The Beauty of Disconnected Alone Time: Unplug and Enjoy the Now

“Do not rely completely on any other human being, however dear. We meet all life's greatest tests alone.” ~Agnes Macphail 

I have found that the more time I spend alone, the more comfortable I become in my own skin because I can truly get to know myself. This provides me with more patience to accept myself as I am, wherever I am in my journey, on a daily basis.

This lesson was something I learned after spending a summer alone in Italy with a family friend.

I embarked on the journey, turning off my phone for the first time, well, probably ever. I would be jetting all over America then landing in a country with a family basically unknown to me.

It wasn’t until two years after I returned that I wished I had spent more time living in the moment while experiencing the greatest adventure of my life. I was not comfortable enough in my own skin to truly be present in the magical moments presenting themselves in a foreign country.

My mind stayed distracted as I wondered what people were thinking of me, and what I would post online to my friends back home.

At nineteen years old, it seemed much more important to capture photos to upload to social media. The Internet was a crutch for me to not feel so alone in an unknown territory. As brave as I was to be completely alone in my adventure, I had a thousand people to “connect” with on my lonely nights!

Two years later I realized that I could have filled my days with activities for growth.

I now wish I had traveled to nearby cities, spent my days reading in a cafe, tried acupuncture—anything out of the ordinary.

The truth was I didn’t have the hobbies I have now. The trip did help me grow, but I regret that I could not simply enjoy the moments instead of wanting thousands of others to see I was enjoying them.

I discovered that if I want to be happy, it would be my own doing. Happiness is an interior process and comes without validation from others.

This is something that is a lesson to be relearned each day.

Spending small moments of time alone—sans phone, tablet, laptop, TV, and radio—allows one to really tune in. We need to ask ourselves things like: What is my body telling me today? How do I feel today?

There are all kinds of things we can do to enjoy our alone time, some of them very simple. I enjoy my shower, my yoga practice, and the scenic drive home, all without communication to the exterior world. This helps me to really absorb my practice and just “be.” I find it helpful to journal, old fashion style, with a pen and paper after this little escape.

To figure out if you are relying on others, ask yourself: What have I done today, only for myself? Do I need to have my cell phone? Or can I stow it away and just be?

You may also want to ask yourself: Am I taking a photo so I can remember this occasion, or so others can see how I spent my hour? Am I updating my social media because I want to, or because I need validation through likes and posts to be happy?

Lastly, ask: What would happen if I stopped seeking the opinions of others to fuel my happiness? Would the world still accept me if I spent less time trying to win their approval?

The only one keeping you away from your true self is you.

Practice spending an hour a day doing something just for you and keep it a secret. Relish in the fact that this activity is just for you.

Once you grow fond of spending time alone, you can start to increase the amount of time you spend on your “secret” activities. Eventually, your presence in the moment will grow as you stop seeking approval and recognition from others.

I find that when I take a day off and unplug, I emerge fully ready to engage with others with more energy and enjoyment.

When your brain stops worrying about what others think of you, what you should have said or done, you can truly listen to your friends and provide feedback and attention.

Trust in yourself and feel powerful in the fact you are taking your happiness into your own hands.

About Gabrielle Garrett

Gabrielle Garrett is an avid yogi who dedicates her time to self-improvement and positive psychology. A Public Relations and Marketing student by day, she recently began writing for her own benefits and is delving into the world of literature again. She would love your feedback as she is just beginning on this new adventure. Visit her at

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  • Love this! A must read for every human 🙂

  • diksha

    As some one who has always been in relationships and who always sought validation from others, I can really appreciate your words. Thanks a lot for this article.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. We all struggle with that.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Thanks so much!

  • RandyH

    I’m completely out of the habit of doing this each day. You have inspired me to get back into the routine. Great read and great advice! Thanks, Gabrielle!

  • CJ Rising

    You’ve inspired me to try turning off the radio news and music on my 45-minute drive to and from work. I’m looking forward to finding out what the silence will bring! I want to add the importance of alone and unplugged time in exploring your creativity–it’s a great way to get in touch with your authentic self.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    You are welcome!! Glad to help!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    You’re so right! Drinking coffee, listening to the birds and yourself! You’ll probably arrive home much more relaxed!

  • Jackie

    Such a great piece Gabrielle! I recently came off what I like to call a social media cleanse. I deleted Facebook and Instagram and didn’t use them for an entire month (which for me, was like a year). It’s amazing how much more in-tune with myself I felt once I let got of something that I was mostly using as a tool for validation. I have since gotten back on but I think I am forever changed in how I use both. Just as you mentioned, before I decide to post something I ask myself why I want to post it and if it’s even remotely because I want validation from other people, I don’t post it. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kasia

    Fantastic Article!

  • ismapro

    Thank you so much for this article, after some months of living in a different country, you start to realize how important is to be alone, and how much this affect the daily basis thinking… The photos that I remember most are the memories that I have of what I see.

  • Diana

    The thing is that you actually think you are going to miss something shutting down Facebook, or Instagram, but you are loosing all the things REAL, and you are loosing yourself as well… Thanks for this article, so inspiring 🙂

  • Nice story- I totally agree. I find that the more time I spend on myself, the more relaxed & confident I feel, and the more energy I have for the ones i love!

