Today, I’m going to talk about how to deal with loneliness when working from home.
20 years ago, I had not even considered the possibility that I may become a person who works at home. I had been involved with many types of professions from managing telemarketing operations to operating a break-press in a large metal factory.
But, I had always loved to write and I discovered that I could write and make money. I loved the fact that I was pulling in an extra income to help buy steaks instead of hamburger.
Life fell apart in many ways all of a sudden…my 23 month old grandson was, I feel, murdered. Because of the political stance I took, I suddenly found I had no job, and suddenly our house burned to the ground.
The pain didn’t stop…we moved to the St. Louis, Missouri area and I did attain a factory job with Nike, and the worst happened…my wife of 30 years passed away.
To battle the pain and loneliness, I wrote, and I began to make somewhat good money doing so. Through the internet atmosphere, I met a wonderful woman who lived in Puerto Rico and invited me to take a vacation for my well-being.
Long story made short; I have lived in Puerto Rico now for approximately 6-years. I write full time and make a good living with freelance work on top of the royalties I receive for the numerous books I have published.
But working at home has moments of loneliness. I do miss the jokes and camaraderie of the factory. I have researched many other work-at-home individuals. Loneliness is one of the biggest issues.
So, as a person who has had to find ways to defeat this problem, I am sharing ways to deal with loneliness when working from home.
How to Deal with Loneliness When Working from Home
These are 22 tips for success. They are in no particular order, and some may not reflect the loneliness issue, but they do seem to help me, and I believe they can help you too.
Ok, I know there are probably some non-coffee drinkers reading this post, so how about tea or something similar?
Maybe I do have a slight addiction issue, but coffee adds that caffeine pick-me-up and relieves some of my loneliness thoughts. That may just be psychological, but it works for me. I highly recommend this CBD coffee.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study that showed coffee can help people become generally more positive in their lives. Researchers even saw a link between caffeine intake and lower suicide rates and found that caffeine can have the same effects as a mild antidepressant (It’s worth noting that several studies before the Harvard study have linked coffee drinking to lower rates of depression in both men and women).
Source: Death Wish Coffee
2: Eat A Hearty Breakfast
Medical experts have proven that depression is often accelerated from an improper diet. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help your mind stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Food directly impacts behavior and emotions, and putting a little thought into your morning routine can help improve your mood all day long,” says Lauren Blake, licensed and registered dietitian, nutritionist and certified health and wellness coach at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Source: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
3: Structure Your Days
When I first freelanced from home, I had the thoughts that I can sit around in my sleep-wear until 2 in the afternoon. I did not structure my days, and I often neglected certain things like mowing the lawn or taking out the trash. I discovered that I needed to start planning my day just as if I still worked outside the home.
One of the most productive things you can do to start your day on the right foot should actually happen before you go to sleep the previous day, Ellen Goodwin, Productivity Expert and Coach says — make a plan. It doesn’t need to be a minute-by-minute itinerary, but it should map out the major tasks or things you want to accomplish the next day — and how you want to spend the first few hours of the day.
Source: NBC News
4: Start With The 3 S Routine
This is quite simple, and will help you feel like you are a King or Queen…Shave, Shower and then Sit.
A cold shower (even a short one) is shown to increase circulation throughout the body, which will help wake you up and make you feel more alert and energized. During a cold shower, your body also releases endorphins, known as one of our “happy” hormones. Cold showers in the form of hydrotherapy are even used to treat depression, according to Peter Bongiorno, an author and naturopathic doctor.
5: Dress For Success
Back when I was managing a telemarketing operation, we used to allow the “phone jockeys” to wear casual attire. Sales were slipping and we tried a new approach. We required them to dress businesslike.
Women wore dresses or slacks and a nice blouse. Men wore slacks and some even wore ties. The statistics proved that dressing up created more sales.
When you look good, you feel good. Time to quit sitting at the computer in your underwear. Put on some nice clothes and feel the difference.
Fashion not only enhances your appearance, but also helps you feel good. Clothes improve your appearance which in turn makes you feel better and keeps you in a good mood. Another reason is that people are emotionally attached to their clothes.
Scientists term this effect of fashion on our mood as “enclothed cognition”.
6: Change Your Work Area Or Desk
Just simply rearranging your work area can change your attitude. Move your desk, your chair and some of the pictures.
