It is a surprise to many people when they begin working from home that loneliness can be a major issue. Gone are the days of a busy office atmosphere, lunches with coworkers, company holiday parties and time spent on breaks catching up on the latest gossip. Compounding the problem is that there is also no longer a transition between the home and the office, which only magnifies the feelings of isolation. Even if there are children present, it is not the same as having meaningful social interactions with other adults. The only way to deal with feeling lonely is to understand why it happens and take active steps to combat it. Here are some tips for dealing with loneliness when working from home.
Until someone has experienced loneliness it is difficult to understand that it can be a very complex issue. Common definitions explain it as a state of isolation or being alone. But what these definitions do not explain is that loneliness can lead to people feeling unwanted, unneeded and empty inside. Humans are social animals that have an instinctive desire for interactions with others. When those interactions are missing, both the mind and body react in negative ways. The thoughts of being alone and unwanted can lead to depression, decreased memory and poor decision-making. If allowed to linger long enough, the negative mental impacts of loneliness then lead to negative physical symptoms like increased stress or antisocial behaviors. The bottom line is that loneliness hurts, but it can be dealt with if addressed in the early stages through creating ways to stay in steady contact with others.
Make Contact With People A Priority
The feelings of loneliness for people working from home is all too often self-inflicted. This is due to another major issue in the work from home field which is the tendency to overwork. With the need to handle many tasks at once and the office only being a few steps away at all times, patterns easily arise for concentrating only on work regardless of the time of day. This, in the long-run, creates a major imbalance between work and the other important aspects of life. There is no possible way to maintain constant contact with others if you dont make it a priority to get out of the house on a regular basis. Schedule some time just for yourself and stick to the schedule no matter how much work you think needs to be finished. The alternative of not doing so will only lead to hitting that big wall called burnout with no one there to help pick you back up.
Once you have scheduled regular time for yourself, dedicate part of that time to participate in activities that you are obligated to complete. All to often, the scheduled lunch out with a friend or the trip to the mall is canceled at the last minute because of ever-looming deadlines. It is much harder to cancel activities when there are others depending upon you to be there. Volunteer for a community organization, become involved with a social club or sign on to organize a church function. Regardless of the activity you choose, obligating yourself to something outside of the home can go a long way in keeping the feelings of loneliness at bay. It will also provide you with a sense of teamwork, which is something most people miss when working at home.
One of the wonders that has arisen from the Internet is the ability to constantly stay in contact with people. Instant messages, live video feeds and social media sites are all ways to be have meaningful interactions. It may not be the same as being in physical contact with someone, but being connected with other adults can help decrease the feelings of being isolated and lonely. However, it must be pointed out that technology can also become a huge distraction to work. There is no way for you to concentrate on work if a large portion of your workday is spent on Facebook. Use technology in ways that directly combat your loneliness, but dont allow it to consume your time or become a substitute for real human interaction.
It eventually becomes a given for many people who work from home that occasional feelings of loneliness comes with the territory. Its actually very healthy to recognize this fact because once you know what you are dealing with it is much easier to take quick steps to correct the problem. There is nothing wrong with accepting the reality that there are times when you will feel lonely and isolated. Just dont let that reality overshadow all of the reasons you wanted to work from home in the first place.