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Combating Loneliness and Isolation as a Digital Nomad

It’s normal to feel lonely on the road, here are some of our top tricks to beat the blues…

The digital nomad lifestyle, where individuals work remotely and travel the world, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the global pandemic has only accelerated this trend. However, living a nomadic lifestyle, especially in a different country, comes with its challenges, one of the most significant being loneliness and isolation. These feelings can severely affect mental health, productivity, and overall well-being. Combating loneliness as a digital nomad is crucial. Read on to learn our tips on how to combat loneliness and isolation while living and working in a foreign country.

Accept that It's Okay to Feel Lonely

Feeling lonely is a natural human emotion, and it’s essential to acknowledge and accept it without judgment. This is particularly important for digital nomads who are often away from their home country, family, and friends. Suppressing your feelings or criticizing yourself for feeling lonely will only exacerbate the situation. Remember, it’s okay to feel lonely, and it’s a common emotion experienced by many people worldwide, regardless of their personal or professional circumstances. Acknowledging your feelings is the first step towards addressing them.

Combating Loneliness - Max in Vietnam
Do you see Max out there? - Cat Ba, Vietnam

Stay in Touch with Your Close Circle

Maintaining regular contact with friends and family back home is crucial. Even if you’re miles apart or in different time zones, make a conscious effort to regularly call, text, or video chat with your loved ones. Share your experiences, be honest about your feelings, and let them know that you value staying connected. Sometimes, just acknowledging your feelings to someone else can make them feel less overwhelming. Taking the time to connect with others can help you avoid feeling lonely.

Make New Connections

Being proactive about making new friends is key to combating loneliness. Attend events, meetups, or online communities related to your interests or profession. Engage in conversations, share your experiences, and don’t be afraid to take the first step. Remember, everyone is in the same boat, and many people also want to make new connections. While it might be challenging to form deep connections immediately, being open and making an effort can lead to meaningful relationships over time.

Choose Locations That Suit Your Requirements

Consider choosing locations that suit your social needs. Some places have a more vibrant and active expat or digital nomad community, making meeting new people and making connections easier. Additionally, consider the local culture and language, as these factors can influence your ability to connect with others. Researching the destination beforehand and understanding the local customs and language can significantly enhance your experience and ability to connect with others.

Bambu Fitness - Uluwatu, Bali

Consider Having a Base or Staying Longer in One Place

Constantly moving from one place to another can make it challenging to form meaningful relationships. Staying longer in one place or having a base where you can return regularly can provide a sense of stability and allow you to create deeper connections with people. Having a base can also provide a sense of routine and familiarity, which can be comforting when living in a foreign country.

Take Advantage of Saved Commuting Time

Digital nomads who don’t have to commute to a physical office can use the time saved to engage in social activities. Spend time with new friends, attend local events, or engage in activities you enjoy. Make time for activities you couldn’t do if you had to go to the office daily. This can make a big difference in your day and mental health. Additionally, engaging in social activities can help you integrate into the local community and form new connections.

Set Boundaries and Plan Breaks

Keeping busy with work to distract from loneliness won’t work in the long run and might worsen things. Set strict office hours and plan activities outside those times, such as exercising or exploring your new location. It’s important to take breaks throughout the day and use that time to connect with friends or do something enjoyable online with your coworkers. A structured day with planned breaks can help you stay productive and make time for social interactions.

Join Virtual Coworking Sessions

Virtual coworking sessions are great for meeting new people and staying focused. Many online communities host virtual coworking sessions where you can work alongside other digital nomads from all over the world. If you can’t find a session that appeals to you, consider starting one yourself! Working alongside others, even virtually, can provide a sense of camaraderie and help combat feelings of isolation.

Combating Loneliness - Zoom Meetings and Meetups
Through global book clubs and women's circles, Max is always staying connected

Use Video Conferences and Calls Instead of Endless Emails

Quick video chats can save time and frustration, and help you feel connected to your team. Emailing and texting sometimes won’t get the message across, leading to misunderstandings. Having a quick video chat can help you feel more connected to someone else in a short amount of time. Additionally, seeing and hearing another person can provide a sense of connection that text-based communication cannot.

Join Online Communities

Find forums or online communities to discuss your passion or profession with like-minded people. This can help you learn new tips and tricks, get to know new people and establish valuable connections. Additionally, there are many online communities specifically for digital nomads that can provide support and advice. Engaging in online communities can help you stay connected to others, even if you are physically alone.

Get Outside

Don’t stay inside too long. Loneliness hits extra hard when you’re constantly in the same room. Make a habit of getting outside for a bit; walking through the park or sightseeing can help you breathe through the hard times. Also, change your scenery when you’re inside. Try to stay away from constantly living and working in one spot, as it will make your world even smaller.

Combating Loneliness - Lombok Indonesia Beachwalk
Is there anything more soothing than the sound of the ocean? - Lombok, Indonesia

Engage in Social Activities, Even Virtually

Engage in social activities, even if they are online. We suggest joining virtual book clubs, online workout classes, or virtual cooking classes. This can be a fun way to meet new people and learn something new simultaneously. Engaging in enjoyable activities can boost your mood and help combat feelings of loneliness.

Final Thoughts: Combating Loneliness through Staying Connected and Avoiding Isolation

Loneliness and isolation are common challenges digital nomads face, particularly those living in a different country. However, combatting these feelings and leading a fulfilling life is possible by actively seeking social interactions, maintaining existing relationships, and being proactive about making new connections. Remember to acknowledge your feelings without judgment, stay connected with your loved ones, engage in social activities, join virtual coworking sessions and online communities, and spend time outside. 

And of course, reach out and connect with us! We’d love to meet you!

Jonny Birch
Jonny Birch
Often behind the scenes, you’ll find Jonny strategizing business plans for fellow digital nomads as well as for the DNG team. Armed with a laptop and an iced Americano, Jonny is our go-to strategy source for all things DNG. As a former UK-based digital marketing agency owner and current global marketing exec, Jonny's industry knowledge and SEO expertise make him a vital tool for building online brands and successful businesses.

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