Loneliness. I’d been told it would be one of the hardest things I’d come up against in becoming a self-employed-one-man-band. Now, seemingly overnight, everyone is trying to come to grips with the iso-blues. Yep, we’re in the midst of a crash-course in dealing with near-complete isolation from our friends and family. Something that never would have crossed most people’s minds a few weeks back.
This is why loneliness and how to ‘deal with it’ are such important conversation topics right now.
Last week, I wrote about a few of my favourite tools for working from home like Zoom, Harvest, and Slack. The thing is it doesn’t really matter whether you’re working-from-home or isolating-at-home, tools like these are great enablers. I’ve never had so many video calls and messages (business or otherwise) as I have in these past couple of weeks. It barely feels like isolation sometimes!
I’m one of the lucky ones.
I know I’m in a fortunate position – I’m not oblivious to this. I have my wife, Lydia, we have our puppy, Billie (as always, #Pupdate is at the end of this post!) and the transition into working exclusively from home has been pretty easy as I was mainly working from home anyway!
Loneliness doesn’t discriminate
Even in my fortunate circumstances, I find myself occasionally missing the experience of a face-to-face meeting (even though it’s only been a week or so) and the variety of leaving the house! I realise that we need to be checking in with ourselves and our loved ones regularly and, generally, we need to be taking a bit more care with our actions and words.
I know it’s not quite this simple but, if I may take some liberties, I think there’s three parts (+ technology!) in building the foundation necessary to overcome the lonely iso-blues (not to be confused with the Higgs Boson Blues) during your working week:
- Exercise & Diet
I’ve been told that over-communication is essential to avoid the feelings of loneliness that inevitably come in times like these. The funny thing is that even if you feel like you are over-communicating, you probably aren’t. When you factor in all the small talk you day in a ‘normal day’, you will realise just how frequently you’re communicating with others.
So, line up those video calls (don’t just stick to the old fashioned telephone!) and get set-up on Slack, Whatsapp, Messenger or [your preferred messaging platform] asap! Keep talking and communicating with your friends and loved ones – it’s better for all of us.
It’s tough being cooped up on your own! It’s even tougher when you don’t have a clear direction on how you’re going to run your day. The best option here is to create some sort of routine, think about when you:
- start work,
- finish work,
- take breaks
My opinion is that people should try to have a ‘normal’ day as if they were at the office. I’ll also go on record and say that there’s nothing wrong with doing a few chores around the house between tasks! Just try not to let the chores become your job for the day 😎
Tip: Appreciate your new, much shorter, commute to work! It’s my favourite part of working from home 🙌
Bonus Tip: You run the day, the day doesn’t run you.
Exercise & Diet
There is a clear link between physical and mental health. Make time to get some fresh air & exercise everyday. Firstly, it’s one of the few reasons to leave the house right now and, secondly, the endorphins from exercise will definitely improve your mood.
One of the more difficult things about working from home is the close proximity to the kitchen. I’m not going to preach on about meal planning or anything like that, I reckon just limit the snacking and try to eat the same amount of food you normally would (or, if you can, just eat when you’re hungry).
So, nothing to it then!
Unfortunately, that’s not true. These are just three things that you could be doing to help improve your mental and physical being. There is no cure-all to loneliness but you can definitely do things to help yourself and those around you. Keep safe and stay positive.
Tip: Whether you’re working from the home office or the dining table, get up and move around at least once an hour. It’s a good opportunity to make a cup of tea or coffee too.
Billie is quite possibly the cuddliest and sleepiest dog I’ve ever met. Her training is going well on all counts and we are so pleased that we put the effort into socialising her pre-isolation. She gets her final vaccines in mid-April and then we can finally take her for walks!
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