I’ve only been blogging since March 2019, but I’ve been working for myself since October 2015. I know how quickly the novelty of staying home and being able work in your pajamas (and unbrushed hair) can wear off. Even if you’re doing work you absolutely love, life as a solopreneur can be lonely AF. That’s why today I’m sharing my top tips for how to deal with loneliness when working from home.
When you work from home, you need daily rituals to protect your mental health. I speak from personal experience having learned this the hard way. Even though the first 3 years of my business was spent traveling the world as a digital nomad, I still felt lonely and depressed a lot of the time. Even worse, I felt guilty for feeling that way because from the outside I “had it made.” I learned quickly that while I relished my freedom and loved my business, I had to prioritize my own wellbeing or I’d quickly spiral into a sad, dark place.
If you’re feeling the same way right now, I hope this post helps you feel at the very least, seen for what you’re going through. You’re definitely not alone in your loneliness. It’s honestly a bit of a silent epidemic in our modern world. Research shows that loneliness and isolation is worse for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
How to Deal with Loneliness when Working from Home + FREE Self-Care Printable:
#1 Get dressed even if you’re not leaving the house.
I’m not 100% perfect at this, but I’ve noticed that on the days I actually get dressed and brush my hair I feel better. You can still dress comfortably and wear real clothes by the way! It’s also an act of self-love to feel and look your best even if no one else is going to see you that day.
#2 Create a morning routine.
Almost every day, I fill out my Daily Inspired Action Map before I start working. It includes writing down my big why, gratitudes, top 3 goals for the day, messages from my higher self/The Universe, 3 intentions for the day, self-care plan, and daily wins. By the time I’ve completed these prompts (which only takes about 5-7 minutes), I feel focused, inspired, and ready to start my day!
Whatever you do, pick a couple of things that make you feel good. Having a daily ritual to look forward to definitely boosts your happiness and mental health.
#3 Get outside.
A natural (and free!) antidote to feeling funky and depressed is to get your buns outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Even if it isn’t a sunny day, getting out and about will do you some good. You can choose to sit outside and take in some rays for just a few minutes or you can go on a walk. I prefer somewhere near water or trees if I can swing it.
Even on days when I feel like absolute poop, the simple act of changing my environment and getting out in nature has turned me into a whole new woman. The Japanese even have a special term for this, Forest Bathing. There’s a book on it if you want to learn more:
#4 Set up a co-working date.
Once a week I get together at a local cafe with a fellow blogger, and it’s a highlight of my week! As a bonus, I find I’m also a lot more focused and productive during our co-working sessions. One thing I do miss about a traditional work environment is being around other people. It’s not even that I want to talk non-stop with them, it’s simply the comfort of knowing they are around.
Those “small” moments of laughing at a shared joke or saying “good morning” or “how was your weekend?” that we took for granted really do make us feel less alone and like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We humans operate best in communities rather than being isolated on our own.
#5 Work at a cafe a couple times a week.
This is similar to my previous suggestion, but you don’t even have to meet up with someone you know. Even just being in the vicinity of other people can give you a much needed mental health boost. I love the energy of a cafe or a coffee shop. It reminds met that I’m a part of a community and that even if I feel alone when I’m at home, I’m not!
Another bonus is that if you become a “regular,” people will begin to recognize your face and maybe you’ll even make a new friend! When I was living in Bali, I went to the same spot for breakfast every morning. It made my entire day when one of the ladies who worked there would shout my name, give me a huge smile, and hug me. She’d always comes over and we’d have a little chat before I ate and started working.
#6 Separate home life from work life.
This is something I am in the process of implementing for myself, because right now I’m in a shared living space. I don’t have my own office and work from a desk in the bedroom. It’s not ideal as I’d much prefer a way to completely separate my work life from my home life. Once my fiancé and I get our own place, I will definitely create a much-needed office space!
If you have the space, take advantage! This is so good for your mind, too as it will help you focus when you’re working and decompress when you’re not. Even if you don’t have an office space, like me, try to create a space that’s “work only” if you can. You can even implement rules for yourself like, “no laptops or phones at dinner” or “no working after 5PM.”
#7 Join a co-working space.
If you really crave the routine and structure of a traditional work environment, you may find the investment in a co-working space worth your while. I find that personally I prefer to mix it up and work from home or a cafe, but that may not work for you. I have several friends who swear by letting go of the home office in favor of a co-working membership.
It’s the best of both worlds. You still get to work for yourself, but with the added benefits of social connection and office camaraderie. It’s also great for networking and making new friends.
#8 Take a class.
I recently started taking a pottery class once a week, and I love it! I’m a total beginner so I’m not making masterpieces quite yet, but I find that its a great way to connect with other people and also release stress and tension from the week. Also – it’s the exact opposite of sitting in front of a computer!
Having a hobby that’s very different from what you do at work is another great way to separate work and personal life. You can take a class for just about any interest. A lot of cities also have community education classes that are quite affordable.
#9 Join a local freelancer/work from home/entrepreneur club or meetup
When I was living in Barcelona I connected with a local freelancer group, and it was so great meeting up once a week to chat with likeminded people. One thing I’ve learned working for myself is that not everyone really “gets” the lifestyle, and the only thing that’s really kept me sane is having other people around me who do get it. Meetup.com is a great place to look for these groups. You can also do a search for local Facebook groups.
If you live far away from the city, you can also find online communities for just about anything. Bottom line: Your people are out there. You just have to be creative and find them!
#10 Take mental health breaks
When you’re feeling lonely and isolated it’s easy to get sucked into working long hours in order to avoid feeling all the feels. I get it. I’ve been there.
And! You’ll feel a whole lot better stepping away from the screen for even just a few minutes to do something good for your mental health. Burn out isn’t pretty.
You can listen to a song and dance. Do some yoga poses or deep belly breaths. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. Step outside. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something that puts you in a different frame of mind.
Free printable: Weekly Self-Care Planner
I know it’s not easy feeling lonely and isolated. To be honest, it totally sucks sometimes. The only thing you can really do is start to make small changes to the way you’re currently doing things. You may have to go out of your comfort zone, but you know what they say about that! All the good things happen there. 🙂