I've felt this way for a decade with troughs and hills to the intensity of my loneliness.
There have also been restorative periods when I've embraced the solitude of aloneness to better understand myself.
Yet as we've all felt, the pandemic has made it extremely difficult to pull out of this inwardness.
Earlier this year, I reached my peak when I named my home office plants and started doing stand ups with them.
Although I identify as an introvert, I still crave human connection. This was a driving force in my decision to pivot from product management and engineering into recruiting for startups. I wanted to connect on a more personal level with others and help them find a sense of belonging at work.
Recently, I've felt myself pulling inward. In a proactive attempt to balance my loneliness, I've created some habits:
💖 Acknowledge it.
Every morning I ask myself, "How are you feeling?" Having this daily check in with myself helps keep me grounded.
💖 Share it.
I've told my colleagues, friends, and candidates I've interviewed that I've felt lonely at work. To my surprise, every time I've shared this, I learned that I was not alone.
💖 Do virtual coffee chats.
I work on a small team of 5 and although I have recurring catchups with everyone on my team, I wanted more. So I set up a Calendly and reached out to friends, acquaintances and publicly shared my calendar for virtual coffee chats. Want to chat? Book time here.
💖 Write about it.
Get an accountability partner. I'm currently enrolled in a writing course with my co-worker. We meet once a week to catchup and share struggles/tips.
💖 Join an online community.
💖 Change up your work environment.
I work from a co-working space three to four times a week and on other days I work alongside my roommate or a friend. If this advice does not work for you, try using Discord and video calls with friends to break up your work day.
💖 Don't try to "fix it."
When I've taken a combative approach to cure my loneliness "for good," I was always disappointed and felt more isolated after. Instead of fighting, finding habits to balance loneliness has been a more sustainable and gentler practice.
I think the most important thing I'm still learning is that it's ok to feel alone.
There is a power of turning in and feeling like you belong to yourself.
What do you do when you feel lonely at work?