You’ve left your corporate life behind to pursue your passion. This new life of an entrepreneur is exciting and fulfilling, but it can also get lonely quickly. You find yourself less aligned with old friends and colleagues. Your life has changed drastically while theirs stayed the same. There are less people to commiserate with and you feel a slow isolation coming on as months go by.
Feeling isolated can eventually impact your mental well-being and productivity. It might even make you feel depressed and negative.
So, break out of it when you see the signs. We’re social creatures and we crave connection. A few small changes can help you connect, recharge, and get your mojo back in no time.
Acknowledge your accomplishments
You didn’t get here looking for the easy way out. You’re here because you had the strength and the resilience to break away from the norm and pursue your true passion. You still have that strength. Take a moment every so often (maybe even once a day) to go through your accomplishments from the day you decided to become an entrepreneur. Remember the small challenges you overcame and how you did it. You’ll start to realize the strength and confidence grow within you again. You’ll mentally reinforce your mission and feel aligned to it.
Join a group to make new connections
Sometimes, loneliness has little to do with the number of friends in your social circle and more about the type of connection that you’re missing. So, make new connections. Join an entrepreneur group in your neighborhood. There are many organized groups or events for entrepreneurs, like Meetup.com, for example. You can join a group, attend an event, and meet others in your area. The great thing about this is that you’re likely to meet people that can relate to your new challenges and lifestyle. You might even make a few new friends to commiserate with and go out for coffee or drinks. As you form new connections, you’ll realize you’re not alone.
Trade in some online time for the real deal
Sure, we’re all connected to friends through social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. While it can be addicting, it can also be isolating because you’re missing out on tangible interactions, like hearing someone’s voice or watching them laugh. Why not cut back a bit on the online socializing and interact with people the old fashioned way? Take the time to meet in person. Setup a coffee or phone date with a friend. Go out for dinner or a movie. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll feel less alone and more open.
Learn a new skill for exercise
Exercise makes your body release endorphins (feel good hormones). However, if the thought of spending hours at the gym alone and watching time tick by makes you squirm, then replace it with fun activities that you can do in a group. Dancing is not just for the stars anymore. Actually, dance classes are available in many locales. Dancing teaches balance, relieves stress, improves flexibility, and can help make a new friend or two. You could also try something new and exciting that you’ve never done before, like archery, rock-climbing surfing or snowboarding. Many activities can be sampled with Groupon type deals so you can dip your toes in to see if you like it before committing. Learning a new skill stimulates your mind, while physical activity recharges your body. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and engaged.
Practice gratitude daily
Being thankful draws positive emotions and creates a positive mindset. Find three things every day that you’re thankful for. They could be events that occurred, your accomplishments, or even your cherished ones (your family, your friends or your pet). Acknowledging this and being grateful every day will train your mind to create a positive mindset. You’ll feel your mental well-being grow day by day. You’ll also realize and appreciate what’s truly important to you.
Overcoming isolation is a step-by-step process. It does not happen overnight. So, take baby steps. If something does not work out, don’t dwell or shy away from trying something else. The goal is to find your sweet spot – where you feel connected, engaged, and supported.
Featured photo credit: JOHN MARK ARNOLD via magdeleine.co