Freelancing and small business ownership can be rewarding and also quite lonely. You are by yourself a lot of the time until you may have enough to hire on some help--but if you are virtual then the help still may be virtual as well.
While some people do not mind the peace and quiet, for others it may become an issue and can lead to problems with mental health due to constant solitude and loneliness. Freelancing and small business ownership should be fulfilling and not be why you feel alone.
With these autonomous industries, self-love is key to success and you need to take care of yourself daily to ensure you will not fall into a trap of placing yourself into solitude with little way out. Here are some ways to keep mentally and emotionally sharp as a freelancer or small business owner to prevent any negative effects in an industry with a lot opportunities.
Do not, I repeat, do not sit inside all day doing your work. You are only going to put out optimal work for the few four to six hours of your work and then it tends to dip in productivity from there on. When you start to feel that slump or start to feel secluded, get outside. From a scientific standpoint, you need Vitamin D which the sun provides and from a human standpoint, you need connection which being outside offers as well.
Going for a walk, getting a cup of tea at a local coffee shop or even just finding some grass to sit on for a few will help you decompress, feel connected with the outside world, and boost your mood. You are not putting your best work out if you are not feeling your best and loneliness can zap that from you. Don't make your apartment your dungeon and step away for a bit.
Connect with friends
After a while, you may know your clients schedules a bit better. While being a freelancer or small business owner means you will have a lot of unexpected work, you also are in charge of your schedule. Make it a point to get together with friends when you can pencil in the time. Even if you are tired, try and get together just for a sit down dinner, cup of tea, or a movie night.
You do not want to become the recluse friend in your group and while owning a business or freelancing can make it hard to step away, find the time to see friends. Your friends will be your support system during hard times like the beginning stages of opening a small business or when the work piles up, so don't burn bridges for the sake of your work. Get out, socialize, and reconnect with those you love.
Join groups related to your hobbies
Do you like to run? Enjoy coding? Want to hang out with fellow entrepreneurs? There is probably a MeetUp or other local group out there for you to be a part of. Make this a part of your week if you cannot do much of anything else. You will most likely be able to meet like-minded individuals, learn more about a topic you are passionate about, and it's also a great networking opportunity as well.
In Philadelphia, for example, groups range from Philadelphia Runner, for any runners out there, to FemCity Philadelphia for women entrepreneurs, and even PHLbloggers, for all of the bloggers within the City of Brotherly Love. There is a place for anyone and hopefully this availability is found within many other cities around the globe.
Making sure you are meeting new people is key to success as a freelancer or small business owner because these groups of people have the same interests and can help you or you can help them try to reach each others goals. Plus, meeting new people is part of the game in freelancing and entrepreneurship, so it is always good practice to get out, speak with strangers, and perfect your own elevator pitch.
Take care of yourself
You may wonder how taking care of yourself plays into solitude and it's simple, the better you feel, the more likely you will go out of your apartment.
If you haven't showered in three days, haven't eaten in hours and feel groggy, or feel like an absolute mess, the likelihood of you going outside and being a part of your community are slim to none. Making sure you are practicing self-care is key to getting yourself out of your apartment.
Simple steps like making sure you brush your teeth in the morning, are eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as just keeping hydrated and healthy play into this idea of solitude. If you are never feeling great, then you may end up self-sabotaging your efforts to get out which leads to loneliness and a plethora of other mental and physical health implications.
Do yourself a favor and take even 30 minutes out of your day to get outside, smile at someone, strike up a random conversation, or even just pet a dog!
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.