Maybe you’re the only one in your apartment. Maybe your five-bedroom house feels tiny now that your partner and kids are all home all the time. No matter what the circumstances, you may be feeling very isolated without your regular routines of the coffee shop, office and gym.
There’s not just one answer to combating isolation when moving from an active, people-facing job to working from home. But there are some tips and techniques you can use to reduce your feelings of isolation.
How to reduce your feelings of isolation when moving to remote work
Here are some tips for how to feel less isolated while working remotely. Note: All prices quoted below were accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Please check with individual service providers for up-to-date pricing.
Use technology to maintain connections
Of course, one of the easiest ways to stay in touch is to leverage technology to see and talk to other people. There are a wide variety of tools available to help bring collaboration into your living room (or wherever you’re working remote).
Zoom is a powerful video conferencing program that can help you see your coworkers and loved ones — for free! You can use Zoom to make free one-on-one video calls for an unlimited amount of time or to host multiple callers for up to 40 minutes. You also can upgrade to a monthly subscription for just $14.99 and remove the call time limits.
Slack is a dynamic messaging tool that offers space for unlimited team members to chat either one-on-one or in groups.
Using channels in Slack, team members can even talk about their favorite binge-watch or other coffee-station chat without disrupting the teamwork conversations.
On the free plan, your whole team can connect with text messages. Upgrade to the standard plan for group calls with screen sharing. It costs $8 per person, per month.
Microsoft Teams offers text chat as well as video chat for teams. You can chat for free, along with online audio and video calls, screen sharing and more. Additional features are included in a subscription to Office 365, starting at $5 per user, per month, with an annual commitment.
Google Duo is a free tool that is all about video calls. It works on smartphones, tablets, computers and smart displays. You can use it to do face-to-face video calls with up to eight people for free.
Just because we’re supposed to be at least 6 feet away from each other, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fresh air. Go out in your yard, use your balcony or deck, or make use of open space and trails.
In fact, being outdoors has a demonstrated de-stressing effect, and can help reduce inflammation. Plus, while you’re out, you have the opportunity to make a human connection.
You can wave, smile and say hello while making eye contact (and keeping the appropriate distance).
Find a positive networking community online
No matter what your hobbies are, there are thousands of online communities for any interest. This is a unique opportunity to make new friends across town, across the country and even across the world.
While your gym or yoga studio might be closed, you can still maintain your activity. There are thousands of workout programs available online, including free programs and paid programs for almost any kind of fitness.
AthleanX — Jeff Cavaliere “puts the science back in strength,” and has worked with names from the New York Mets to Antonio Brown, and more. His free YouTube channel has more than 9.5 million subscribers.
FitnessBlender — Created by husband-and-wife team Daniel and Kelli Segars, Fitness Blender has more than 600 free full-length workout videos and nearly 6 million subscribers.
Peloton — Peloton is best known for its stationary bikes and treadmills, but they also have thousands of classes, including running, strength training, yoga and meditation. Right now, they’re offering access free for 90 days.
Yoga with Adriene — Yoga instructor Adriene Mishler offers more than 500 free yoga videos for every skill level for her almost 6.5 million YouTube subscribers.
Meditation isn’t just a passing buzzword. It has deep roots in Eastern tradition.
Meditation can help you reduce stress, control anxiety, enhance self-awareness and more. As little as 10 to 20 minutes a day can make a difference.
Exercise your mind
As entertaining as “Love Is Blind” or “The Office” reruns can be, you also can use this time to learn something new, for fun or personal advancement.
Plus, there are thousands of books available online. Be sure to check your local library website to see what free resources are available.
Invest time in self-care
Whether your version of self-care is a long bubble bath, journaling, having a dance party to the best of the ’80s and ’90s, or taking a nap, be sure to set time aside for the things that already make you feel calm and supported.
Today isn’t a “regular” day, so adjust your expectations and practice some self-compassion. It’s OK to save the dishes for another day, or if the most significant accomplishment you made for the day was that you took a shower.
Even when you’re staying in, there are ways that you can get involved and serve the community.
You can use your tech skills to help a local nonprofit or even a small business to update its website or start selling online.
Doing good for others is a way to build connections and community.
Be kind to yourself
It’s normal to feel isolated and lonely during this time, even if you’re surrounded by your family. The best thing to do is to reach out and talk to someone —- coworkers, family or a mental health professional — to get the support you need.
You can do this! If you need a helping hand, we’re here for you.