Loneliness can be tough on your mental and physical health. But, even with the knowledge that being lonely is bad for you, a survey from 2020 found 64% of freelancers feel lonesome every day!
How do we stop feeling so alone all the time?
In this article, I’ll go over some tips to help improve our loneliness situation starting now as well as how we might avoid it in the future.
1. Working outside your home
If you're feeling lonely, it's good to try and surround yourself with people. But even if they don't interact much, just being in their presence will make things easier on your feelings of loneliness. If you work from home or are a location-independent freelancer, there are plenty of options for getting out into the world while still working outside the house!
From coffee shops and restaurants, all the way up to co-working spaces and business lounges - these places will help keep that isolation at bay by providing an environment where workers can bond over commonalities.
2. Change your scenery
Change up your scenery and take advantage of enjoyable public spaces to get work done.
Public Spaces are some of the most relaxing places you can find, with tables for lounging around and a semi-relaxed atmosphere that's perfect for getting things done!
A coffee shop is an excellent choice when looking at working in a public space because they're not too busy so you'll be able to sit longer without becoming a nuisance or feeling like someone might come over to bother you if it was busier.
Similarly, parks also make good locations as long as there aren't many people walking by who could disturb what felt like your own personal oasis just moments ago - this goes double for libraries.
3. Co-working spaces
Inspired by the entrepreneur’s spirit, co-working spaces are a great way for you to get your work done while enjoying some of that entrepreneurial atmosphere.
You can rent on a daily, hourly, weekly, or monthly basis and still have access to an office without having to sign any lease yourself!
The social benefits at these places are also incredibly beneficial since it exposes us all within this community where we're usually surrounded by other entrepreneurs and freelancers who share valuable networking opportunities with each other every day.
Locate a co-working space near you.
· WiFi Tribe
4. Business Lounges
Business lounges are a more comfortable and less distracting option to do business than coworking spaces. You can go in at your leisure, sit down comfortably, and get some work done without all the distractions of home or office life. Regus is known for its airport-adjacent offices that offer businesses an international space with no distraction from their daily lives; Cowrks offers similar services as well!
5. Build your network
Building a network is key to success as a freelancer. If you're feeling isolated and lonely working from home, try making some time for networking during the week or on weekends.
Building your contacts list may feel like it takes up too much of your precious spare time, but they could be helpful when you most need them - and remember that people have limits to how many emails they are willing to refuse contact with!
6. Get connected
A major cause of loneliness is feeling disconnected from others. To prevent and cure it, you need to be proactive in building relationships relevant to the work that isolates you. Actively reach back out when they need something in return so that even if your relationships are one-sided, you're still creating new connections every day which will help you overcome any feelings of alienation or disconnection.
Let's face it, meeting new people can be a challenge. But when you're trying to build professional relationships, the difficulty of getting out there and connecting with others might seem even more daunting than usual. For those who believe that this tenet is especially important in today's work culture where networking has become so pivotal for success--take heart! Mind Tools offers some great advice on how to initiate these connections without shaking too many hands.
The same principles as outlined by MindTools are also applicable for personal friendships and healthy social interactions outside of work hours since they provide an opportunity to learn about someone else through their life experiences.
7. Try to keep your routines and rituals
The benefits of working remotely are undeniable. Maintaining a routine can give you the sense that there is a structure in your day and prevent feelings of isolation.
Working from home affords us so many luxuries, but it's easy to forget what time we have for lunch or how often our breaks should be taken when all we see around us is an empty house.
It's important not only to maintain routines but also set up rituals: things we do regularly on rest days as well as work days because these make a huge difference in mood and productivity.
Your daily routine can have an enormous effect on your mental health. Some of the ways that you might be able to see this are in how much sleep quality is improved, whether or not you procrastinate more, and if it disconnects from yourself and your motivations for what makes life enjoyable.
For many people, daily routines are a way to have some stability in their lives. You can use your routine as an anchor for all the other changes you're going through if you've been feeling lonely recently - it'll let you focus on what's good about life instead of focusing on loneliness.
