The Importance of Alone Time for Creatives (And Others Too)

Aloneness and loneliness don’t have to feel the same. Here are some tips for turning the feelings created by the current pandemic (as well as by many other events and situations) into assets instead of liabilities.

by Beth Skwarecki

There’s a name for the feeling of sadness we get if we spend too much time alone: We are lonely. But what about the negative feelings that can come from not spending enough time alone?

A team of psychologists, led by Robert Coplan at Carleton University, has proposed a name for that, too: alonely. As in, the opposite of lonely. We need to balance our alone time with our social time, and the right balance is probably different for everybody. This may be a more helpful framework for understanding our needs than trying to shove ourselves into an introvert/extrovert binary.

So, what can you do about your aloneliness? The first step is acknowledging the problem: you are alonely if you need more alone time than you manage to get. Coplan and colleagues’ main tool to discover aloneliness was a simple questionnaire asking people whether they agree with statements like ““I wish I could just be by myself more often.” With a little introspection, you can probably figure out whether you are, in fact, alonely.

If you are, you might feel “irritable, overwhelmed, or drained,” Psychology Today notes….

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