Working and living in the same space can make you feel stir-crazy after a while.
Freelance life is pretty sweet, but that’s one of the struggles that’s an ongoing journey to improve. (still beats the daily commute, though).
As an introvert with solo pursuits like playing video games, writing, and crafting, I spend a lot of time at home — when I’m not out on my kick scooter, that is (yes I’m a cool kid) 🤓
Maybe that’s you, too!
Even if your idea of heaven is curling up under a blanket at your PC with a hot cup of tea (which, let’s face it, sounds pretty amazing), it’s not good for you if this is all you ever do. You’ll end up feeling fed up and irritated.
If you don’t feel relaxed in your workspace, you might think it’s because you hate working from home, or that the freelancing life isn’t for you.
Nuh-uh. That probably isn’t it.
When you’re a freelancer, working from home starts out feeling like you’re living the dream.
What’s this? I don’t have to dress up in office clothes? There’s no commute? What do you mean I don’t have to make idle chit chat with the manager about that ‘funny’ typo in that report, and fake laugh all the way back to my desk before eyerolling behind a ring binder?
Quickly, being alone and feeling chained to your desk becomes stale and it’s hard to conjure up the motivation to get anything done if you don’t change up your routine a bit.
As someone who has worked from home since 2011, and for the most part has been an indoorsy kind of gal since I fell in stinging nettles on an orienteering school trip, I’ve learned a few tricks to keeping feeling positive, motivated, and not totally sick of the same four walls.
Here are 5 simple tips to help shake up your work-from-home routine to stop feeling so stir-crazy!
Rearrange your rooms
You’d be really surprised how much of a difference this can make.
What you do to your room to change it around will depend on what furniture you have and what space you’ve got to work with but you can pretty much experiment with this no matter how big or small your place is.
Move your desk in front of a window. Get a plant to put next to your PC. Move the bookcase to that other wall!
Does your work overflow into the living space? Try separating these two spaces out if you can.
Even if you have to move things around every couple of months to keep things fresh, it’s worth it!
Do you procrastinate when it comes to organising and sorting through your things, what needs to be kept, filed or thrown away?
Would you rather wait for it to get worse and then spend an evening sorting it out?
Yeah, me too!
If you’re like me, bite the bullet; rock out to some Queen (or whatever you’re into) and plough through the stuff you’ve been putting off.
File the papers. Stack the books back on the shelf. Throw away the empty KitKat wrappers you’ve been stashing in the printer paper drawer (not me, I pinky swear).
When it’s tidy and organised, you’ll feel better.
Go for a walk
When you’re pissed off and getting a bit stir crazy from waking up, going to work and doing everything else you need to do but all within the same four walls, stop.
Get out of the house and go for a walk, even if it’s around the block or to the shop.
Even a ten-minute walk to break up your day can make a huge positive impact on your physical and mental health.
It’s like a fake commute, without being surrounded by people on the bus coughing onto the back of your neck.
Take a break from screens
If the weather’s looking horrendous or you simply can’t go for a quick walk, at least get away from your screens regularly.
And yes, that does count your smartphone as well as your laptop.
Get up, stretch your legs, go make a cup of tea.
Even these small rituals for a few minutes at a time can help you decompress and make you more productive.
Try looking out of the window for a few minutes. Readjusting your focus can help with stress as well.
Make the space yours
Decluttering and rearranging don’t automatically mean your house has to be boring and generic.
You also don’t have to spend loads of money buying cool stuff to make your home look more impressive.
The thing is:
If your home reflects your personality, you’ll want to spend more time there.
That’s why I hang my Doom, Last of Us, and Doctor Who posters. I litter my desk and shelves with Funko figures, kawaii plushies, and collectibles. I keep my guitars out for all to see (and occasionally knock over).
Display who you are instead of hiding it.
It costs nothing extra, but it makes you feel more at home.
Go and work somewhere else for a while
Sometimes, rearranging furniture and making cups of tea just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe you still feel fed-up and in a bad mood.
In this case: go somewhere else to work for a little while, so you look forward to coming home.
I went to my local library the other day to work from my Chromebook in peace. I live in a smallish town that doesn’t have cool things like co-working spaces (I don’t actually know if these are cool, but they sound it).
And it was heavenly.
Breaking up your usual routine by going somewhere different doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or uncomfortable, but can make all the difference.
Tell me in the comments: is feeling stir-crazy something that bothers you as a freelancer? What do you do to overcome it?