Five Ways to Cope With Freelance Isolation

If you’re a freelancer, raise your hand! If you often feel isolated working from home, Starbucks or insert-your-remote-office-here, raise the other hand!

As for the good news about your situation, you’re not alone. According to a blog post on the Society of Professional Journalists, there are several ways to handle the lack of water cooler buzz, social stimulation, and hustle and bustle of a newsroom.

Carol Cole-Frowe writes in the post, “One of the toughest things I had to deal with when I made the jump to freelancing three plus years ago was the abrupt difference between a fast-paced, adrenaline-charged atmosphere of a newsroom, and freelancing out of a quiet, solitary home office.”

After she became depressed, she got out of it along with other solid journalists who transitioned from full-time gigs to project work at home. Here are some of her pointers…

1. Shake it! Okay, it’s more like her words, “Move your body.” This includes a 30-minute walk or even scheduling time on your calendar for a workout like it’s an official meeting. It’ll get your body juiced and your mind as well. Some freelancers may prefer starting their day right off the bat with some movement while others may look forward to it as an afternoon break.

2. Avoid the fridge. Ahhhh! We know this all too well. You’re at home. The kitchen is literally a few steps away and who’s to stop you from snacking at 11 a.m? Sure, there’s no snack machine down the hall like in corporate America, but in that scenario you likely had to walk a little while to get there. Her advice in the piece? “Put a big “Stay Out” sign on your refrigerator and then stay out of it unless it’s breakfast time, mid-morning or afternoon break or lunchtime. Gaining weight from fridge proximity for home-based workers is not uncommon – make a conscious decision not to.”

3. Network. If not only for business purposes, do it for social reasons, too. This can include anything from attending a Mediabistro event in your area to joining Toastmasters to an intramural soccer league. It’ll get your mind off work and out of your own head 24/7. Plus, it’s always healthy to be in a different environment other than the four walls of your home office.

4. Get a post office box. “And then go get your mail once a day. Gets you out of the house and it looks more businesslike to not be getting the mail at home,” she advises.

5. Stay busy. This is key — create a schedule in your calendar and stick to it. Maybe this includes pitching editors every Friday and scheduling blocks of time to interview sources in the afternoon after lunch. Creating a consistent schedule will not only implement structure into your life, you’ll likely feel more accomplished and organized as a result.