Solitude Day is celebrated on March 26 and it’s not just for introverts or even anti-social individuals. What’s a common image that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘solitude?’ A scraggly-bearded hermit dressed in robes who has retreated from society, lives inside a remote cave, and chases away unwelcome intruders. More outgoing individuals may turn their noses up at the mere mention of this word, but everyone needs to recognize its positive benefits.
History of Solitude Day
Humans are social creatures. We’re automatically hardwired to seek connections with other human beings. Due to the advancements in technology and improvements in communication, we are linked to each other like never before. Sometimes whether we like it or not.
Let’s be honest though. It takes a lot of energy both physically and mentally to always be ‘on’ all the time. Dealing with the world can be exhausting. That’s where taking a break from it all comes in. Striking a balance between your relationship with others and yourself to recharge is needed. However, solitude can be an intimidating concept. One study found out that respondents would rather face electric shock than be left alone with their thoughts! Interestingly, more men than women were far more likely to zap themselves than men.
Perhaps it’s because solitude is often equated with loneliness. There’s a marked difference between the two though. Solitude is the feeling of being content when you’re by yourself. Loneliness is a negative state that makes you feel disconnected from other people. Even as children, facing the wall or going to your room alone were punishments, rather than a reward. Its involuntary solitude causes loneliness.
Solitude has indeed gained a bad rap over the years. Solitude Day gives us the freedom to discover that having moments alone with ourselves can work wonders for our mental health.
Whether we dedicate a few minutes, an hour, or the whole day to choose to practice solitude, our hearts and minds will thank us for it.
Solitude Day timeline
Poet John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost” features Satan as one of British literature’s first lonely characters.
Naturalist John Ray puts together a glossary of seldom-used words which included ‘loneliness’ and he defined it as a term to describe people and places ‘far from neighbors.’
Psychologist Robert R. Hold sets up an isolation study using ping-pong balls cut in half to cover his subject’s eyes.
Isolation, as well as sensory deprivation, are part of medical and psychological exams for prospective astronauts.
Solitude Day FAQs
Where does the word ‘solitude’ come from?
Solitude is derived from the Latin word ‘solitudinem’ meaning ‘loneliness,’ although if you have moments of solitude it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’re suffering from loneliness.
Why is solitude important?
People who learn to enjoy solitude are less likely to suffer depression.
What is the difference between solitude and silence?
Solitude is a state of being by yourself while silence is the absence of sound. Silence goes hand in hand with practicing solitude.
How to Observe Solitude Day
Hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door
Let the world know you need some quiet time to yourself. Unplug all devices that beg for your constant attention. It doesn’t have to take too long; even a few minutes alone with your thoughts can have a positive effect on the rest of your day.
Start a solo hobby
Use this day to finally get going on something new. Find out if you have a green thumb. Bake a batch of cookies. Lace-up your sneakers for a run. Learning a new skill is productive and can give you a sense of achievement.
Get dressed and show up for the most important relationship in your life — yourself. Visit a museum, people-watch at a café or step out for lunch. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do. The only thing on your agenda is to have fun — alone.
5 Reasons Why Solitude Is Good For You
It builds mental strength
Time alone has been linked to increased happiness and improved stress management.
It sparks creativity
Thinking solo gives your mind permission to discover new ideas and possibilities.
It increases productivity
Even with the rise of open-plan offices, people perform better when given some privacy.
A chance to get to know yourself
You’re able to learn more about who you are as a person without outside influences.
It improves your relationship with others
Solitude helps you gain a better understanding of your values, which aids you in making better choices about the kind of people you want in your life.
Why Solitude Day is Important
It allows you to practice mindfulness
Away from the constant demands of your responsibilities, you can focus on really listening to your inner voice. Take the time out on this day to listen!
It builds independence
When you’re alone, taking responsibility for your thoughts and decisions is liberating. We love the feeling of being independent!
It restores balance
People and daily life can be exhausting. Choosing to take time by yourself recharges you, helping you to face challenging situations with more ease.
Solitude Day dates