How do you spend "quality time" with yourself?
A lot of us tend to over-extend ourselves and lose ourselves in other people and activities.
Maybe you're feeling fried from a super social week. Or your family was staying with you and you finally have your place to yourself again. Whatever the case, you're craving "me time".
"Me time" is generally seen as anything you do by yourself. But just spending time alone doesn't mean it's quality.
Anyone who has gone down an IG k-hole knows what I'm talking about. 45 minutes go by, your foot's asleep, your eyes are dry AF and somehow it got dark without you realizing it. You weren’t spending time with yourself because you pretty much disappeared into your phone.
But what about if you're treating yourself to a meal by yourself? Or getting your hair/nails done? Or hiking out in nature? Or working out? Surely those are considered quality time with oneself, right?
Most of what we do as "me time" are really just more distractions from being with ourselves.
I believe that spending quality time with yourself must include these two things:
Being curious, kind, and caring towards yourself.
Focusing inward on your internal experience.
If you're missing either of these, you're not spending quality time with yourself.
Think of it this way: It's like you live with a perpetual roommate: You. Neither of you can ever move out. And you will live together—all up in each other's shit—forever.
How do you treat your roommate? Do you get pissed off at them and yell at them for being messy or lazy? Do you argue with them about petty things? Do you think they're really boring? Do you hate the worries and issues they always seem to bring up and wish they'd just drop it? Do you try to ignore them as much as possible by filling your time with distractions or other obligations?
If you're one of those people who "just can't stand being alone", it's very likely because you are treating yourself very poorly.
Spending quality time with yourself means treating yourself like you would a good friend.
Ask yourself stuff that you would ask a friend, and truly listen to and care about what they say.
"How are you, friend? Tell me all about what you've been up to!"
"Is everything OK? You seem kinda down. What's been bothering you lately?"
"I'm concerned about you. What do you need, and how can I help?"
Yes, I mean literally have a conversation with yourself. You can talk to yourself silently, you can talk out loud, or you can write it out in a journal.
No, you're not crazy. We're all talking to ourselves all the time already. But mostly what we say is repetitive, negative, and prompted by outside stimuli.
Instead, have a real, respectful, engaged conversation with yourself. You'll be surprised how natural it feels.
Which brings me to my next point - your focus must be inward for it to count as quality time with yourself.
That means directing your attention inside yourself: Your mind, your heart, your body, your soul. It helps to close your eyes.
Imagine your attention is a flashlight. Shine it inside of you. Explore your inner home. Go into those rooms you haven't entered in a while. Brush aside those cobwebs. Take stock of what's in those closets. Check for mold.
Face yourself plainly and without fear. Care about what you see even if you don't like it. Because that is you. Be with it.
It's easiest to do this as a meditation. Simply close your eyes and go inside.
But even if you're doing something active, like jogging, you can still tune into yourself. Get curious. Be interested in how your body, heart and mind are responding to the experience. And don't forget to be kind to whatever you find.
Quality time with yourself means raising the quality of the time you spend with yourself.
Not only do you start to like yourself better, but you also get to know yourself better.
If you want to understand stuff like who you really are, the kind of work you should be doing, what your purpose is, what you're passionate about—all of those big, important questions, it starts with your ability to spend quality time with yourself.