Being in the company of friends and family is great—you always have someone to share a look, a laugh, or a drink with—but having me-time isn’t too bad either. In fact, being on your own can actually do you some good. "Carving out a little solitude can make a world of difference," says writer Katrina Kenison. "So go ahead—give yourself a break." Here, we list down a few reasons why.

You become more creative.
When you’re alone, your mind is free to wander. With no immediate distractions, you have more opportunities to brainstorm ideas and toss suggestions around in your head. No wonder famous writers like Ernest Hemingway loved their solitude.

You make better decisions.
It can be hard to hear yourself think when everyone else around you is making so much noise, but when you’re alone, your thoughts are louder and clearer. You won’t hear your mom telling you what a big mistake you’re making or your co-worker suggesting that you do one thing instead of another. "There's this small garden near our village where I often go to think," says Shelley, 28. "I find that it's in solitude when the difference between what I want to do and what I have to do becomes more obvious."

You can review your goals.
When was the last time you really looked at your life? And no, a fleeting what-if thought while scrolling through your Instagram feed does not count! If it’s been a while, then you need to take a bit of time off to ask yourself some darn important questions. What do you really want? What makes you happy? Do you really want to be stuck in the same job after five years? When you’re alone, you're in a better position to answer them.

You become more independent.
You won't always have people you can depend on, so whenever you can, practice doing things on your own—whether it's traveling solo or holding your own at a party full of strangers.

You become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Most people dread being alone; it makes them feel uneasy. But if you're used to being alone with your thoughts, you become much more adept at handling awkward situations. Try having dinner or watching a movie by yourself and see just how far you can stretch out of your comfort zone.

You appreciate yourself more.
When you’re constantly in the presence of friends and family, you’re more likely to look outward; you see what other people have that you don’t instead of the other way around. "We live in an extremely externalized culture," says Thomas Moore, author of Care of The Soul. "We are constantly pulled outside ourselves—by other people, by the media, by the demands of daily life. Nothing in our culture or in our education teaches us how to go inward, how to steady the mind and calm our attention. As a consequence, we tend to devote very little time to the life of the soul, the life of the spirit." Being alone, however, puts a lot of things into perspective.

Rhea, 26, admits that she used to compare herself to her friends all the time. "I'm an NBSB girl, so when they talk about their relationships, it used to make me wonder what was wrong with me. Why can't I get a boyfriend?" Since spending more time on her own though, she's become less critical of herself. "I learned to appreciate a lot of things about myself more. I'm happier. I'm more open to possibilities. When my friends talk about their love life, I don't feel as excluded or as self-aware of my single status."

You also appreciate the people in your life more.
No matter how much you love spending time with your friends and family, you have to take a break from them some time. Toni, 32, says she loves spending time with her husband and baby boy, but she also regularly takes time off to recharge and regroup. "It’s so you’ll have the energy for them again. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder. After some time apart, you’ll only cherish spending time with them that much more."

PHOTO: Instagram @alice_gao ; GIFS: Giphy

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