7 Ideas for Being Social When You're Kind of a Hermit
One day recently, I realized that I had not used my car in six days.
I live in the woods - about 7 miles from my gym, the post office, and the grocery store. So unlike a city dweller, I have to drive to those places. Any errands I do are by necessity almost always via car.
I'd pawned off post office trips and we-need-a-gallon-of-milk grocery trips on my kids and husband.
Andddd I'm sort of in a gym slump.
Six days. And the thing is.... I'd be lying if I said that's the first time it's happened.
It's become pretty routine for me to only leave my house to walk my dog, take a walk / run / bike ride for myself, or spend some time in my yard.
And I like it. I like it a lot.
I'm most definitely a hardcore introvert.
This is not the same as being shy. I'm not shy - at all. But I enjoy solitude and independent work, being around too many people (or even a few people for too long) drains my energy, and I like to keep my circle small. I love my job, I love creating new art and filling orders, and I'm happy with this business I've created for myself.
A lot of people who are drawn to working at home are introverts. Makes sense, right? Solitary work fits our strengths, needs and preferences.
Sooo to me, not leaving the house for six days is fine. I don't feel like a reclusive hermit, although I know by a lot of people's standards, I am :D.
I'm totally cool with my husband, kids, and dogs being my main in-real-life interactions most days. I usually wave at a neighbor or two while walking the dog, and I'll text or message a friend or family member almost every day too. That's a comfortable level of people-ing for my average day.
But if you're a little more social and miss the water cooler talk or after-work drinks, the solo work setup might make you feel isolated or even lonely.
SOLO, SOLITARY, INTROVERT = GOOD. LONELY = BAD
This work at home thing is supposed to be a GOOD thing for your mental health, so giving some thought to your personal best level of social interaction is worth the time and effort.
- If you are working at home alone a lot, and you feel happy and comfortable and productive, that's awesome.
- If you are working at home alone a lot, and that's making you feel antsy and isolated and see no reason to shower and you feel tired all day and you're 'working' but haven't accomplished a damn thing ..... maybe your business could benefit from you getting a little more outside stimulation.
Some activities to consider if you want to increase your social interactions:
1 - EXERCISE
I mentioned my gym slump, right? Yes, I walk / run my dog daily but that's more for him. A long walk or bike ride, or an hour at the gym with my headphones on is for ME. It puts me in a different head space and I can see the benefits in my work for the rest of the day.
Now to be honest, I don't usually talk to anyone at the gym. It's not a social thing at ALL for me, but it is a get-out-of-the-house thing for me.
Plus, we all sit too much, and working at home puts you even more at risk. As they say, sitting is the new smoking - our inactivity is killing us.
You're not wasting time commuting, so you can put that time towards health instead.
2 - GO OUT FOR COFFEE
Coffee shop nearby? Why not get dressed and go get yourself a cup, then come back and sit down to work?
This serves a couple purposes.
- you got out of your pajamas (which some claim increases productivity, though I'm not sure I agree :D )
- you got some caffeine!
- you can choose to drink the coffee at the shop for a little social interaction and/or people watching
- it can be a part of a productive morning routine that sets you up for sitting down and knocking out some work
3 - GO OUT FOR LUNCH
If you like eating out, you don't have to stop because you work at home. Go early or go late to beat the 9-to-5 lunch crowds, unless you miss that sort of thing.
4 - SCHEDULE ERRANDS
...and stick to that schedule. If you say you're going to go out for lunch and the post office at noon, then do it.
For me, scheduling things in the morning means they'll get done. If I schedule things in the afternoon, I'm likely deep in a project and don't want to stop, so I'll blow off those errands if I can. You might be the opposite - you may be more likely to actually get up if it's 4pm and you're approaching the end of your work day. Think about what works best for you, and do that.
5 - SCHEDULE EVENTS
Speaking of scheduling, signing up for things that happen at a set time is a great way to encourage yourself to get out. If you've already paid for that ceramics class, or the animal shelter is expecting you at a certain time for the volunteer hours you committed to, you're more likely to go.
6 - HAVE WORK-AT-HOME FRIENDS
Most of us now know other people who work at home. Having someone else who works independently that you can bounce ideas off can be really helpful for motivation. If that person is local to you, even better! You can hit those post-lunch-crowd lunch breaks together.
7 - SWITCH UP YOUR WORK LOCATION
That might mean taking your laptop to a coffee shop or park to work, to get yourself out of a rut and breathing some fresh air. Or it might mean taking a trip, if you can.
My work usually involves a desktop computer, servers and programs and printers and packaging and all that. So I can't just pop over to a park to do it.
But before that part of my job can be done, it all starts with just me and my camera - and the creative part of my business can and is done all over!
I get a huge creative boost from traveling to photograph. Whether it's a day trip to Sanibel Island or a couple weeks in Costa Rica, there is no doubt that I'm energized by traveling and exploring and switching up my usual view.
Have more ideas? Let me know!
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