You know that feeling of calm that descends when everything is in order? When we clean up our physical space, our brain space also frees up.” Melanie Greenberg PhD, a clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, California, an expert on mindfulness and relationships, and author of the Stress-Proof Brain and The Mindful Self-Express blog says, “Doing organizational tasks activates the ‘on task’ centers of your brain, which gets you out of cycles of rumination. Sitting and ruminating about how loneliness makes things worse. Doing an organizational task creates active engagement and also activates your logical brain, which can be the antidote to runaway emotionality.”
Source: Reader’s Digest
7: Change of Scenery
Every once in awhile, I just cruise to an internet cafe or Burger King. The change of scenery helps the loneliness attitude, and sometimes there is some social interaction.
Go to a coffee shop far from your apartment or office. Then order coffee and sit on the bar, or that big table on the center where you can talk to people. Compliment someone on their tie, shoes or bag. Start a conversation. Don’t worry if you’re bad at small talk, because chances are you won’t see that person again.
8: Meet With Other Home-Based Workers
Find, or set up a system where you can have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with other home-based workers. It can be through Skype or Go-To-Meeting. It is a great place for people to ask questions, share issues and provide support.
You’re online with millions of people. Build a tribe. Connect with colleagues and influencers on Twitter and other social networks. Speed up your discovery with targeted follower apps designed to help you find people who are interested in the same things you are. Find people who wants to talk about your work, your hobbies and your obsessions. Find people who make you laugh. Hide or un-friend people who bring you down. Life is too short for haters.
You can also plan to attend events in your area or arrange an occasional lunch with another freelancer. Look for a blogging group meet-up, a Twestival, or a chamber of commerce event to attend. Remember to bring business cards.
9: Pick Up The Phone
Just call a friend or family member and talk for a little while. This is a great way to get that loneliness problem out of your mind.
Social networks are fun and can provide an essential social outlet for some people,” but Louise Hawkley, PhD, a research associate in the psychology department at the University of Chicago, says research suggests that, on average, people do best if more of their relationships happen face-to-face or over the phone. Use a pal’s post as an excuse to call and talk about it instead of posting a comment back.
Source: Everyday Health
10: Get A Pet
A dog or a cat, or even a parrot can help alleviate the feelings of loneliness. Personally, we have two dogs that bring a smile to my face often.
A pet can remind you that you’re not alone,” says Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach in Fort Wayne, IN. “Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated.”
It has become a huge phenomenon in many cities. Building owners have set up cubicles in which freelancers and home-based entrepreneurs can rent. It is similar to working in an office with other people. You are managing your own business, but still have that feeling of togetherness.
Although working alone can have its benefits, one of the biggest drawbacks for freelancers is the lack of social interaction. In many cases, those working from home will not have any social interaction all day, aside from the exchange of emails online. This can lead to people feeling withdrawn and lonely. Working in a shared office space can help freelancers feel less alienated, reassuring them that they’re not the only one!
Source: UK Jelly
12: Take A Vacation
We all need a vacation at times. Be sure and schedule vacations on a normal basis. Just because you work at home does not mean vacations stop. If nothing else, find a nearby bed & breakfast and stay a few days. As a matter of fact, I believe it is time we go stay at a nice get away.
On top of vacations being a great emotional well-being and mood booster, another study reported that the anxiety creating tendency to focus on something causing us distress, instead of thinking of solutions or getting over it, called rumination, lessens during vacations, and stays low even two weeks after vacation.
13: Buy A Bicycle And Use It
Many of us that work at home do not get the exercise we need on top of the social interaction. Try buying a bicycle and going riding. You will see people and get the exercise you need.
Muster the energy to start sweating first thing and it will reward you. Exercise releases endorphins — chemicals produced in the brain that help minimize pain and discomfort and increase wellbeing (essentially the body’s own painkillers).
Plus, endorphins can reduce stress hormones, too — helping you start your day unfettered and in control.
Source: NBC News
14: Your Talk-With Person
It could be a mentor or an accountability partner, but just find that one person you can contact when you are lonely or depressed. Make it a mutual system…they call you when they are down and vice-versa.
