Are you struggling to find time for yourself amidst the chaos of daily life? In this episode of The Fit Mess Podcast, we explore the transformative power of alone time, or "me time," and its potential impact on your mental health and personal growth....
Are you struggling to find time for yourself amidst the chaos of daily life? In this episode of The Fit Mess Podcast, we explore the transformative power of alone time, or "me time," and its potential impact on your mental health and personal growth.
Drawing from Zach's recent experience of going to Disney World alone, we delve into the benefits of not giving a fuck about what others think and exploring your personal interests. Jeremy, who had more alone time than usual while looking after his kids, shares how he discovered increased creativity, quiet time for reflection, and the ambition to do things his way.
Together, we explore the mental health benefits of spending time alone, including improved self-awareness, increased independence, and self-reliance, reduced social anxiety, and reduced stress levels. We also discuss how engaging in solitary activities such as meditation, journaling, or going for a walk can promote mindfulness and boost mental health.
However, we emphasize the importance of balancing alone time with social interactions. Maintaining social relationships is critical for overall mental health and well-being. Incorporating "me time" into your daily routine can help you recharge, prioritize your mental health, and cultivate creativity and mindfulness.
Tune in to this episode of The Fit Mess Podcast to learn more about the benefits of alone time and how it can enhance your mental health and personal growth.
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[00:00:00] have you ever dreamed about a day where you have complete autonomy to do anything you want? Solely because you want to do it. Without the stress or pressure of anyone else's expectations. Imagine a day where you're free to explore your passions, indulge your hobbies. And simply enjoy your own company.
Can you picture it?
Zach: I can say yes to that question, but I know a lot of people can't. So today we're gonna be talking about doing stuff by yourself.
Jeremy: And the many reasons why. It's not only fun, but it's good for your mental health.
Zach, a lot of the things that you do, , baffle me, confuse me. I don't, I don't understand how or why you do a lot of the things you do, but last [00:01:00] week there I was scrolling social media, minding my own business, and I saw you posting pictures of Disney World, which, you know, you're there every other weekend, not completely, uh, out of the ordinary for you.
But I knew you weren't with your daughter, so I had to, I, I had to suspect you were there by yourself, and that seemed like, for a number of reasons, that seemed like the weirdest thing to me. But at the heart of it was like I couldn't do that. I couldn't go to Disney World by myself. Take me through the the decision making process where a middle-aged man is at Disney World by himself.
Zach: Yeah. You know, I think, I think as I say it all out loud and it comes out on the mic, it's, I'm, I, I will have fully moved over into the creepy, old, weird guy mode here. But yes, you actually did text me while I was at Disney World, and you, you were like, are you at Disney [00:02:00] World by yourself? And I was, I don't even think I said yes.
I think I said something to the effect of, hell
Zach: wouldn't? So the backstory here is I had to go to Florida for a work trip and I stopped in Orlando to look at, , properties cuz I'm thinking about buying a place, , somewhere near Disney World because my daughter and I go all the time where annual pass holders, having a place to stay and then being able to go, like, it just makes sense
We looked at all of the houses on Saturday. So I had all day Sunday to kill, and I was right next to Disney World, so I just went. And it actually is pretty easy to go to Disney World by yourself. It is not the first time I've gone to Disney World by myself. I've probably gone five or six times by myself because for a couple of reasons.
Like I love the rides, I love the feeling when I walk through the parks. Simply put, and everyone just assumes that you're there with the family.
Jeremy: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Zach: [00:03:00] super easy, like you got a lightning lane and you just jump in line. You wait, you do the thing. People think that your family's gonna come, , get in line with you or you go in the single rider line and that works out fine.
So, and that, but that's all I did. I rode like 12 or 13 rides, but I hit all four parks in one day. When I don't have kids in tow, I move.
Jeremy: It's amazing the things you can get done when you're by yourself, it, it's kind of, kind of wild. , so a couple, so I'm glad you clarified that. You're an annual, uh, holder, so that makes sense. Like, I've got this thing anyways. It's not an extra expense. so there's that.
One of the things that I found most impressive about it was, Everyone jokes about, , the person who's by themself at whatever event, Disney World.
What I, I was at, I was at a pool with my friends and there was a guy who was there by himself, and my friends were like, can you imagine being the guy, like just hanging out by yourself at the pool? So, I mean, like, people are very aware of that, like the lone dude where there are probably kids and all the, connections that are drawn from that.
So I admire your, I [00:04:00] don't give a fuck ness. To be like, I don't give a fuck what people think. I'm gonna go ride these rides cuz I love it and I'm gonna do it. And that's the other part of this that I found so admirable is that you know yourself enough to go, I love this enough to say, fuck what everybody thinks, I'm gonna go be me and just take up space.
