Keeping a Social Life When You Work From Home
One of the most challenging things about working from your house, especially if you rarely if never go to an office, is maintaining a social life that doesn’t consist of drinking tap water from a plastic cup while flanked by dolls and teddy bears.
Socializing Is Good For The Psyche
Some people might think that having a social life is overrated or might even be a luxury, but science tells us otherwise. According to Stanford University, a number of people mistake loneliness for depression, which leads to needlessly medicating for a condition that could be cured simply by maintaining meaningful social connections. One psychologist even has gone so far as to describe loneliness as a trap that is self-defeating and difficult to break free from. In other words, having a social life is essential, not just a nicety.
One of the big problems is that when you work from home, you’re not around other adults on a regular basis. The sad truth is that many people select their friends out of pure convenience, which is why they hang out with coworkers when they’re away from the office. If you were the person who was always painting the town red with the guy who sat in the adjacent cubicle, working from home can put a real cramp in your social life.
Other people who work from home find that friends who previously were warm to them suddenly cool and withdraw. The reasons could vary and could include jealousy or the perception that people who work from home are never available.
Getting Out Of The Rut
There comes a point, though, when you need to just decide that you will do whatever it takes to maintain a social life. Having that desire to keep a social life is key, because without it none of the following ideas will work.
Schedule time to go out with your friends. There is evidence that in general people who work from home log more time on the job. Your friends probably think that they are interrupting your valuable work time by hanging out with you, which is why you need to schedule time to go out and socialize. Let your friends know when you are going to be free, and make plans to meet up for dinner, drinks, a concert or whatever else you like to do together.
Be social on social media, because that’s what it was created for in the first place. Instead of just clicking on the BuzzFeed article about why a clerk from Target is suddenly an Internet star, take the time to reach out to your friends. This is especially important when people live nearby, because you can use Twitter, Facebook, or other sites to schedule times to hang out. The nature of social media helps with contacting people who are busy, because each of you can quickly and easily reply to messages at your convenience. Also, don’t forget to comment on things that your friends post, keeping the tone of your communications like a digital water cooler. But just like the physical watering holes in an office, you need to set limits to how much you use social media while working.
Most people have hobbies or interests, even if they have laid dormant for years. Maybe you like to ballroom dance, crochet, play basketball, or drive your Miata. Whatever your passion is, there are other people who share it. Search for clubs or organizations where you can indulge in your interest and make friends with like-minded individuals. Such endeavors can help you form some deep and rewarding friendships.
Finally, you can reach out to other people in your area who work from home. Maybe those people do the same kind of work as you, or maybe they don’t, but the fact that you share the experience of slaving away while wearing bunny slippers can be unifying. If you don’t know anyone who works from home, search for support groups in your area.