Staring up at the afternoon sky, a smile crept across my face as I peacefully rested on the surface of the Dead Sea. I stretched my arms and legs even further apart, becoming more like a floating starfish than a person who typically sinks in water. It was incredible to consider the sheer physics of it all. Salinity v. Gravity. Mind-blowing!
Since we moved abroad nearly three months ago, we’ve been so busy adjusting to life in a new part of the world. We haven’t taken a lot of time to slow down. Now, peacefully floating in the lowest place on earth, I realized how much my body and mind were craving stillness…and I soaked it in!
It wasn’t until I was simply floating – not doing, solving, or fixing anything – that weeks of tired stress melted off my body and dissolved into the salty waters below. It was one of the most liberating, powerful feelings I’ve ever experienced. All while I was doing absolutely nothing.
Even if you didn’t just experience a major life transition, you can probably relate to feeling stressed or over-burdened by obligations. Powering through your ever-connected, goal-oriented, super-human workday. All without pausing long enough to even catch your breath… it will leave anyone tired and crave some release.
Maybe you are…
Constantly reacting or responding to things, rather than feeling proactive and playful
Always thinking what still needs to be done and not feeling productive or focused
So busy that you look back on your day and wonder where the time went
Too tired to even consider how to start creating space for one more thing
If any of these sound familiar, I’d like to introduce you to three Secrets of Solitude. Just so you don’t have to wait until you’ve reached your overload point to find some peace and release.
Solitude Secret #1: Inviting stillness into your day allows you to be more active.
While this might sound counter-intuitive, making time to simply be still and pause throughout your day actually is the key to maintaining your energy. According to Energy Management experts, your most fundamental need as a human being is to spend and renew energy. It’s called oscillation. Because your activity and rest patterns are tied to circadian rhythms in your body, it’s important to make time to rest every 90-120 minutes so you can renew and replenish your natural energy. This can be as simple as making time to look outside your window and appreciate nature. It can be something more physical like taking a few deep, cleansing breaths before moving on to the next task.
Solitude Secret #2: Taking time away from people actually improves your relationships.
Even if you’re the biggest extrovert on the planet, you’re bound to experience that point when you just need to be alone in order to collect your thoughts and decompress. Actually, choosing solitude in these moments is essential to maintaining positive connections with those we care for and love. Psychologist and author, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter shares that “by spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.”
Solitude Secret #3: Scheduling in solitude increases your productivity.
Just like making time to disconnect and be still helps to recharge your energy, intentionally choosing moments of solitude over re-engagement works to boost your concentration and increase your productivity! When your days are full of distractions, it’s even more important to schedule in downtime.
So I invite you to try this: Set aside 15 minutes twice a day to simply be with yourself and clear your mind. During this time, there is no set agenda, no task to accomplish. Your goal (if you need one) is to be completely unproductive while doing something that feeds you: Read a chapter of a book you love, go on a walk, take a hot shower, or spend time journaling. Whatever you choose to do, spend this time alone and savor it! When you strive to make time for solitude consistently and routinely, you’ll notice that you’ll become more focused and productive throughout your day.
Like the idea of solitude, but don’t know where to start?
Commit to trying just one of the Solitude Secrets above for one week and notice the difference it makes. I’d love to hear all about it! You don’t have to float in the Dead Sea to escape life’s stress. But if you’d like to come visit us in Jordan, we do have a guest room!