Living with family or friends can be a mixed blessing at the moment, with many of us working from home and sharing our space with others 24/7. Feelings of gratitude to have human contact and companionship can sometimes be overshadowed by frustration at the lack of personal space, with the introverts amongst us feeling desperate for some time to ourselves.
Whether you just need 10 minutes headspace, or you long for a few hours to feel truly alone with your thoughts, we’ve got some ideas to help you to carve out some me-time in even the busiest of homes.
It’s easy to assume that because you’re feeling this way, others in your household feel that way too, so they’ll just know and give you the space you need, right?! Wrong! They might be happier than ever, spending every moment of every day with you. Or they may in fact depend on you and don’t want any time apart. Tell them how you are feeling, talk about it.
Chances are, if you live together, you like each other, right? So telling someone you love that you need them to back off can be tricky. Choose a calm time to talk about it, not when you feel like pulling your hair out! And don’t make a big deal out of it... “So, I’m thinking tonight I’ll grab some quiet time alone to read my book.” Keep it casual, so that it’s not seen as a judgement of your relationship.
No matter how tactful you are, if you’re a parent you’ll know that approach won’t work with your kids! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so set your alarm and get up before everyone else. Half an hour might be all it takes to set you up for the day with a quiet cup of coffee, a run or an online yoga session. It's a wonderful secret, trust us.
If you get up earlier, you also have the perfect excuse to head off to bed earlier. Leave the noise behind and seek the sanctuary of your bedroom. You don’t have to get off to sleep straight away... read a book or jot down some thoughts in a journal to calm your mind before you drop off.
Extend your morning or night time beauty routine as a way to grab some more time alone. Lock the bathroom door and add the extra steps you usually don’t have time for, or go all out and treat yourself to a mini-spa experience at home with a candlelit bath and apply a luxury face mask. You’re worth it!
If you’re pottering in the kitchen, then no one will think twice about pulling up a chair and chatting with you. But if you set yourself up in a quiet room with the lights dimmed and a soothing playlist playing - and shut the door! - chances are they’ll think twice before crashing in on your me-time.
Depending on your circumstances, you might just have to grab that precious me-time whenever the opportunity presents itself, so be prepared. Add that Netflix show to your favourites, so you don’t waste time scrolling. Download your podcast so all you have to do is hit play. Don’t waste time - they’ll be back before you know it!
Make time every day to get out of the house if you can. A walk alone with your thoughts - a little social distance if you will - can help you to reconnect with nature and clear your mind. Or maybe use the time to listen, uninterrupted, to your favourite music or an inspiring podcast.
If you’re still struggling to find some peace and quiet, maybe it’s time for a not so subtle sign - grab your headphones and block out the noise. Whether you want to listen to music or catch up with the latest Netflix series, the headphones are a clear visual sign that you don’t want to chat with anyone right now.
As crazy as it sounds, planning time together could also mean you get more time alone. If you have times when you all come together, whether it’s for dinner, a movie or a walk, then you’re showing your family and friends that you do enjoy their company and they are less likely to feel left out when you take some time to yourself. Agree to sit down at the table together at 7pm and then go off and enjoy your individual quiet times first!