Zach: Yeah, and I also really just, I just don't care what other people think for the most part. I've seen memes of it, and it, it always makes me laugh because, I literally will go into a restaurant and you have two options. You can go sit at a table, you can go sit at a bar. If you're alone, everyone goes to the bar.
Fuck that. I don't wanna sit at the bar. I get a table and I sit by myself in restaurants, eat dinner, and then leave
Jeremy: do you do? What are you doing there though? I, I guess you're on your phone.
Zach: I'm just on my phone or there's usually a TV around, or I'm just watching the people and the scenery and this and that. I go, it doesn't matter. But yeah, no, I, I
Jeremy: were just talking, Cheryl and I were just talking about this, the, the, the going to the restaurant alone thing. I don't think, like I've been to a, like a [00:05:00] cafe. I can, I can rationalize, I can go to a cafe instead of a cafe and have a cup of coffee or whatever. But I can't imagine like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna treat myself to dinner tonight.
I'm going out to a restaurant by myself. It's such a foreign thing for me. It's, and it's not like I'm not criticizing you. I'm, I'm admiring your ability to do it, because I just feel like I would get there and just feel like what? Now? Now, now what do I do? How do I interact with society by myself? This is weird.
Zach: No, I just, I mean, I've made a couple of friends, like I always strike up conversations with people, , weird enough, like they usually sit me down at tables that like right next to me, there's another, person.
Zach: just eating dinner too. But no, I love it. Like when I travel for work, like, I mean, I was in Ireland and like I spent a day in Dublin just by myself. I did the Guinness Tour by myself. I went and , visited all the things by myself. I went into pubs by myself, like did all of it by myself because I just don't care. I think the only thing that like really gets me, like when you're [00:06:00] visiting the city, And you're by yourself if you're the lone person walking down the street.
I do take notice of the fact that if you're by yourself, you should be a resident and you should know what you're doing. So every now and again, I get a little self-conscious that I'm a tourist that should look like they know what they're doing and I don't. So, you know, that, that hits me every now and again.
But no, I know what I like to do. I know what I love and I just, like I said, I used to care so much about what other people think of me. And now I know like the only person that I should truly care about their impression of me is me.
Jeremy: Right. And that's where I struggle the most because I don't care what people, you know, in their restaurant would think. For me, it's just the feeling of like, I don't know what to do with myself. Now it's like I, I had an experience just the other day. I had errands to run. I love running errands by myself.
Oh my God. The things I can get done in an hour, like, if I can just go me in the car, I can get all the shit done, like all of it, and like extra, [00:07:00] but I have missions, right? Like I gotta do this, then I'm gonna do this, then we'll do, it's very clear.
But if I, but if I woke up on a random Sunday morning, With nothing to do, nowhere to be, nobody to please, nobody to take care of.
No, no problems to solve and just went, you can do whatever you want today by yourself. The panic would kick in, the cold sweats, the the nausea. Oh my God, I'm gonna waste this golden opportunity. It's gonna just pass me by. I'm gonna be filled with regret by the end of the day because I don't know what to do with myself.
, that feeling of like that much freedom is intimidating to me.
Zach: Yeah, and I have that. I mean, I definitely have that too. So like , when I'm anywhere and I'm like, oh my gosh, I've got a whole day to do whatever I want. Then I'm on Google. What do you do for a day in this city? What do you do by yourself in this city? ? That decision making process of like, how do I fit in [00:08:00] some things?
What, you know, can I go see everything? Can I go here because it's really a family place? No, I can't, I gotta go do this other thing where, you know, a single person alone would be acceptable. So, no, I get that. I, I totally get that. There's a, there is a stress in planning it because when you go with a family, Or, or a group of people, or even one other person.
It's a totally different story because A, you don't have to like, it's not about you. It's not about looking into yourself. It's not about seeing these things for your own enjoyment, for your own pleasure, for your own, like, I mean, even deeper work, right? 90% of what I do is to keep my kid entertained when we go on vacation, right?
I plan all of that and be like, Hey, this is cool. This is cool. I would love to see that, but she would hate it, so we won't do it.
Zach: So there, there is that level of panic. But I, I've, I've done it so many times. I just, I'm, I come, I'm kind of used to it
Jeremy: See now, I, I did have one experience many, many, many, many, many, many, many years ago that may have tainted [00:09:00] my, enjoyment of doing things alone. I was supposed to meet friends to go to a movie. Now, I don't know if you remember the movie, the Crush with Alicia Silverstone.
Jeremy: I was supposed to meet friends to go to this movie.
I ended up by myself because they no-showed But I had already bought the ticket, so I went anyways. And so there I was, you know, probably, I don't know, 18 years old, like dude by himself watching the crush starring Alicia Silverstone. I felt like the biggest pervert, like I, I think if I had gone to Showgirls by myself, that might have been the only way to, to up that game.
