How not to be a shut-in

Photo by Gavin Van Wagoner on Unsplash

I was at a backyard party at my neighbor’s house the other night, enjoying a freshly made gooey chocolatey s’more (yummmm), when I overheard one of the guests say she works from home and feels like a recluse. Her words exactly: “I’m a shut-in.”

Of course my interest was piqued and I butted into the conversation immediately, “Did you say you work from home? So do I!” Because, well, I love talking about my job and all the tricks of the trade when it comes to working remotely.

She replied, “Oh, so you know what I mean then? Being isolated from humanity for days on end?”

“Actually, no, I have a trick for that!”

Now her interest was piqued, “Do tell.”

“I joined a few evening activities, so several nights a week I have recurring plans in my calendar.”

“Oh! So on those days you get dressed, put on makeup, and socialize? Sounds fantastic! I need to do that.”

I didn’t tell her that I make a point of getting dressed and putting on makeup most days (that’s for another post), but yes, when I have somewhere to be, it’s extra inspiring to change out of my yoga clothes and make myself look presentable. And, I find ways to make myself accountable to attend these activities, because I do love my home time too.

The activities I joined are Toastmasters International and Salsa dance class. Public speaking and dance are both areas of great interest for me, they bring me joy, and I want to become somewhat of an expert in both. So I’m motivated by my own desire to improve. Besides that, a couple more things propel me out the door:

  • I pay upfront! Toastmasters has an annual membership fee and I purchase dance classes in series. Attending ensures I get my money’s worth.

  • I sign up for roles at the Toastmasters meetings the week prior, so that I’m committed to attending and my fellow Toastmasters are relying on me.

  • Occasionally I invite a girlfriend to attend dance class with me. If she says yes, I don’t want to let her down by backing out.

Even with all these safeguards in place, there are still evenings when I try to talk myself out of it. In those moments, I remind myself, it’s only 90 minutes or so of my life, and I always feel uplifted after. And honestly, I regularly tell myself, “Stop being a baby!” That works too.

So make dates with yourself! My recommendation is to commit to one extra-curricular activity that will get you out the door in the evening, that you can add to your calendar as a recurring event, and that you’ll commit to with the same dedication as you would for something you were getting paid to do. Pick an activity that gives you a sense of joy and fulfillment, so that in the moments when you’re trying to talk yourself out of it, you can remind yourself how good it feels to get out into the world and be inspired. 

What’s an activity that inspires you to get out of the house in the evening? Share in the comments below.

Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

4 thoughts on “How not to be a shut-in

  1. That girl = me. Lol. I’ve told myself to do that too, what you’re doing. I just realized I haven’t gotten around to doing it. So I’m gonna look for those classes now and start dragging myself of my house more often!

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