Covid19 – Beat Work at Home Isolation & Loneliness

Suddenly so many people are working from home because of Covid-19. Even with your own family it can feel very isolating, weird and new. I get it, I’m new at having my fam all home but the being home part is mostly just another day because I’ve worked from home since 2007.

I have previous isolation experience and I’ve got good experience with handling it.

It’s been a crazy time right now.

I’ve been thinking about how I can help.
I’ve been thinking about what’s most important for me to do right now.
I’ve been thinking about my family and their health (of course).

While we ARE isolated, we do not have to be ALONE!

Even if you are a single person isolating alone you have so many ways to beat the isolation blues.

I wrote a post a few years ago about how to beat isolation and loneliness while working from home and MOST of my tips were about going to events, meeting friends for coffee, going to coworking, working from the library, etc. Obviously not so relevant when you literally should not be leaving your house at all.

But I DO also have don’t leave the house experience, too:

  1. In 2007 I got myself into a rut that lead to burnout where I worked all day long, constantly, taking no breaks and neglecting my self care. I was isolating in desperation to earn money and it was bad, bad, bad (for me and for business).
  2. In 2013 I broke both bones in my ankle and had to spend about three months literally on the couch, getting up only for washing and bathroom breaks and eventually to get myself some food when I could move. It taught me a LOT about being still and being happy with JUST being YOU.
  3. In 2014 I had a beautiful baby girl and for the next three years I spent about 95% of my time and attention on her as she was high-demand and I was barely sleeping. The lack of sleep made me really feel like I couldn’t function resulting in a hot-mess-mom who did NOT want to leave the house.

So, yea, you’re looking at an experienced isolator right here lol!

When you can’t leave home, here are my best tips to keep you SANE, PRODUCTIVE and HAPPY EVEN:

Gratitide is magic pixie dust:

YEP, you know this!

I couldn’t help but notice when I broke my ankle home my people RAN to me to help.

Literally my husband rushed out the house when I called him from the sidewalk, got me a blanket to keep me warm and never left my side as we waited for the ambulance. My parents rallied to get my son at school. My son, when home, cooked me food, got me things and cleaned his room then took pics so I could see. I was on the couch, my leg in pieces (literally as they sent me home before surgery) and I felt so much LOVE that it was all OK. Weird, but true.

Maybe you don’t have this situation but there’s ALWAYS something good. Always something to be grateful for.

Look for that.

With Covid-19 there are so many things to be grateful for:

  • The world is letting the earth have a break with less vehicles from land and air spewing out emissions.
  • Most of us have the comfort to isolate with technology and have access to people and conversations at the click of a mouse. Not truly isolated at all socially.
  • We are seeing the responses of people who are HELPERS. People who are stepping up to find out what and how they can help.
  • The front line people. The people who didn’t ask to be hero’s but now are. If you do have to go out for groceries or any essential I bed it would brighten their day, and yours, to offer a heartfelt thank you to someone who serves you.

If you love pretty gratitude I have a wonderful friend and client Ruth Bowers who has so many awesome things you can print here. Oh and my friend Lynette Chandler has great stuff HERE.

Self-Care is Essential

Remember hot-mess-mom I told you about up above?

She was someone I lived with for FAR longer than I wanted to and I wish I’d done something about her sooner.

She made me stressed (about me).
She probably made me a bit depressed (about me).

You don’t want to get there – don’t go there!

A little self-care goes a long way!

I’m talking about:

  • regular showers
  • put your makeup on
  • do your hair
  • hydrate
  • get outside for walks (while social distancing of course)
  • stretch
Credit: SmartAssy Mamaツ

I’d like to single out the get dressed part because to me it was a really important one. Sure it’s a great novelty right now to wear your “daytime pjs” and your “nighttime pjs” but living and working in your pjs while letting the showers and the hair and the eating slip is a very slippery slope. Keep down this path and one day you might look in the mirror and wonder “WTF happened?!” … Ask me how I know! ?

creativity is theraputic

I bought three canvas boards for painting and we had a family painting session (hubby was at work at the time). I asked my teen son if he wanted to participate and he said YES, which surprised me.

I created this “art”. I’m no artist but I just wanted to paint my feelings. The middle is the threat we have to face right now and the darkness surrounding it. The circles and lines are the people joining together and the outside is the peace, calm and harmony once we beat this thing – and we will.

This was therapeutic!

You don’t have to paint, of course.

There are so many other ways to be creative!

Those are just the tip of the iceberg! Soooo many things you could create!

Here are more ideas:

Community is needed now more than ever

I run a paid online community, the Laptop Lifestyle YOU.

We meet every week and these last few weeks have been sooo important to me and, I think, to members. They know they have a place where they are welcome and where they belong. They know it’s SAFE. They know people are there to connect with them.

We NEED this kind of community right now.

Thankfully in this time in our history you can even find that on Facebook.

I’m so heartened to see people REALLY listening, really responding, really communicating on what was previously, to me, a noisy blasting of opinions and arguments. I don’t know if it’s just my gratefulness and positive attitude but what I’m seeing on Facebook right now is just an amazing pulling together. The fights and silliness over who’s right or wrong seems to have fallen away (for me at least) and I see the good.

I see the funny memes (love them).
I see the people asking how they can help.
I see the gratitude for front line workers.

Facebook is a free community.
I have a paid community.
Your family is a community.

Get your people on Zoom. It’s EASY to use and you can have a bunch of people in a room on video for a chat and fun. It’s great to reconnect that way!

My daughter has been using Facebook video calls to talk to her BFF from school. They’re six and my daughter takes my phone, goes off and chats for an hour – mom break!

And speaking of the moms – please don’t overpressure yourself to get this all perfect! It’s a stressful time. I’ll be honest and tell you I felt a twinge of guilt when I saw the moms posting about how they started homeschooling yesterday.

I haven’t even LOOKED at what I might need to do to make that happen. I’m running a business and a household and trying to keep my shit together and not stress out so, yea, I’m giving myself some grace about not getting my daughter a grade-A education for a few weeks. I know she’ll be OK and we’ll figure it out as we go!

Do you have anything to add to this?

These are the best things I could come up with based on what I learned in isolation myself but I’m sure there are more tips and tips for people in different life circumstances. What’s worked for you? What is helping right now during Covid-19 social distancing, isolation or lockdown? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

If there’s anything I can do for you, anything I can answer PLEASE reach out. I ALWAYS love to answer emails, help by offering guidance and support you but now so more than ever I want you to know to just let me know.

Peace, Love & Laptops!
Angela Wills ✌❤?

Beat Work at Home Isolation & Loneliness

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!