So I think I'm a little traumatized by that experience and that that may be tainting my,
Zach: Oh, come on. That's gotta be a little, that's a little, that's trauma with a little
Jeremy: A little t Little
Zach: t mean, that was a good movie. It was definitely a good movie.
Jeremy: a movie about a creepy dude who is obsessing over teenage girls. And there I was a creepy dude [00:10:00] watching a teenage girl in a movie.
Zach: Right. But you were, you were the
Jeremy: I was also a teenage. I had that coming for me, I think.
Zach: Although I can, I can tell you two movies I've gone and seen by myself. One was a Star Wars movie called Solo.
Jeremy: Okay. But, but in fairness, I think most people would expect dudes to go by themselves to start wars.
Zach: I know I also went to a Star Trek Deep Space, nine documentary by myself. That was, I was the most normal person there.
Zach: It was weird. Really weird.
Jeremy: , the timing of you going to Disney World and me questioning your ability to do things alone was really interesting because my wife has been out of town for the last week, and so I've had more time than usual. And this is the other part, right? Like I've, I've been married for 25 years, so like, I, I haven't had a lot of alone time and, you know, for more than half of my life.
But in the last week, my wife's been gone, the kids have been at school, so I've had more independence, I've had more freedom to sort of just do whatever occurs to me at the moment or whatever I feel like doing. And it is interesting, , when you have that space, [00:11:00] how much the energy that you would normally put into, you know, making sure that the family things are done, making sure everyone's where they need to be, doing the things they need to do.
When it's all sort of done and there's downtime. I've had, I've had this like creativity that's come back. I've had this like, time to sort of spend on, on finding what, what am I interested in doing? What am I having fun doing now that I'm by myself here for a few days? So it is interesting and I think there is a ton of benefit in intentionally, you know, we talk a lot about self-care and part of the self-care routine we talk about is making time for yourself. But like intentionally, I think doing things alone, making that time to intentionally just be alone and not have to worry about other people's needs. I think there's so much value in that, and I've experienced it firsthand this week, and it's just so funny that it came after making fun of you for going to Disney World by yourself.
Zach: No, it is, you're, you're absolutely right. I mean, as most people know, I live by myself. Half the week, my ex-wife and I, we share [00:12:00] custody of my daughter. , she's here half the week. So the other half of the week I am by myself and I wake up on, , typically Sunday mornings, cuz Saturdays are fully planned and, you know, work days and stuff like that.
But Sunday morning's, like I just wake up and just like, Hmm, what are we gonna do today? Well, maybe we'll go to yoga. Maybe we'll take some time , for myself. But like Saturday mornings, It's so interesting. Like I have my whole Saturday morning to myself, but I go to the gym and then I get lunch with a couple of friend or like a breakfast I guess there's a word for that brunch with my friends.
, and then we all go to yoga and sometimes I do two classes of yoga until like noon or one o'clock. Like half the day just spent on me, me time doing things that are good for me and like that inner self-reflection. And then I get home at the end of the day and I'm like, oh, well what am I gonna do today?
Like, it's just, it. It really is kind of a nice, maybe I have a little bit too much of it now, but really nice to have those moments by yourself and that , deep reflection, [00:13:00] like you become a better version of yourself when you have those moments to be able to do that.
Jeremy: Yeah. And that's, that's really what we're getting at here, is that there are tons of, , mental health benefits to spending time alone intentionally, , in including, as we've already mentioned, increased creativity that improves self-awareness. The, the increased independence too, I think is so important.
Perhaps the biggest reason that I should start forcing myself to do things, , by myself is , just reducing the social anxiety, right?
Because that, that ultimately is, what this comes down to is I can't wrap my head around putting myself out there in public, in a restaurant and movie theater or something by myself because of , the fear that I have around it. So, , I'm gonna take this as a challenge to myself that I should do this cuz , this is one of those things where, , the obstacle is the way, this is a, a struggle for me.
So I think it's a challenge I need to take on.
Zach: I think you should, and you can, and again, more context for people. I have really, really bad anxiety, like crippling anxiety sometimes, and a lot of it is social anxiety. And I do [00:14:00] these things so anyone can do 'em. You can do
Jeremy: and, and sounds like more of us should. And with that, that is another episode of the Fit MAs podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Uh, we will continue this conversation in our newsletter. I hope you'll subscribe there. We like to offer not only further context on these kinds of topics, but we often share bonus clips from our interviews and things like that.
You can get those only through the newsletter. Please sign up for firstname.lastname@example.org. That is where we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listening
Zach: See everyone. I'm going to Disney World.
Jeremy: alone. What a freak.
Zach: I already paid for it.
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