When I would tell people that I work from home the first reaction is almost always something along the lines of how great it would be and that they wish they worked from home.
I mean it sounds amazing, and really it is, with the total freedom, the completely flexible hours, the working from the couch (or anywhere you want), the making money while you sleep.
I quit my job back in May of 2007 and so I’ve had a lot of years to experience both the good, the bad and even the ugly of working from home. The good FAR outweighs any downsides in my opinion and that’s why for the past twelve years I’ve been completely self-employed and self-sufficient through my own business.
One of the big downsides, though, is isolation and loneliness. That’s real and it’s a slippery slope because work at home isolation and loneliness can lead to depression if you’re not careful.
So let’s tackle this challenge!
I’ve learned a lot from my years at home and I’ve experienced the isolation and loneliness myself, especially after I broke my leg and was on the couch for six months or when I had my baby girl over five years ago now. Even though I see family every day we, as social beings, need more interaction in our lives than just the few people in our immediate family.
Here are my best “Beating Work at Home Isolation & Loneliness” tips:
- Lunch With Friends – Do you have other work at home friends? Maybe a mom friend on maternity? A friend who works shifts or weird hours? Do lunch! Meeting with my work at home and stay at home mom friends has been a great way to pick me up every single time. It’s so nice to get out with a friend and share a meal, chat about common interests and just have a laugh!
Me and local friend Jen Hazlett of Alt Admin meet up for coffee and lunch on the regular. I meet another mom who’s daughter is in my daugher’s school and we have regular playdates and chats.
Finding new friends can feel hard at first but be on the lookout for people you have stuff in common with, business or personal.
- Coffee. Get Coffee (or Tea, Juice, Whatever). – When I feel like I need to get out and I can’t arrange time with a friend I like to go and just have a coffee at the local coffee shop. Sometimes I’ll work, sometimes I’ll sit and people watch (not stare of course or be creepy in any way ). It gets me out around people and that’s often enough to make me not feel isolated at all.Love spending an hour or two at the local coffee shop. You could go anywhere! Just getting out around other people will do you good.
- Events – There are always events to go to. You can go to events related to a hobby or personal interest, or go to ones related to your business. Of course it’s fun when you can combine the two! I’m going to start looking into going to much more events now that I’ve figured out I’m totally able to get to downtown Toronto on the train. A quick and easy 45 minutes or so and I don’t have to brave the busy city in my car opens up a whole lot more opportunity to attend events.
Here is an awesome friend Crystal McNearney at a Facebook event she invited me too. We had fun with the surprised (shocked?) emoji!
- Make Business Social – How can you ADD social to your own business? I keep threatening to do some meetups for the Laptop Lifestyle YOUniversity and I just need to make that happen because I know how AWESOME it will be to see some of the members who grace our club in person. That could be as simple as a lunch date, a day-long workshop or hosting your own 3-day conference. Start where you are and connect with your business peeps. You know the best way to make money is with your friends, anyway, right?
- Join Groups – One of the best things I EVER did for my business was join a membership group for moms who wanted to work at home. I did that back in 2006-ish and I still have so many friends from that group that I can email and connect with on facebook anytime I want to talk with someone who understands what it is I do for a living. That’s entirely why I created my own membership at the Laptop Lifestyle YOUniversity. I know just how incredibly valuable it is to be part of an online community of people working towards the same goals.
Here’s me at a Mastermind Retreat, Beachpreneurs, with Rayven Monique of Abundability in 2018!
- Go to Nature – There’s something awesome about getting out or working out in nature. In the winter here it’s harder but in the summer I’ve been going to the beach a lot to work. Usually it’s to journal but sometimes I bring my laptop and write or create emails to send out to my subscribers. A couple of years ago the summer I went to journal at a Lavendar Field and it was AWESOME. I need to make that happen again and also pick other inspiring places to make a trip to to have a day amoung the inspiration.
Me at Lavanne Lavendar Fields
- Get Your Blood Tested – Weird one, right? You might think you’re lonely and unmotivated because you’re working at home but you could also be suffering from a deficiency in something. A common deficiency for many people these days is Vitamin D, which would only be made worse in our industry because we spend less time outdoors. Our office is just a few feet away and we don’t even get a little sun on our way to work. I found out last year from my own blood tests that I was both Vitamin D AND Iron deficient. Both of those can have big effects on your productivity!
- Move, Sleep, Eat Right & Drink Water! – Another one that SEEMS out of place but it’s so NOT. Working at home can lead to major inactivity if you let it and that can lead to weight gain, poor meal choices and very low energy. I have clear spurts in my business where I’m on point with this stuff and so is my mental clarity. Don’t ignore your health to build your business! So important. It will help the feelings of isolation, loneliness and sadness/depression when you take the best care of yourself you possibly can.
- Rent Shared Office Space or Co-Working Space – Did you know that some places have shared office space for rent? You’re not renting a whole space on your own, rather renting a room for a few hours, days or weeks out of the month. Then there’s the whole co-working thing where you work in a big open space with other business owners… pretty cool! I’ve looked into this over the years and didn’t like the idea of paying $50 for a day or a few hundred for a month in a co-working space but I recently found a space where I pay $100 for a year and then $100 per month for unlimited time. It’s been AMAZING and now every day I have my daughter in school or in child care I’ve been HERE at this awesome coworking space!
Here I am at Community Innovation Lab.
- Work at the Library – I love working at the library. There’s something quite awesome about being surrounded by books, filled with information. All I have to do is glance in either direction to get all kinds of inspiration and content ideas! Also, working at the library gets you around others which takes you out of isolation.
Take a Class – You could take something related to your business, or not. Either way you’ll get around people of similar interests and you might make a new friend! I’m seriously considering taking a local hip hop dance call. I’ve taken business-related classes here at my coworking space, too, and met new people to grow my business with!
Here’s me and Katie Dempsey of Brand Ambition at a great social media workshop she hosted last year!
- Take Care of YOU – This fits with suggestion earlier on moving, drinking water and eating right but it encompasses so much more. You’ve heard the work at home people talking about spending all day in their pajamas. What about when all day turns into a week? Is that ok? What if you barely shower? What if you’re too busy working that you don’t clean the kitchen and as a result you don’t cook healthy meals (because who wants to cook if you have to clean BEFORE you get to cook and then you have to clean AGAIN?). You see how this can quickly spiral out of control leaving you with no desire to leave the house or socialize. That’s a problem! Take care of YOU. Do the mindset work. Read the books that help you get ahead. Listen to the motivational podcasts. Talk to the inspiring friends (and avoid the downers). Do that workout, shower, get the laundry done, cook healthy meals, clean the house and take time to do things that make you feel renewed, energetic and ready to go see the world (or at least something more than your own four walls)!
I know I’ve given you a LOT of tips. You don’t have to do them all. I don’t do them all and definitely don’t do them all, all the time. I have done most at some point or another. For now I’m actually going to use this post for myself as a sort of to-do list to get out and social MUCH more than I’ve been. I hope it helps you do the same!