As someone who suffers from depression anyway, loneliness is something I’m used to feeling. I can be in a room full of family or friends and sit there feeling invisible. But sometimes working from home can make the situation more difficult. I would also like to point out that loneliness can affect anyone, not just those who are freelancers.
When I quit my office job to work from home I didn’t particularly think it would affect me because it wasn’t as if I was massively close to anyone at work. And it isn’t something that affects me every day and if you are sat there wondering if you should work from home don’t let this stop you.
When I was thinking about going freelance I knew I would potentially feel isolated or lonely but the benefits outweighed the negatives. And like I said before because I suffer from mental illness it is something I would sometimes feel regardless.
I am very much a person who enjoys my alone time and I would like to clarify there is a difference between feeling alone and feeling lonely. Being alone doesn’t bother me. I am an introverted person with a small circle of friends and too much social interaction makes me exhausted; both physically and mentally.
Sometimes I need to be alone to take a break from people, to recharge and is something I normally dictate on purpose. Feeling lonely means you need people around. Ones who understand what you are going through. You sit there wondering whether people want to around you.
As a freelancer, it can be great fun. You can wear what you want, work whatever hours you want and even choose whether you can be bothered to take a shower! Freedom is one of the best bits with working from home. Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel like you are stuck in a prison cell that is your room.
So, if you are suffering from loneliness what should you do?
Make sure you plan a social event once a week. I always make sure I have something planned for my weekend that involves me leaving the house. It normally involves my boyfriend but it gives me something to motivate me throughout the week. I mean the other week I went to the theatre to see a play with my dad and it was a needed trip. It doesn’t always have to be that crazy but even if you plan to meet a friend up for a coffee it is some socialising you can do outside of your work.
Spend some time working outside your house. A change of scenery is not only great for your mental health but also I find sometimes that changing your environment can help with your flow of creativity. For example, instead of working in my room I can find my nearest coffee shop and bring my laptop and do my work there for a bit. Or if you have a friend who is also working or studying go over to their place and work together in their place for a few hours.
Try calling people and not have every line of communication over text and email. Sometimes just hearing the sound of a person’s voice can help whether the phone call is related to your work or not.
Take breaks where you aren’t staring at a screen. As a social media manager and blogger 100% of my work involves me looking at social media and typing up stuff on my laptop. Sometimes if I am taking a coffee break instead of watching something on my laptop I read a book or write in my journal. Gives you that space and I find staring at my screen too long can give me headaches as well.
These are just a couple of ideas and I know sometimes when you are having a tough day with your mental illness getting out of the house can be difficult. Start with tiny steps and slowly make your way up. If you have any other ideas let me know, I’d love to know what other freelancers do to combat loneliness.
Gracie Victoria Hemphill x