Friday, April 13, 2012

Loneliness While Working at Home

It is not uncommon to feel a sense of loneliness when you are working at home, especially if you have moved from parenting to an empty nest.  You looked forward to the day when all that chaos and confusion of combining raising children and working at home would end.  You longed for the day when you could focus on your work without distraction.  That day has come and gone, it was nice for a while, but now there may be a gnawing sense of loneliness that has taken up the place where chaos and confusion used to reside.

This may not be everyone's experience, some may thrive on working alone, but it is my experience.  I have been searching for and discovering some helpful solutions to this.  Some I am practicing, others need to be added to my life to broaden and expand it.  Let me share a few things that I've found helpful in overcoming loneliness while working at home.  Some suggestions are not new, but we often need reminders to get back on track.

Following are some suggestions for overcoming loneliness while working from home:

  1. Find other friends who work from home on Facebook and Twitter - this won't completely fill the void, because we need to hear real voices and see real tangible people to do that, but it helps a lot.  There are many groups of people with like business interests that can be found and joined on Facebook.  Using the Hashtag (#) feature on Twitter you can search for "tweets" about things that interest you and share as well.  I suggest that you turn off the "notifications" feature when you join or are added to a group on Facebook or you will be overwhelmed with emails...but do keep up with the groups, you do that by going to the "Home" link in the upper right and looking at the list in the left margin.  Open up a tab on your browser with your Facebook account during working hours, and twitter as well, so you can interact when you wish, and share your accomplishments.  I have a separate account for business acquaintances and friends on Facebook, that window is open during working hours, and in the evening I check in on family and personal friends on my personal account.
  2. Go out for a walk, alone or with your dog if you have one, and exercise.  I try to walk or do Yoga each day, and do fail to do so some days, but also do manage to get out there more and more.  It helps so much to get outdoors for an hour or more and run into neighbors and take in some sunshine, or walk in the rain with an umbrella when possible.  You can do a little in the gardens and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Get up each hour and do a chore around the house.  This helps me so much mentally and physically. It's not good to sit for hours a day if you are physically able to get up and move.  If you must sit due to a physical condition, learn about sitting exercises you can do and do some each hour to aid circulation. Youtube has many exercise videos, look up "chair yoga" or other exercises that can be done while sitting.
  4. Call a friend or family member and talk a bit so that you hear a voice.  Though social networking, emailing etc. are nice, there is nothing like an "old fashioned" talk on the phone and visit with a friend over a cup of coffee.
  5. Get involved in a hobby or activity through your community center or go to a Woman's Bible Study.  I do the latter each week which gets me out among women who like to share their joys and trials and support one another in and through them.
  6. Consider ways that your work might include tangible or visual contact with other people. Some work done from home includes this naturally, like those who go out and show products in homes as part of their business, but for those of us who are writers, more creativity may be needed.  Join in on video chats and other visual forms of interaction.  You will find that if you "social network" as discussed in #1 above, you'll hear of events taking place like this that you can take part in.  Do so when you can.
Do you have other suggestions for avoiding loneliness while working from home?  Please do share in a comment.

Updated 11/28/18