To some, it’s “alone time,” and to others, it’s “me” time, but no matter how you refer to it, carving time out for yourself has been documented by health professionals to be beneficial. The following ideas may entice you to keep busy in a quiet and solitary way during the upcoming months.
Try a crossword puzzle. Start with easy ones that you’ll find in small magazines such as AARP or your local newspaper. Fill in what you can at first. Then walk away from it for a few hours or days and come back later. “Words just come into my head the second time I look at a puzzle,” says Norm S. of New Canaan, who drinks his morning coffee with a puzzle in front of him.
Another fun pencil-and-paper game is word search. Some words will pop out easily when you first look at them; others may be more elusive. This one often needs a “step away,” which sometimes is as simple as standing up and looking down at it.
Jigsaw puzzles appeal to others. Start with one with no more than 500 pieces. Lay all the pieces color side up. Do the frame first, (pieces with the straight edges), and then start filling in the pieces, section by section. “Buy a large white poster board in an office-supply store, and start assembling the puzzle on it,” suggests Joan W., who lives in Monroe. “When I run out of time or concentration, I carry this poster board to an empty bed where it won’t be disturbed.”
Have you noticed how many people are absorbed in Sudoku? Although this game is about numbers in a box, it doesn’t involve mathematical skills. The numbers are just placeholders.
Don’t forget the pleasure that comes from reading a good book. One woman explains how she alternates type and subjects. “I start with a page-turner and when that’s finished, choose a more in-depth book, usually a memoir or historical fiction.” A grandmother explains how she has two books going at the same time. “I save the one with the serious content for my daytime reading, but once I’m snuggled in bed, I choose something light and fluffy. This way I don’t have to back-read to catch up where I left off when I fell asleep.” Wander around your local bookstore or library to get ideas of interesting books. These places often post a list of what book clubs are reading, which will give you suggestions.
Coloring books are no longer just for children. Buy one with a subject that appeals to you along with a set of fine-tipped markers. “When I get stressed, I color,” says Sophia M. of Darien. “There is something so satisfying about seeing the page come to life.”
Look upon these ideas as single-tasking as opposed to the multi-tasking that may dominate your days. None of them have a time limit. Take notice of your level of relaxation after spending some time on just you.