Temperatures continue to drop as we head into winter. A flurry of snow just blew through the Southern states. While the brisk chill and snowflakes make the holiday season feel even merrier, the cold could make you think twice about hitting all those holiday parties. Instead, you may just want to cozy up at home with a crackling fire, choice warm beverage, and favorite book.
If you’ve recently opted to stay in for a portion (or all) of a wintery weekend, don’t feel guilty. New science shows that some quiet time home alone is actually good for you.
The BBC and a research group out of Durham University recently partnered to conduct what they dubbed “The Rest Test.” In this study, they surveyed 18,000 participants in over 130 countries. The researchers wanted to know what most people consider to be restful activities, and how engaging in these activities affects folks’ health.
According to the research, the top-ten most restful pastimes are reading; getting out in nature; spending time alone; listening to music; doing absolutely nothing; walking; taking a long shower or bath; daydreaming; watching TV, and meditating.
What’s the common thread that runs through all of these activities? They are solitary undertakings. In fact, social activities ranked low on the list. These findings have led the researchers to conclude that it’s not just introverts who value time alone but even the most extroverted among us, too.
A Finnish research study confirms this point. In an article entitled “Happy Now, Tired Later? Extraverted and Conscientious Behavior Are Related to Immediate Mood Gains, but to Later Fatigue,” scientists report that while extroverts do tend to feel energized after social engagements, a few hours later they report feeling washed-out. No matter if you’re the social butterfly or perpetual wallflower, the truth is we all need alone time and rest.
And perhaps we need even more rest than we are currently getting. Data from The Rest Test show that 68% of all respondents (both introverts and extroverts) report that they would like to get more rest. Just how much are we getting? From the report, the average amount of rest folks had gotten the previous day was just 3 hours. The amount of rest linked to a high sense of well-being is between 5-6 hours. Clearly, most of us are operating on a rest deficit.
Why not give yourself the gift of more rest this holiday season? And then, as we roll into 2018, make sure solo downtime ends up on your resolutions list.
After all, with colder temperatures and longer nights easing us all into a slower pace, now is the perfect time to add more relaxation to your routine. So, don’t feel bad about saying “no thank you” to some of your holiday invites. Let go of the guilt and spend some quiet time alone. You’ll feel better that you did.