Being self-employed is a dream come true for many entrepreneurial spirits and work at home parents, a chance to break free of the 9-5 lifestyle and start enjoying the freedom of independence and self-managed schedules. Since self-employment means no more trekking to an office, it can also leave an individual with a different type of challenge–loneliness. Instead of being caught up in the daily buzz of an office, hanging out at the water cooler, and having lunch with coworkers, self-employed individuals are often left with a great deal of working alone and spending time as a ‘solopreneur‘ instead. If working alone has you cooped up at home for extended periods of time, it can be hard to think of creative ways to socialize and interact with people again. Here are some tips on how to deal with the loneliness of self-employment:
- Eat lunch out of the house. Eating at least one meal that doesn’t involve you cooking or preparing it is an easy way to increase your social interactions–even if it is just with the cafe barista. Getting outside and just going through the process of being around people can break up the monotony of eating at the desk or simply snacking (alone) through your day.
- Call someone new each day. This can be a friend, relative, or just the neighbors, but talking to someone for just a few minutes can help relieve stress. Pick a topic that is completely unrelated to work for maximum effectiveness. Schedule this for the end of the day, so you’re not distracted during the middle of a project.
- Join a health club or gym. If you’re working at the computer all day, chances are you’re not getting enough exercise. A health club or gym is a great place to get your daily exercise and workout with a friend or group as well.
- Turn on some healthy background noise. Look for ways to add some noise to your environment, but make sure it’s not distracting. Certain types of music, documentaries, and even light comedy on television can help you stay focused and productive far better than complete silence.
- Volunteer. Just a couple hours per day is all it takes to make a significant difference in someone else’s life, and you’ll have an easy excuse to talk with others and even socialize a little.
- Take a time out. It’s important to schedule time away from work, especially since you’re never really clocking in or out from the job. Make an ‘appointment’ with yourself to go see a movie, head out to the spa, or just take a shopping trip for a break from your usual surroundings.
- Join a club. A weekly club centered around a hobby or interest is a great way to stay connected with others, and since it will simply become a part of your schedule, it will be much easier to keep working the rest of the time, and not be distracted. A local running group, an artist’s gathering, or any other interest that inspires you can help you meet some new people and get involved in activities besides work.
Self-employment isn’t the ideal fit for everyone, and has its own set of challenges and setbacks. Loneliness is one of the biggest disadvantages of self-employment, but it can be overcome with a little planning and strategy! Try any of these tips if you’re having a hard time dealing with loneliness as a newly self-employed individual, and start making the most of your lifestyle again.