Once a summer I get a week by myself at a cottage in northern Ontario. The idea of being somewhere all by myself, with just me to take care of (plus a dog and a cat), fills me with anticipation. The very mention that someone might “drop by” and make sure I’m not “lonely” makes me want to lie about my whereabouts. I’ll be very clear here: I’m a mother of five children and work full-time most of the other 51 weeks in the year. I want to be alone!
But when my family has said goodbye and there I am, on my own, I start feeling a bit deserted. It’s at that moment that time slows up.
An hour on your own is two hours in time slowed up
An hour completely on your own, for some reason, goes a lot slower than that same hour with a household full of people. This is especially true when you know that after the hour is up, you’ll still be on your own. 24 hours spreads out as, well, 24 hours.
There are some short term habits I develop, once on my own, and these help stretch out time by putting hours back in my day. First of all, I get up much earlier in the day when I’m by myself. Not sure why, but I’ve usually slept better and somehow when I wake up and know I’m in charge of my day, I don’t feel the need to stay in bed. I also remain awake later at night, reading, watching television, working on a project. And when I ask my husband—on his own in the city during the evenings—he’ll tell me the same. Without each other, we actually put in a longer day.
Make yourself a little lonesome and a bit bored
There is some research to suggest that boredom and depression can make time go past more slowly. I’m certainly not depressed when I’m on my glorious week by myself, but I admit, I do get a little bored. By the end of the week I can honestly say that it’s been the longest week of the year. I’m rested, ready for “people” again, and clearly, have slowed time up for several days.
So for busy people who find that time is going by too quickly, try some time alone. A few hours are okay but see if you can get a few days, even a week. Try to make it somewhere that’s somewhat disconnected to the world so your normally busy, social life is reduced to quiet, and yes, a little bit of boredom.
After a day or so, you’ll feel like you’ve gained back a month!