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Do you often feel you’re juggling things on your platter just to get through the day?

When you’re caught up in day-to-day activities — and crossing things off your list — you can lose sight of yourself. Before you know it, you’re focusing on unimportant things and letting go of the important things.

Rubber balls and glass balls

This affects your outlook on life and the decisions you make. When I find that I’m caught up in the swirl, I like to remind myself of the two kinds of balls in life — glass balls and rubber balls. Rubber balls bounce back; glass balls don’t.

Only you can make the distinction. And sometimes it can be grueling — with lots of conflicts along the way. You have a critical presentation at work at the same time a memorial service is being held for a friend.

There’s no right or wrong answer here — and no judgment. This is just an example of the gut-wrenching things that can tug at us.

If you’re not in touch with yourself, though, it can be easy to rationalize your actions. You may be so caught up in things that you’ve forgotten who you are, what you want, where you are and where you are heading, according to an article on the benefits of being along on the website Daily Motivation (

Practicing alone time

Stepping back can provide some much-needed perspective. There’s tremendous value in solitude because our answers are often inside. We just need to take time out to listen.

Just to be clear, solitude — or alone time — involves physically removing yourself from everyone in order to connect better with yourself. And to listen to your soul.

Solitude can have the following effects on you:

  1. Improves productivity.
  2. Increases concentration.
  3. Sparks creativity.
  4. Increases empathy.
  5. Builds mental strength.
  6. Helps you to plan your life.
  7. Improves relationships.
  8. Recalibrates you.

Drilling a little deeper, let’s look at a few of these benefits in greater detail.


Being alone gives you the opportunity to ask yourself important questions, according to the article. These can include:

Stories you might like

  • Is this important to me?
  • Why is it important to me?
  • Am I making any progress?
  • Why am I not making progress?
  • How can I make progress?

When you can answer these questions, you gain clarity that gives you a surge of meaning.


Solitude helps you to recharge — mentally, emotionally and physically. Working too hard can sometimes make you feel resentful. This could be the result of a traditional job or the demands of being a family caregiver.

Getting a little alone time can work wonders. Our souls can be so starved that a few crumbs tossed in their direction can work wonders. A whole loaf isn’t necessary.

You don’t always need a week-long retreat to rejuvenate your system. Many times, it’s wiser to commit shorter time spans — a Saturday afternoon, for example — that occurs more often than a long vacation that occurs once a year.

Reassessing relationships

Being alone helps you make the distinction between having a large network and having loyal and useful people around. Then you can decide how you want to invest your time and energy.

1. It helps you handle your fears. How many times do you worry about things that no longer have any bearing on you? Maybe they never had any bearing in the first place. Stepping back and gaining perspective can help you break free from your fears of what other people think — and get a more rational grip.

2. It helps you appreciate your achievements. It can be hard to see all the things you’ve accomplished over the long haul when you’re focused on those little day-to-day things that are going wrong. Taking a time out can help you to see that.

How to get solitude

Claiming some alone time can vary from person to person. You may have responsibilities that dictate, to an extent, when you can take a break. Childcare, job constraints, elder care and health concerns can all creep in.

Taking a break can be as simple as getting out in nature, though. Or listening to music, cracking open a book, taking a hot bath or visiting a museum online.

Put simply, actor Paul Newman reminds us, “You only grow when you are alone.”

©2021 Linda Arnold Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at For information on her books, go to or

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