Top Five Steps to Beat Isolation and Winter Blahs

Freelance writing, winter blahs, isolationThere’s an excellent post at The Writing Journey that talks about freelance isoloation, and with winter coming round the corner at full steam, now’s a great time to anticipate the winter blues, and locked-away-writing-all-day blahs and get on top of those issues before they get on top of you.

Number one cause of the winter blues? Lack of sun exposure. Don’t make the mistake of missing out on some sunlight time, even if it’s just to walk around the block in a hurry as the winter wind tries to push you back inside.

Don’t freelance in isolation, either. This winter, make a point to get into some coffee shops and do your work–be out and among the people, sit in a window with some sun streaming in when you can, and give yourself plenty to look forward to when the day is done.

This winter could be–depending on where you live–a true ordeal. We’re bracing for the worst here in Chicago and it won’t be easy to take our own medicine, but it’s absolutely critical to make the effort. Otherwise productivity suffers, money flies away, and your career starts to feel like a chore. The word “free” is the first part of the term “freelancing” for a reason.

We know how corny that last line was, trust us. We aren’t proud, but no matter; here are five ways you can kick the blahs in the head this winter:

1. Exercise when you feel the blues coming. It doesn’t even have to be a LOT of exercise. Try 20 pushups and sit ups, some jumping jacks, whatever you can do at home in your PJs to get the blood pumping again. A burst of adrenaline is good for clearing away the cobwebs.

2. Stop and do something else for a little bit when you feel those frustrations rising–you know the ones, those frustrated-out-of-depression symptoms of the winter blahs. Watch a half hour of television, drink some coffee, read a few pages in a favorite book. Whatever it is you wind up doing, let it take you away from work for a bit.

3. Get out of the house! The moment you feel those four walls closing in, get away from them–even if it’s only to take out the trash and check the mail. The activity and the time away from the machine will do your brain plenty of good. Get a more extended time outside the home when you can, but take the break regardless.

4. Work out three times a week. Some like to schedule the workout in the middle of the day to break up the monotony, others like to reward themselves at the end of the day. However you do it, make the workout part of your anti-blahs toolbox.

5. Avoid excess sugar and when you do indulge, work it off with a vigorous walk, some housecleaning or yoga. Sugar doesn’t help the blahs stay away–but some love to reward themselves with it (yes, that would be ME). When you do, put some extra activity on the back end of that reward to avoid a sugar crash AND to keep the guilties at bay.

–Joe Wallace