  • Angela Kim

    This is beautifully said.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Awesome!! Good job! I’m still working on it everyday as well!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Thank you!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    I’ve read before about your “secret garden” which is moments you have alone that we usually fill with texting, checking social media or taking pictures- when it’s best just to enjoy the moment!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Exactly!! There’s so many studies that agree.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Completely agree!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Thanks, Angela!

  • I spent a year in Japan with a lot the time being spent in front of a computer. Looking back, I wish I had traveled more, met more people, ventured outside of my comfort zone every day. So I can definitely relate to that part. I am a huge internet junkie though, and every time I try to detox, I go into withdrawal. Oddly enough I never became too obsessed with social media sites. I use them mainly to chat to international friends and the odd important announcement or joke. But I definitely know people that use them excessively.

    To me I guess the blogging world is something I use to relax and unwind, so thanks! But I might take up some of the creative hobbies I used to like. Interesting idea…

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Yeah, we all are internet junkies- It is just too easy to become intertwined and connected- but I find it helpful to detox in moderation (Just like any..) I’d try writing in an old fashion journal for a little while. Maybe someone will find it and publish it one day 😉

  • Meg Lee

    Thanks for the great article! Saved this as a daily reminder, still working on my way to stop seeking validation from others.

  • Jenna

    Good article, but couldn’t help but smile about it being written by someone in the fields of Public Relations (a field that basically says, ”let’s engineer what others think of us”) and Marketing (”let’s use communicative methods to change the desires of others”).

    All the more important to take time out for oneself, I suppose!

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Marketing and Public Relations get a bad rap- but both professions can do a lot of good too! From encouraging change like “local saturdays” or helping a young couple start up their new grub hub. It’s a fun challenge to find out how to use my major for good.

  • Gabrielle Garrett

    Thank you!

  • Cat

    Really good article, thank you. I too have felt more and more comfortable in my own skin when I’m with others when I truly begin to enjoy time alone with myself. I don’t usually like spending time with myself but I I have begun to find things I can do on my own and now I appreciate time alone.

  • lv2terp

    Great message!!! Thank you for sharing your insight and words of wisdom! Love how you ended it with the line, “Trust in yourself and feel powerful in the fact you are taking your happiness into your own hands.” Truly liberating, empowering, and freeing! 🙂

  • grigoryi

    the problem with this is that when you come out of being with yourself all present to the moment and present with people. people are not as present as you are 🙁

  • Oliver

    BINGO! I am on vacation solo starting right now, and well, this is exactly how I need to frame it – social media detox, as well as, a work detox.

  • Lisa Michele Fonseca

    Nice article! I am currently living alone in Japan, having left my family and friends in Hawaii to have an adventure. I am loving it but was feeling guilty because, as I tell people, it is a totally selfish experience being able to do what you want without having to consider anyone else! I like your idea, that my time alone is recharging me and opening me up to wanting to engage with others. It is definitely true! Wanted to add, Gabrielle, that I doubt your trip to Italy will be the greatest adventure of your life. With your attitude and insights, you will have many adventures over the years and only when you’re 80 and looking back will you be able to say which one was the greatest! (:

  • B

    This is so helpful. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for you inspiring story.

  • Elizabeth Ann

    Hi my name is Elizabeth,I lost my husband 3 years ago this april month in 2012 on the 23rd. I then became ill, with a burst mychotic aunerysm in my aorta plus sceptisemia all at the same time. I have had to spend time alone has l now have a disability, due to nerve damage in my left leg. Being a christian, l now have more time to build my personal relationship with my lord. I put my entire trust in him, to heal me. I now love being on my own. I miss my late husband, but again my husband slso a christian resides with the lord. I have interests. I love watching d.v.d’s singing ang eating out. I have good friends. I am seeking a companion to share my life with. To go out has friends. To enjoy life even more.

  • Elizabeth Ann

    A wonderful article, so many people can identify with it!!!!!!!

  • Abi

    I just found this article and I feel the total opposite. I’m 44 and have always been on my own and now I feel very very very strongly that I would like a companion to share my life with. It’s great seeing new places and having new experiences but I think it’s even richer sharing these.

  • miki

    Take a look at this video :
    from my friend Heather. She has overcome virtually insurmountable obstacles to live her dream life, inspiring others, traveling, attracting wealth, a great relationship and being happy.
    be inspired and NEVER let any obstacles prevent you from loving and enjoying your incredible life… No excuses

  • Richard Moller

    I really like your article. This is something that I struggle with but I am slowly making small changes every day to improve. I usually don’t like being alone because of the fear of feeling lonely. However, I remember as a kid I used to spend a lot of alone time since I didn’t have a cell phone or lots of friends. I miss that. I think I was more receptive to my surroundings and felt happier with myself. Thanks for sharing! Namaste.

  • Miss G.

    Thank you so much for this article @gabriellegarrett:disqus . It’s helping me a lot. This is what I needed to read. Keep it coming 🙂