I have always needed time alone. This surprises a lot of people because I’m a total chatterbox and am very seldom caught doing anything on my own. But alone time is how I decompress. And sometimes this is needed every few weeks, and sometimes, every few days.

Growing up, I decompressed in one of three ways:
* On weeknights, I would grab a notebook and a regular book and perch myself on my parent’s front porch. I would read and write until it got dark, occasionally breaking to say hi to the neighbours who walked by with their dogs.
* Mostly on weekends in the summer, I would head outside into my parent’s detached sunroom where we strung up a hammock. I’d bring out my quilt, my pillow and my book and spend countless hours on that thing. I would read, then fall asleep, wake up and read some more.
* I was almost nocturnal as a teenager. I loved staying up late with a book, and Norah Jones playing lightly on my CD player. I could stay up all night like this.

Then I moved out, and finding that time was harder. When I had my apartment with my roommate, there was no great outdoors to go sit and read, or take some deep breaths of fresh air. I would sit in my little room with a mug of coffee and read late into the evening.

When my fiancé and I moved to Toronto, this became even harder. We do live in a house (someone else’s, but still) with a backyard, but we are in middle of a very busy, family neighbourhood. Last summer, I brought out a beer, a book and a lawn chair and became subject to many odd and inquiring looks as my neighbours passed by with their kids, dogs or just walking home alone. Not exactly that peaceful escape I was hoping for.  Also, I live with my fiancé, so we are normally home at the same time and generally end up in the same room.


So sometimes, when I really need it, I will barricade myself in the bedroom with alone time supplies: baked goods, coffee, my laptop, a stack of books I’m contemplating reading, my book journal, a regular notebook, and my pjs. I light a candle that smells like something homey (to me, that is a wood fire – it’s a soy candle, so don’t worry, no trees were hurt during the making of this alone time). Then, I sit.

The past two weeks have been difficult for myself, and for the people in my life, for varying reasons. I haven’t been able to write much, read much, or do much of anything. My head has been elsewhere the majority of the time. So today, on my day off, I am sitting in bed with a total of 19 books, notebooks and my coffee and I plan to decompress. Yesterday, I cleaned and I baked (two things that NEED to come before decompressing) and today, I plan to read an entire book. I’m hoping that tomorrow when I get up, I’ll feel a little more like myself, and a little more put together. Until then, I am going to read and drink too much coffee for the remaining hours of my afternoon.

I would love to hear how you guys decompress and if you are a needer of alone time, like me. Hope you are all having a great start to your week!


9 thoughts on “Decompressing

  1. Oh man, I totally feel you. I think if more people realized the value of alone time, the world would probably be a kinder place.

    Your childhood sounds friggin’ IDEAL! I was the oldest of 6 – luckily I had my own room. I find it’s harder to come by alone time now, ever since I started living with a boy. I get flex days so I try and schedule them so that I can actually have the place to myself. Sometimes I don’t mention them to my husband until the night before, all casual “oh I’m flexing tomorrow” so I know he can’t go and book the day off to spend together (a nice gesture but…)

    When the weather is a little warmer, I will sit outside on our (tiny) balcony and read there.

    If I have the place to myself, I bogart the Netflix. Otherwise, I find that my nose in a book will do the trick. I’m fairly adept at tuning out the rest of the world (see: I grew up with 5 brothers and sisters) but a book is a necessity.

    I suspect you, like me, are an extroverted introvert. People always think I’m lying when I say I’m actually very shy but I am! Sometimes the world is just too much for me.

    I hope today is just what you needed!

    • :).

      Your husband sounds a lot like my fiancé. He does the exact same thing. And 5 siblings sounds like a lot to handle! We’ve got to take the alone time where we can get it lol.

      I like the term extroverted introvert! I’ve never heard it and think it is absolutely perfect and accurate. I’ve always had a hard time identifying myself as one or the other.

      Netflix is also a very nice decompressor! And your balcony sounds heavenly.

      And yes, I completely agree about the world being a kinder place if more people took some personal time out. Time to take deep breaths and think things through, or immerse yourself in a good story and stop thinking, if that’s what you need.

      Love that entire comment!

  2. Your formula for decompressing sounds A LOT like mine. I’m sure it drives my husband nuts, but I often do the barricading thing on weekends because I need a little time away from everyone. He doesn’t complain though. In truth, he needs similar down time.

    • Gah – I’m so late in replying! I do the barricading on weekends too. And you’re totally right. The guys need that time too, so sometimes the self-barricading gives us both what we need!

  3. Hi Chels & everyone, I love the way you described your “you time”, it sounds perfect. I have been sorta forced into quite a bit of decompress time due to a muscle disease that has put me at home. So I can’t ask, or want, any more. But I have been able to sort some things through by reading what you’ve wrote & I can see more clearly how I can make better use of all the time I do have. The key for me is to write & read with less distractions. So thanks! My blog is in its infant stages; I hope to be adding to it. But its great to find some people with common interests.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Brian! Sorry to hear about your muscle disease. I hope you are okay! I think everyone has their “me time” in different ways, so whatever makes you the most happy :).

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  5. Hi, Chelsey. I really enjoyed reading this entry. I, too, am a needer of alone time. My fiance does as well. I usually accomplish my me time by marathoning YT videos. My fiance sometimes doesn’t understand my need to be in bed during those times, but I think I will better explain it with your use of the term “barricading.” I also have books around me. Lately it has been graphic novels and comics because I’m having an easier time looking at art and reading not so many words strung together.

    Long time follower of your blog. <3

  6. Pingback: Why I Loved ‘Spinster’ | Chels & a Book

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