For those of you who venture outside the house to work, you have an easier way to socialize regularly.
But, what if you work from home?
I’ve been working from home for five years — my hubby even longer, and I’m starting to notice that I’m becoming more recluse.
Sometimes solitude, which is considered an opportunity to work undisturbed, can turn out to be unhealthy.
The feeling of isolation and loneliness can lead to unhappiness and a lack of motivation. It can further lead to anxiety and depression.
Working from home is no doubt overwhelming for me — I’m juggling between taking care of my family and running my business.
What I terribly lack is the adult face to face conversation, the office company or coffee chat with colleagues — which most full-time working professionals consider as a regular part of their day.
I do pick up my twins each day at school and do the whole chit-chat “fake” talk with other parents, but I don’t care for that.
I prefer putting on my headphones and being by myself than talking to a group of people.
But — here’s the ironic part — I crave social interaction when I feel isolated.
And, when this happens, there’s an imbalance and I always lean towards no interaction and being recluse.
I have to make a conscious effort to set up opportunities to interact and develop connections outside of my husband and twins.
If you feel isolated and alone while you work long days sitting at home like I do, try these things that help me be less of a recluse and more of an introvert.
1. Try Work from Home Forums
While many people who work from home crave the face-to-face conversation you would get working in an office, you can still have this — using your laptop or computer.
There might be others online with the same struggles about loneliness you are having. So, the best remedy is to join work-at-home forums and get connected with others who are experiencing the same challenges as you.
With social networking sites available, explore the possibilities of meeting like-minded people on Twitter, Facebook, or you can refine your search on Google for your own choice.
I developed a Facebook group just for mompreneurs and it’s grown to 12,000 members who get it.
This has helped me stay connected on those lonely days when I work by myself.
2. Try A Work Group
There are many sites dedicated to helping you find other similar people.
Try searching for individuals in and around your area who are a work at home parent or working from home. For example, check Meetup — you can search local groups by location and topic.
You can always organize a weekly or a monthly meet up with other work from home people.
This can spark your creativity by networking with other professionals in your field.
I haven’t formalized a work group yet, but I plan to in the future. I belong to a local mastermind group of women entrepreneurs and I’m gearing up to join the group next month.
I’m hoping this will spark creativity, gain some new ideas and form new friendships.
3. Have Me Time
Your “me time” should definitely be a priority when you work from home. You can always join a yoga class or hit the gym. Or, if you don’t have time to dedicate going to the gym, you can always stay fit at home.
I find that when I do my at-home workouts, my day is more productive, I’m happier and I’m more willing to go out and socialize.
Just because your business is located in your house doesn’t mean you can’t get out for some time. Unplug yourself from your workplace, go get some fresh air or go for a stroll around the block.
As a work from home professional you can break up your day and plan it accordingly. Set dedicated time to work and make it a priority to schedule “me” time.
4. Try Volunteering Activities for Work at Home Parents
Working from home doesn’t mean you can’t help out your community while meeting some new people.
Volunteering at your child’s school on a weekly or monthly basis will not only help out the teachers, but will also give you a chance to meet other moms with similar interests.
I’m fortunate to attend assembly’s at my children’s school and attend field trips. I’m close to there teacher and am always available for extra curricular activities.
5. Start a Personal Blog
Blogging not only helps you share your thoughts with the whole world, but the readers coming to your blog can leave comments, opening the doors to start conversations.
Starting a blog is simple. Check out my easy tutorial on starting a blog and get blogging!
6. Stay Connected with Family and Friends
Family and friends are the people who love and care the most about you. So, whenever you feel lonely, you should always connect with them let them know about the struggles you are dealing with.
A quick phone call to your sister who lives three states over can do wonders for your mental well-being.
Or, schedule a lunch or a coffee date to stay connected with old friends and colleagues. This helps you to stay in touch with everyone.
Sometimes it can be difficult when you work from home — the pressure of getting all your work done, scheduling interviews and updating your resumé leaves little time to have a conversation with a friend.
It’s always the best to open up to loved ones as they will lend you the support you need when you work alone.
This is a struggle for me. My family live in another country and I have a hard time contacting my sister.
So I rely on friends here in town. I do have a friend who is also a freelance writer and blogger like me that I meet up with in town.
We try to meet every few months and I look forward to these meetups.
7. Set Up a Portable Workplace
If you are a telecommuter then why not opt for a different location to work? Visit a coffee shop, your local library or your neighborhood park and set up your portable workstation for the day.
Sometimes a different environment can increase your productivity by refreshing your mind for the next batch of tasks.
This is someting I rarely do, since I have to take care of my twins. But, over the summer, I often work outside and that change of scenery is enough for me!
Kick Isolation to the Curb Once And for All
Remember why you started working from home in the first place — was it because you wanted to save money? Be home with your children? Have a more flexible and diverse schedule?
My why was to be able to be present with my children and see them grow.
But, I know, I just have to work more on being more “out there” and making it a point!
When you focus on the reasons why you wanted to stay home, you leave less room for feelings of loneliness to creep in.