I Need to Be Alone!! 5 Ways to Get More "Me Time"

by Brian English

What’s it like to be the center of attention? After your cancer diagnosis, you find out fast. Suddenly, you’re getting more attention you can handle.

I Need Some Me Time

First, it’s the doctors and the nurses. Then it’s your friends and family. Endless phone calls, visits, talking … Before you know it, that crucial alone time – your “me” time – is gone. And you find yourself relating more and more to that old Greta Garbo line, “I vant to be alone.”

The simple pleasure of enjoying your own company in peace and quiet is something that can help restore your sense of balance and a feeling of normalcy. Those little moments may seem overrated, but you don’t realize how precious (and important they are) until they’re gone.

Here are 5 tips to help cancer patients get more valuable “me time”:


 Wake Up Early

I have always needed alone time … I have always found that time by waking up early . – WhatNexter BoiseB

Turns out that the early birds don’t just get the worm; they also get more peace and quiet. If you’re able to drag yourself out of bed ahead of your partner or anyone else in the house, it’s possible to snag some wonderfully quiet moments for yourself. The house is beautifully silent before people begin to stir.


Daily Rituals Thumbnail No Bkgrnd

“I would go in my room, and shut the door … They didn't know if I was sleeping, or knitting or reading, and they just let me be alone.” – WhatNexter cllinda

Be sure you have daily activities that you set aside each day that are just for you. If you do them regularly enough, people will begin to recognize them as part of your day. That way, when you’re in the middle of them, you don’t have to say, “look, just leave me alone for a while.” People will respect the time you’ve set aside for these activities and you won’t explicitly have to request to be alone. Take a bath, watch a TV show that’s on at a certain time each day. Or just say that 3 pm is the time you walk every day – and stick to it.


Just Say No

“I am a loner. Always have been. I try to dissuade visits. They are too much work.” – WhatNexter LiveWithCancer

Friends and family just want to help. Even at the cost of your sanity. Remember: you’re the patient. You don’t need to be so accommodating. Go ahead and say, “no.” They won’t mind. Feel free to decline visits, rides to the store, invitations to movies, etc. And if you have to tell a little white lie now and again (“I don’t feel up to it today,” always works), it’s OK. You don’t have to tell anyone you’d just rather be alone.


No Goals

“When I need respite I sit on my porch, or drive a couple of miles to our community park … Even doing errands becomes a form of respite.” – WhatNexter Ejourneys

Even if you’re setting a ritual (see #2), remember that the ritual is merely a means to an end. The goal of a 3 pm daily walk is not walking any set distance; it’s simply to be alone. “Me” time is its own reward. Don’t burden yourself with accomplishing anything during your alone time other than simply being alone.


Cancer Card

You’ve got it. Use it. Don’t want to do something? Want something to be “my way or the highway?” Play the “Cancer Card” and watch everyone back off in a hurry.

How do you get your “me” time? Post your suggestions and tips on the WhatNext forums.

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