If you are a freelancer; you know how lonely life can be. Other than a few delivery executives (who come to deliver your takeaways and supplies) there is no human contact that you make throughout the day.
The life of a freelancer can be advantageous when it comes to getting time alone and being able to work in the comfort of your home.
However, it soon starts getting monotonous, doesn’t it? Loneliness can be a gift when you choose it. But with time, the isolation can be deafening enough to take a toll on you.
While working from home can be a professional boon, it can often also make you feel deserted, thus triggering anxiety attacks. You miss out on the friendly tete-a-tete, the friendly banter, and harmless leg-pulling during the lunch hours. While this may be an explicit gift for the introverts, the extroverts are the ones that end up suffering from the absence of a soul to talk to.
Quite often, stemming from this isolated existence, freelancers have to fight anxiety and depression. When you spend a lot of time alone, your mental health can go in for a toss thus affecting the harmonious balance of your life.
But having started as a freelancer myself, I know how it may feel to be within the blanket of silence that is broken once in a while by the voice of Siri or Alexa. And having fought the loneliness myself, you can take my word that you too can conquer this phase of feeling alone.
So if you are tired of the silence, here are some ways that can help you overcome the loneliness that you are facing as a freelancer.
1. Join Other Freelancers
So many other freelancers must be feeling lonely in the dead quietude of their homes. They too are maybe longing to have a conversation with somebody. So join forums and groups and try to locate the freelancers who work on the same schedule as yours. That way you will be able to use their company while visiting the gym or grabbing a cup of coffee in the nearest café.
Build a community of people who you share a wavelength with so that you have a go-to group when you feel alone. Whether something about your work project is bothering you or you want to take their suggestions regarding a dress you are buying – a close circle of freelancing friends can make you feel less lonely, even if you do not meet them in person.
Peepchat is one such option where you can create a community and add the fellow freelancers. You can even use sites like meetup.com that helps you look for such similar people in your area.
2. Meet People and Socialize
If you are finding it hard to cope with the loneliness, then the easiest way to combat it is to meet people in person. If you have been avoiding friends and family for all this time, it is time that you reach out to them and plan a meet-up.
Quite often, I have seen freelancers isolating themselves from their non-freelancing friends and then later complaining about it. So try to align your free time with theirs and catch a movie with your school friends or college buds. You can even reach out to your freelancer friends and ask them to set a place for a meeting.
This will have a twofold advantage for you – not only will you be able to build better relations, but you will also be able to learn many new things about your field of work.
3. Get Out of Your House
Instead of sitting around and sulking, use the time to catch some fresh air. Step out of your house with a goal and come back achieving it. Take a walk in the park or head to a running trail and let your endorphins get the better of the day. And that is indeed not all that the outdoors have in store for you!
You will be able to meet new people and strike up conversations with some of them. You may get a friend in one of them, you never know! And even if you don’t, having someone to talk to, although temporarily, will help you cope with loneliness.
You can even hit the gym and do a light workout. If your freelancing career is giving you ample free time, then you might as well make good use of it instead of wasting it within your four-walled room. You can even attend seminars and events related to your line of work.
4. Get Engaged in Your Hobby
As a student, I remember how I loved sketching cartoons. But owing to the practical demands of life, I had to switch to earn a living as a web designer, and with that, I had to bury my hobby of sketching. So many of us have to bid farewell to our hobbies after we start on our careers, right?
But that should not be something that you must feel sad about. As a freelancer, you can be in control of your schedule, and therefore you can strategize your work hours so that you can give time to your hobby.
What was that one thing that you always liked to do but could not find time for as you grew up? Did you like painting or writing maybe? Or were you an active part of the college theatre group? Whatever be it, use the free time to cultivate your hobby once again.
For every day, save an hour’s time to do what you have always wanted to. This will help you engage your mind elsewhere, and as a result, you will feel less lonely.
5. Get a Pet
So many of my animal-lover friends long to keep a pet but cannot only because of their 9 to 5 job requirements. The only concern that makes them refrain from returning home with a puppy or a kitten is that who is going to take care of it when they are away from home. So if you had always wanted to get a pet, now is the time.
Animals can be great companions, and their constant presence can be healing enough to help you fight loneliness. When you wake up next to a ball of fur cuddled upright on your laptop in the morning, you are guaranteed to feel better.
Moreover, dogs and cats can have therapeutic contributions when it comes to battling depression. With them around, you are bound to feel more loved and secured.
6. Change Your Workplace
Being a freelancer does not mean that you must operate from your house. You can take your laptop and work sitting in a library or from a café while sipping your favorite cup of coffee – just the way you like it.
Although it will not be even close to the experience of working with colleagues by your side, yet you will be able to enjoy the cacophony inside the café and be in human touch with the people working at the coffee house thus feeling less lonely.
You can also consider working in co-working spaces where you can surround yourself with other people to avoid loneliness. You may have to pay a nominal fee, but working in a co-working space alongside other entrepreneurs can be an enriching experience. Not only will you be able to meet creative people, but you will also be able to learn valuable things from them!
Thus, making you feel more motivated and, in turn, making your work life more fulfilling.
7. Engage Yourself in Community Work
If you believe in a cause and want to support it, then this might be the right time to engage yourself in volunteering work that is convenient to your location and schedule.
If you have always believed in equal rights, then you can join a group and work for them. You can visit nursing homes and give them company, or you can take a day out to participate in cleaning drives. Through community work, you will get to meet new people, and the very act of making their lives a little better is sure to make you feel good from within too.
Lookup for a scope of work in your vicinity – whether the local sports club or church needs someone to volunteer. Volunteering will make you feel good and will help you in building better relationships with some great people.
8. Enroll Yourself for a Course
So many people want to pursue further education and yet cannot due to their employment commitments. So if you have the time, make use of it by taking up a course. There are so many good colleges that offer distant learning programs. Search for a course and get yourself enrolled in the online classes.
As a freelancer, knowing multiple languages can be very beneficial. So sign up for online language classes and utilize the time to master a new language. If you feel you are weak in something, use the spare time for your practice assignments to hone your skills.
Solitude isn’t always a bad thing when you know how to use it well. So learn to savour your alone-time. As a freelancer, it is entirely reasonable to feel lonely while working from within the four walls of your home.
So rather than fixating on the feeling of loneliness, use the experience to gain value for yourself. This is your time to get items ticked off from your bucket list.
So try the above ideas to eliminate the feeling of isolation, and give it time to settle! With time, you will learn to fight back feeling and enjoy the tranquillity of working from your home.