Working remotely, at your own time, own place. It's great! Right? Well, that's what it might feel like at the start, but after working from home for a long time, the dark side of working remotely starts to show up.
Don't get me wrong. Many people dream of working remotely and it's great, mostly. But as with anything good, there are also cons of working alone at your apartment, sitting in front of the computer all day long.
One of the major side effects of working from home is feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Here are 7 ways to battle the feeling of isolation and loneliness while working from home:
1. Force yourself to reach out to others
When working in an office, it's easy to take social interactions like the small talks over lunch or over coffee breaks with our co-workers for granted. But when working from home, it's up to you to be more intentional and proactive about creating social interactions with your colleagues and friends. So, do whatever you feel like will help to interact with others. Create a separate slack channel called "Watercooler talk" or have virtual lunch together with your colleagues. Call your friends or have a zoom call with your friends from college.
2. Find hobbies and activities outside of work
One of the major challenges while working from home is to "check out" from work and have a work-life balance. Your work tends to consume the majority of your day. It's important to leave your desk and focus on other activities and hobbies that you find interesting. It doesn't have to be something that's productive. It can be anything that you find interesting, like reading a good book or gardening.
3. Go for a walk
It's easy to sit in front of a screen all day without the need to be anywhere else. But sometimes when feeling anxious or overwhelmed, instead of hacking at it for few more minutes, it's best to just get up and go for a walk. Walking helps release anxiety and feeling of loneliness. Even if you can't go for long walks, just walking around the block also helps switch your mindset and gives you a break from the virtual world.
4. Change your work environment
Working from home doesn't always have to be working from "home". Working remotely gives you the flexibility of space. So, change your environment once in a while. Work from a coffee shop, library, or a co-working space. It's important to feel like you are around people and part of society. Working from some place other than your home even once or twice a week can be extremely helpful in giving your fresh ideas and outlooks.
5. Invite people over
It's easy to give in to the desire to just Netflix and chill on the weekends. But that might seem desirable in the short term. It can only make you feel more isolated over the long run. So invite people over. Call people up on the weekend that share similar interests as you do. Also, say yes to others' invitations and make sure you are attending social gatherings.
6. Join a community or volunteer for a cause
Not everything has to be done in exchange for money. Find something that is close to your heart and volunteer for the cause. It can be an extremely stress-relieving and rewarding experience and will make you feel part of society and less alone.
7. Work on side projects
Having something outside of work to look forward to every day is a great feeling. Find some way to use your existing skills to work on some side projects. If you are a developer, you could try contributing to open source or work on your own Micro-SaaS product. It could lead to a side-income or a nice addition to your resume also, not to mention it is a rewarding process to work on your own project without the worry of deadlines and requirements from others.
That's it. These are some of the things that are helpful in combating loneliness and isolation while working remotely. Please post in the comments below if you have anything that you found helpful in keeping you mentally healthy while working from home.
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