Rituals are important in everyone’s life, but they can be especially crucial for those who feel lonely. Rituals help to forge deeper bonds between you and your community of people. There’re many different types of rituals that don't have to be religious at all - from marking a special occasion or moment with friends on social media, saying goodnight prayers during the weekdays before bedtime, or planning monthly trips out into nature together as a group.
It's okay if sometimes it feels like there is no one around; through these shared activities, we're able to form healthy relationships with ourselves and others without even realizing it!
8. Partner on Projects
Working by yourself can be isolating and lonely. Switch it up and work together with others on a few projects to meet other freelancers that offer complementary services, collaborate in existing project bids, or put in joint bids for new ones!
Collaborations are a great way to network, get your name out into the marketplace while reducing isolated working time all at once.
Working with people who are not in your field can be a lot of fun, and there’s always the chance that one day you might meet someone from another company. There is a lot to gain by collaborating outside your area of expertise!
9. Adopt a Pet
Many people, when feeling lonely or unhappy, find solace in their pets. Pets are great for helping you feel better and can be a good distraction from the loneliness that may have caused these feelings to start with.
However, while some scientific studies show this effect of pet ownership on moods there is not enough evidence backing it up at this time. What has been shown though through various different surveys and research projects is that certain types of animals such as dogs provide an outlet for humans to engage themselves more often outdoors which provides all sorts of benefits both emotional (less anxiety) but also mental (a boost in creativity).
So if you're feeling sad about being so alone then consider getting yourself a dog!
10. Set up regular get-togethers
One of the best ways to make sure you'll always have a social event on your calendar is by setting up regular get-togethers with people that are important in your life. This could be something like coffee once per week or family dinner every month, and it's one way for you to know there will always be someone waiting at home when things seem too tough out there.
You'll be more likely to show up if you have something on your schedule that makes getting dressed and going outside seem worth it--even when you're feeling down!
11. The Social Media Detox
Limiting social media time is key to minimizing the risk of loneliness. Social platforms have been shown to make people both less and more lonely, but it's important not to be caught up in how we use these sites rather than what they provide on their own.
In spite of this nuance-filled conclusion, a certain amount of caution still needs to be exercised when using Facebook or Instagram for hours on end; excessive usage can lead us towards isolationism which hurts our mental wellbeing over time as well as causing family members concern about your whereabouts due recurring FOMO (fear of missing out) occurrences!
The average person spends an estimated two hours every day on social media. However, the more time you spend scrolling through content and aimlessly browsing your feed when you find yourself bored is not doing any favors for how lonely or depressed you feel throughout the rest of that given day. Take a break! Set limits on what apps are allowed to be used each week; use them less often so they don’t become addictive in their own right. If this seems too tough, set up some kind of alert system with your phone where it will remind you after 15-30 minutes if nothing else works!
12. Be a mentor to new freelancers
Have you been freelancing for a while? If so, reach out and offer your expertise when it comes to helping other freelance workers. Coaching is an experience that can be valuable for both of you. Others may not have had an easy time in their early days if they didn't know how things work from someone else's perspective.
You don’t need more than 10 hours per week or anything like that- just put the word out about your availability and see who gets back with questions or needs help getting started on being self-employed themselves!
13. Pick up a hobby
Hobbies are a great way to experience personal growth and it's no wonder why they're used in therapy. When you stick with one, your mind builds up a sense of reward that motivates you to keep going
If you are feeling down and lonely, consider picking up a hobby to help combat depression. Research shows that hobbies can alleviate mild or moderate forms of this mental illness by distracting your mind from negative thoughts and feelings while also building self-esteem through accomplishment.
You may want to try taking some photos, reading great books for pleasure, creating art in any form - these activities will not only lift your mood but the activity itself could be therapeutic as well!
The satisfaction of helping others is incomparable, and the good deeds that you do will come back to help you in ways that would surprise you. There are many volunteering opportunities for people who want a way out of their own heads but don’t know how to get started.
