To socialize or Not to socialize?

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself”. 
– Laurence Sterne

Many people assume that getting out of a slump requires you to be more social. In this hyperconnected society, this leads to people constantly looking for ways to cramp their schedule by meeting people, going to social events, and keeping up with social media outlets. However, after attempts to feel relaxed and improve mood, many find themselves feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and demotivated. There is no doubt that social connections are a necessary component for your mental and emotional wellbeing. In fact, we are social beings, created to connect and cultivate healthy relationships. Doing so gives us a sense of joy, belonging, confidence, and purpose. While the lack of these connections does the exact opposite, pushing us further into self-doubt, isolation and feeling low.

So, what is the correct answer to this dilemma, to socialize or not to socialize?

We propose finding the right dosage of social connecting that is healthy for your individual optimal wellbeing. It’s about knowing when to embrace solitude and when to come back to people.  If you are an extrovert and feel charged in the presence of people then this article can be a source or information to help out your more introverted friends and family. However, you may also like what you read and find that you also benefit from some solo time. Especially because you may encounter situations in life where people are not always present, and you’re forced to be solo. After all, the most important relationship you can ever have is the relationship you have with yourself.

Here are some benefits of why people embrace solitude:

  • You get to ask yourself what do I need?
  • You get to pick how you chose to recharge your energy
  • You get to express yourself authentically
  • You learn to like to be with yourself
  • You learn self-compassion
  • You learn to give yourself time
  • You get to follow yourself, rather than a crowd
  • You can become more self-aware by tending to your emotions
  • You rely on yourself when no one is around

If you struggle to cultivate healthy solitude, then try following the 5 suggestions below, which I enjoy on a regular basis. Whatever activities you chose, ensure that you are enjoying them and slowly you will learn to look forward to your own company.

  1. Go for a jog or walk: this is where you get to do things at your own pace. Think a problem out, or don’t think at all. You can brainstorm through something, or you can simply focus on the run. The choice is yours.
  2. Find a local farmer’s market or a festival: take a leisurely walk, buy yourself fresh flowers, honey or anything you fancy. Be curious about things people are selling, or the various sounds of music, laughter, animals, or voices.
  3. Experiment with a new recipe: find something that looks yummy to make and cook that for yourself. Paying attention to the fragrances, colours, textures and ultimately doing something special for yourself will bring you joy.
  4. Go on a short road trip: whether you can drive an hour away or take the bus somewhere, find a place you can explore. I usually go downtown Toronto, where it’s busy. I get lost in the sounds, people, lights, things from different cultures
  5. Do something creative: I recently signed up for a tube art class. At the end of 3 hours, I was very surprised to have created a beautiful piece of art. Whether you like to draw, paint, dance, play there are many options.

Remember, doing things solo does not require that you isolate yourself and disconnect from people and places. It simply means that you can be amongst people and yet enjoy being alone.  It means that when no one is around you can find joy in doing things for and with yourself.