It’s very important that you have a support group of friends and family,” Jeff Gardere, PhD, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City says. “You need people whom you can talk to about your problems — people who will listen to you when you need to get things off your chest — so that you know you’re not alone in whatever it is.”
Source: Everyday Health
15: Skype Someone
Earlier, I mentioned calling someone…but Skype adds that face-to-face interaction. So if you don’t have a Skype account, make one and find friends and family who do too.
Instead of emailing, pick up the phone and talk to someone, or even better, use Skype where you can see them eyeball to eyeball. This is the closest thing you can get to proper human interaction and will help you to feel a lot more connected.” Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School says.
Source: The Guardian
I often take a break and reflect on my blessings. When I am feeling lonely, I reflect back on what it was like working for hours in a factory for less pay and more stress than working at home. Just look at the blessings instead of the cursing.
The key is hiding in the self-reflection. Take the time to get to know yourself. Be honest although it’s difficult. Is there a voice in your head that always complains or criticizes?
Even if you are living an amazing, carefree life in paradise, you’ll be negative as long as this voice keeps on being so loud. You’ll see the smallest issue as an enormous obstacle. Everything and everyone will be insufficient, boring or annoying to you. Including… yourself.
Source: The Zen Freelancer
17: Reward Yourself
It can help a lot just with simple little rewards when you finish a task. A chocolate bar or ice cream cone are my favorite rewards.
Small awards for a well-done job allow the freelancer to understand that they are performing great. If you have a favorite pastime or some certain preferences in food that can bring you an incredible pleasure, treat yourself with those. This is an excellent incentive for achieving high results, being more productive and happy.
18: Join Professional Associations
There are many professional associations that give you an opportunity to interact with like-minded people. Some do have dues, but it can be well worth the investment.
This is a great opportunity to spend time doing something you enjoy and find others with similar interests.
Maybe it’s a book club, a cooking class, a group of local professionals, you’re giving yourself opportunities to be around others. And, you never know, this could create some good networking opportunities for your freelancing biz.
19: Music Or Radio
Just have light music or radio playing in the background. Just having voices in the air can take those lonely feelings away.
Some studies have found that listening to music you enjoy may increase the release of pleasure-causing substances in the brain like norepinephrine and melatonin. It may also decrease stress-causing hormone production in the body. As a result, music therapy has the power to do the following: reduce stress/ease anxiety, improve sleep, lessen depressed mood, create positive mood, boost self-confidence and increase energy.
20: Take A Walk
It is good exercise like the bicycle tip, and by walking you will most likely see other people unless you are in a super remote location.
In some ways, exercise at a certain level can actually be, for some people, the equivalent to taking an antidepressant. The problem is that it is a lot easier to take an antidepressant than to go on a regular exercise program.” Dr. Michael C. Miller, member of the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter says.
For that reason, Dr. Miller recommends people who want to boost their mood by exercising pick a program that is easy and enjoyable for them to do for an extended period of time. For many people, that is regular walks.
Source: Boston Magazine
21: Take Short Breaks
Working on a computer for long periods of time can be hard on your eyes and your emotional well-being. It has been discovered that just taking short breaks every 20-30 minutes can enliven you. It doesn’t have to be a long break, just walk away from the computer for one minute or so.
Studies have shown that short breaks during the working day increase productivity. You need to learn to take some short breaks from work to recharge your batteries. Take a walk, eat a snack or go to a coffee shop. Take some time for lunch. Skipping meals will give more time for your projects but working with a growling stomach does not help productivity. Strive for quality, not quantity.
22: It Is Called Social Media For A Reason
You have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but you are feeling lonely. Instead of just using those social media outlets for business, try using them for what they are meant to be…social outlets. Try being social for a short time, and then go back to work.
When it seems like our needs for social connection aren’t being met as deeply as we hope, it’s important to “see” the comrades we do have. You don’t need to be super close to someone to say hello. Shoot a text to your old co-worker to ask how they’ve been. Write a quick e-mail to a long-lost cousin to catch up. Your gesture might get you in touch with people you have felt connected to in the past and bolster your sense of being someone with a social history. Plus your message could help someone else feel connected.
Source: Reader’s Digest
Feelings of loneliness are one of the biggest issues those of us working from home face. I do believe these tips on how to deal with loneliness when working from home can help you lose some of those feelings.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips you would like to add? Just post any and all comments below. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.