Volunteering locally can be really helpful because it gives us an opportunity not only to connect with other volunteers and feel like we belong but also helps heal ourselves by thinking about what needs healing around us. To find an opportunity to volunteer at a venue near you, or anywhere in the world for that matter, look for events related to your interests.
Talking to yourself can actually be a great way of coping with loneliness. Self-talk is one thing you may do when no one else is there for conversation, and it helps because talk creates the illusion that other people are present at all times.
So if you find yourself feeling lonely or thinking negatively about your situation, try talking out loud in order to help organize thoughts and make decisions more easily!
If we want to feel good about ourselves and our lives, it is important that we talk with positivity. When you speak negative words or insult yourself, it will only make things worse for your mindset as well as how you are feeling in general. Instead of using degrading speech or insults when speaking to yourself, use positive phrases like “I can do this!”
16. Set Your Working Hours
Freelancers often find themselves working more hours than they would at a full-time job, not less. The upside of being your own boss is that you can do this from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, but just having access to work doesn’t mean you're actually achieving anything for all those hours on end - it takes discipline and willpower.
It's up to freelancers as their own bosses how much time should be spent working per day or week, so if productivity matters then set some reasonable limits!
For many freelancers, the most productive time of day is in the morning. To find out what works best for you personally, try scheduling your workday around those hours and see how it feels! If this doesn't jive with when you're working at your max level or if other commitments come up that need to be taken care of first thing in the morning -- no worries: just shift things accordingly so they fit into a more manageable schedule.
Putting yourself on a regular routine will likely give you some unexpected benefits as well; once these habits are established, there'll be plenty of free time left over after business hours where you can spend quality time with friends and loved ones outside your usual work sphere.
17. Make an ordinary activity into a time for socializing
You don’t have to be a social butterfly all the time.
Doing things like inviting people to be part of your regular routine and socializing during normal activities is a great way to include others in your daily life.
Even if you don't have a lot of free time throughout the week, there's nothing stopping from turning an ordinary activity like grocery shopping or going for a walk with friends into something more fun.
18. Speak up about it
Feeling lonely can be a powerful force that impacts both your day-to-day life as well as the quality of life you enjoy on an ongoing basis. If feeling isolated is something that has been bothering you for quite some time now, it's essential to speak up about it with someone close to you - preferably family or friends whom you trust deeply enough.
The best thing about talking out loud versus staying silent is the ability we have to take control over our own self by discovering ways (large or small) that could help us overcome such feelings.
One of the most powerful ways to reduce loneliness is by talking about your feelings with people you trust. It may be difficult at first, but it is a small act that can make all the difference in how lonely or connected you feel. Remember: don't do this alone!
19. Optimize your workspace
It's not just the coffee. A change in your daily environment can sometimes help you feel better. If a dark, isolated corner of your home has made you miserable and uncomfortable over time, it may be worth making some changes to optimize your workspace for success instead!
While there are many personal preferences that should go into designing an office space, here are a few basics we all agree on:
- Clear away old papers, office supplies, or anything that clutters your desk
- Invest in an ergonomic chair to encourage good posture while you're working at the computer
- Add natural elements like plants near your workspace where they can do some of the heavy lifting by providing clean air
- Put a little effort into aesthetics with artwork and matching colors
Nature is a powerful tool for improving one's mood. Studies show that spending more time in nature can help you feel less lonely and have improved mental well-being, which helps to improve your overall health too!
Nature has the power of soothing those who are feeling anxious or down by providing comfort with its natural beauty while also giving our minds something refreshing to think about.
Make more time in nature by eating lunch outside and walking during breaks, or you could even take your work window near an open door that lets the fresh air flow inside!
You don't have to change your entire life, but little changes can really make a difference.
About the Contributor
Georgi Todorov is the founder of ThriveMyWay, a place for online entrepreneurs, bloggers, SEO specialists, and freelancers to find success in their own way.