Work from home? 5 free ways to beat the stir crazy

Email  Print Print  

Stir crazy cat is stir crazyMake no mistake, I love working from home. The freedom and flexibility are awesome.

Maybe that’s why so many people are doing it. According to a 2012 U.S. Census report, 13.4 million Americans work from home, up 41 percent since 1999.

But there are days that I find myself having conversations with my cats while I’m still in my coffee-stained pajamas at noon. I could stand to have less of those days.

Stir crazy is a legitimate condition, so I’m using the term cheekily here. But I do often find myself feeling out of sorts because I’ve been inside working alone for too long. I get claustrophobic, depressed, and, sometimes a little delusional. When I feel the crazy coming on, I usually head to my neighborhood coffee shop so I can get my work done around other human beings. But of course, that gets expensive. Lately, I’ve been looking for more cost-effective solutions. Here are a five free ways I keep from going stir crazy working from home.

1. Go to the library

Ironically, my neighborhood library is right across the street from my neighborhood coffee shop. Lots of people go there to work, and the best part is, there’s a whole building full of resources if you need some inspiration for a story or project. Sure, you’ve got the Internet at your fingertips, but getting up and thumbing through something tangible is a great way to break automaton mode.

2. Go for walk

It takes effort for me to remember to go for walks. I’m always in the middle of something, engrossed in my work, and I feel like walking away will break my train of thought. But really, that’s the idea. Whenever I’ve been cooped up too long and I start to feel depressed, I instantly feel better once I’m outside, walking in the sunshine. Toss in the fact that, according to Popular Science, too much sitting can kill you, and walks are even more important. I now set my phone alarm to remind me, every hour, to stop whatever I’m doing and get outside.

3. Visit fellow remote workers

I don’t have many friends who work from home. But if you do, invite them over! Sometimes it’s less about getting out of the house and more about being around another human being. There are meetup groups dedicated to remote workers sticking together, and I’ve even seen some shared office space rentals on Craigslist. Of course, the latter option isn’t free, but if you’re a remote worker who rents your own space anyway, you may want to consider sharing. Sharing could both deter feelings of loneliness and save you some money.

4. Leave for lunch

I try not to spend money on lunch. But all too often, brown-bagging means eating in front of the computer while working. This might be necessary when, say, there’s an impending deadline. But I hate making it a habit to eat in front of the computer. Thus, when I prepare my lunch, I try to leave the house and take a true lunch break.

Get your lunch, grab a book and go to a nearby park. Or have lunch on your patio. Or even in a different room of your house or apartment, while doing something non-work-related. The idea is to get away from work and take a breather.

5. Opt for a phone meeting

Recently, a client asked me to talk on the phone to discuss a project. “The phone?” I thought. “That’s weird.” It’s not. But I’ve become such a remote worker that talking on the phone now seems highly unconventional. I have clients whom I’ve never even spoken with outside of email. It’s great that we can get the job done remotely, but it sometimes makes me feel like I don’t exist outside of the computer (“Twilight Zone” theme begins playing). Plus, talking on the phone is efficient, quick and easy. You don’t have to interpret tone and you get a better feel of the person you’re working for or interviewing. Taking care of business in person or over the phone is a great way to remember there’s a whole world out there beyond my desk. Now, when clients, colleagues or interviewees want to discuss something, I try to make more of an effort to suggest a phone call. It helps avert the crazy if even just a little bit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a walk.

(Photo: Ognjen Odobasic)

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

12 Responses to “Work from home? 5 free ways to beat the stir crazy”

  1. Michelle says:

    These are all great ideas! I’ve only been working completely at home for around 2 months, so I haven’t ha too much stir craziness. However, I have been getting out a lot so that has probably been helping 🙂

  2. Shirley says:

    2. Go for walk is an excellent one.
    When I was doing the bookkeeping for a large grocery store, the mmanager came into my office to find me harried about how to handle one transaction. He said, “Just put it down and go for a walk around the store. Talk to some customers and put this out of your mind.”

    When I returned the solution was not all that difficult to realize. Great manager!

  3. Kristin Wong says:

    @Shirley: Totally! A fresh perspective makes a huge difference. It’s bizarre how an overwhelming work obstacle can be so simple after a refreshing little walk.

    And yes–gotta love a manager like that!

  4. Valerie Rind says:

    I know I’m too wrapped in work when I don’t even make it outside to get the mail.

  5. Angela Walters says:

    This is great. It gives you an idea on how you can still have your social life even working from home. A lot thinks that working from home is just like secluding yourself from the real world. I’ve been working from home for a couple of years now, We make sure that we have open communication among members, we even have a chat room where we can discuss things under the sun except for some sensitive topics that might bring arguments. Going out with friends every payday for a small chat over coffee is one great idea as well to taste the fruit of your hard work, or go shopping perhaps.

  6. Glanna says:

    Hey Kristin! Thanks for the tips! What I usually do is work on a cafe when I feel like I’ve been working at home for too long. I definitely agree on #2, I make sure that I go for a walk every morning, it never fails to kick start my body both mentally and physically. Also, not missing out on social events helps a lot.

  7. Great article Kristin. These tips are very useful! I work from home, so I can definitely relate to the stir-craziness. Taking a walk would surely help get the juices flowing!

  8. Randy C says:

    Great tips! While working, I have recently started eating lunch on the patio instead of at the kitchen table where I work. It’s a nice break!

  9. Jordan M says:

    I’ve never thought about working from the library. Sounds like a good idea. Although I haven’t gotten lonely working home alone yet (I socialize nights and weekends), the new environment would be a nice change. Thank you for the advice!

  10. Josh says:

    That would be really nice to share an office with other work from home employees. It does get lonely from time to time. These are very good ideas! Have a great day!

  11. Kristin Wong says:

    Thanks all! I like the tip about maintaining a social life outside of work, too. When you work from home, it’s really easy for work to slowly start creeping into your personal time more and more, until it finally takes over completely. Bah!

  12. Simon Elstad says:

    Am all for #3! At least that way we get to share ideas and war stories from the trenches not to mention what is trending in the world of working from home 🙂

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.