thoughts on paper can ease a troubled mind. List what distracts you, what gives you life, who brings you happiness and who often leaves you concerned or frazzled. Maybe you are not good with words. Doodle or draw what you are experiencing in the solitude.
- Go for a walk – Any time out in nature is healing to the soul. If you are blessed to live near a park or trail, put your exercise clothes on and head to the trail. Simply take a walk around your neighborhood if a trail is a bit of a drive. When I walk outside, I try my best to be mindful of my senses – enjoy watching the animals go about their business, feel the breeze, notice the seasonal changes of the plants, breath in and out.
- Rearrange your furniture – I live in a small apartment and there are not many ways I can configure the furniture. But, when I do move my sofa and living room pieces there is something so satisfying and renewing about the experience.
- Meal Prep – If you know me, I am not much of a cook, but I completely understand the pleasure and calming quality of time spent mindfully chopping veggies, cracking eggs and baking brownies (especially that last one!). And then, of course, there is the joy of eating what you have prepared! Use the time to practice a meal that you can then cook for a friend who brings you life (as you wrote down in your journaling).
- Quiet time with God – Get away with God. It is a valuable and needed part of solitude; in the moments when it is simply you and God, you can work towards connection and intimacy with your Creator and the Lover of your soul. Use your Bible as a guide to find scriptures of praise or lament, or simply sit in His presence.
- YOUR TURN – I would LOVE for you to add your ideas in the comments… what have you done in your times of solitude to help raise your standards?
Do not be afraid of the time that frees up while you better understand the standards you should “reset” in your life. You will step away from some relationships. You may need to set up a temporary “time out” in your budget limiting your funds. You could become a home body for a season. Use all of these changes to raise the standard in which you deserve to live. I dare say, love yourself enough to allow all of this to take root and become a catalyst for change in you and change in those around you. When you work to better yourself, those around you take notice.
I have included links to some other blogs about solitude in hopes that you will be inspired and resourced to use the time of solitude as intentional self care and growth.
- https://nicoleomeara.blog/the-blog/1208 – Using Your Enneagram Number to Practice Solitude
This post sat in my drafts for about a week as I could not figure out how to close. The thing is, I opened it up again and was a bit gut punched. I needed to read this today. I needed this TODAY, not last week. Timing is important!