How to Spend Time By Yourself: By Marissa Likar, Stitch Clinic

How to Spend Time By Yourself: By Marissa Likar

Better Life

Busy work schedules, family commitments, and keeping up with social media typically fill our days to the max. But what about those days when you are alone, spending some quality time by yourself? How do you fill those hours? Are they a rare treat that you look forward to or are they quickly becoming the norm and you dread the loneliness?

How you choose to spend your time alone can have impact the tone of your day, week, or month—or even further. Unproductive hours go by very quickly when you are falling down the rabbit hole our internet and television habit have become. Entertainment can only go so far to fill any void felt when others are not around.

But what should I do instead?

There are a few things to ask yourself when given these precious hours. Do you have a direction or goal you would like to work towards? Do you want to feel accomplished? Are you feeling lonely and want a distraction? Do you want to relax? Practicing an old hobby or learning a new one is a great way to feel fulfilled and less lonely when spending time by yourself.

Need a hobby? Try crafting:

Are you the creative type? Or do you want to try something new?

Knitting is an example of how a specific type of crafting can be beneficial when spending time alone. Knitting is a relaxing and scientifically proven way to feel calm. It is also well documented to fight anxiety and depression, which people often experience when they feel lonely.

Any kind of fiber-related craft (such as knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, or sewing) or another craft-related hobby can help if you are willing to give it a try. Learning a new skill is an amazing way to spend time by yourself. Your mind will be so busy concentrating on practicing the skill that the lonely hours will fly by. Not only that, but you will have the satisfaction of having made something with your own hands! When the world feels out of control, working with your hands is a simple but powerful strategy for staying grounded.

Don’t think you are the creative type or don’t want to try something that has the perception of being gender-specific? Give it a try anyway! So many of us are afraid to take the steps to learn something new because it feels too far out of our comfort zone to even attempt. If you think it is not worth the effort or need some inspiration to get started, listen to this: There was a knitting program called Knitting Behind Bars founded and run by Lynn Zwerling that was successful for over 12 years for prisoners in Maryland. Knitting offered the prisoners help in many ways. Just from this simple craft, they learned how to set goals, tame their anger, and take pride in their work, among other benefits. This growth was achieved through a craft that so many people only associate with Grandmas! If something as simple as learning a new skill is enough to help prisoners find calm in their lives, imagine what it can do for curing a little lonely time?

What if I’m afraid of learning something new?

If you are a perfectionist, you may have an inexplicable fear of starting something new. This fear can be overcome, but as with everything else, it is easier said than done. The saying, “Finished is better than perfect,” will likely help you get through this fear of creating. So many perfectionists have a mental wall standing between them and their work because they are afraid of messing up. Give yourself permission to be bad at something! Spending time on your hobbies simply because you want to and they make you happy—not because you have to reach a certain standard of success—can be so freeing. And don’t forget: if you take up knitting, it’s just loops of yarn that you can unravel! There’s no harm in starting again.

What do I do with what I make?

Not only is the process of picking out a project and working on it a purposeful way to spend time, having something in hand that you have created and can either use yourself, give to someone you love, or give to a complete stranger to show them kindness can have a strong positive impact on your emotions. Creating for others even while spending time alone can help make those hours feel less lonely and more meaningful.

What do I do now?

If you are ready to take the first step towards productive alone time, think about the crafts you have done or seen in your life. Do any of them spark an old interest or warm memories? Keep in mind what you have easy access to and the amount of storage space in your home. Knitting only requires a few simple supplies and a bit of yarn, so a book bag or tote bag is all the space needed to bust your boredom and lose the loneliness.

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