Not only has the power of the internet allowed businesses to grow quickly and efficiently, it also means folks no longer have to leave the comfort of home to do normal things like shopping, socializing or having fun.
Unfortunately, research has also found that spending too much time online can also lead to severe loneliness and legitimate depression. So what's the best way to avoid turning into an introverted weirdo? Below are a few tips to try help you to come out of your introvert shell (via Lifehacker) :
Turn Leaving the House Into a Game
One of the easiest tricks to forcing yourself out of the house is to incentivize it with a game. The most popular way to do this is probably Foursquare, which rewards you with badges and points when you visit new locations. It's also a good way to try new things and stay in touch with friends, a fact I can personally attest to.
The handy thing about Foursquare (or whatever location-based social app you choose) is that you can also see what your friends are up to if they're in your area. For instance, if a friend checks in at a restaurant near you then you'll know they're out hanging out and probably looking for more company.
Schedule a Day a Week to Try Something New
Sometimes getting out of the house requires a more forceful tactic. In this case, try scheduling a day to try something new. Take a look at your weekly schedule and see where you might have some long stints of nothing to do. Schedule in a day where you hit up a new restaurant or meet up with friends for a new activity. It might sound like overkill, but the truth is if you're given the option to stay in and enjoy the luxuries of home for free or go out and spend a little money, you're probably more likely to choose the money saving method.
That's totally okay on most days, but if you schedule in at least one day a week to go do something a little different, you'll simultaneously keep yourself from falling into a rut and get out of the house. If you're feeling especially introverted, it's a good idea to ride the coattails of an extrovert friend while you're at it because they'll probably force you out whether you like it or not.
Work in Public Once or Twice a Week
If you work from home you're probably pretty familiar with the strange, introverted state you can get yourself in if you're not careful. The easy solution to this (admittedly specific) problem is to move your workspace away from your home office once or twice a week. Hitting up a coffee shop is an easy way to do it and doing so is a great boon to your creativity. It's also a great way to get things done because you're forced to work without as many distractions. The bonus is you're also surrounded by other people instead of holing up in your house.
Signing up for a coworking space is another option. This usually costs a little money, but it's also a good way to get your productive juices flowing and get work done. You can find places to work on the Coworking Wiki. Coworking can also be a good way to find a new job—and it's good for you.
Take a Walk and Explore Your Neighborhood
This might be a silly suggestion to some people, but it's one that I personally take advantage of all the time. If I catch myself getting too into some nonsense task like an all-day movie binge or I get too involved in work I'll force myself to get up and walk around the neighborhood. The trick here is to try and explore new areas each time and make eye contact with neighbors (and smile, for crying out loud).
In my case, I live in a neighborhood that happens to border a ton of other, more interesting neighborhoods, and my explorations have lead me to new coffee shops, tiny ice cream stands, and hole-in-wall restaurants. As a bonus I've also met and chatted with a bunch of my neighbors. If nothing else, walking might increase your brain size and memory.
Volunteer at a Non-Profit
Sure, working for free probably doesn't sound better than playing Xbox for six hours straight, but it's a good way to get out of the house and do something productive. Bonus: you'll feel horrible if you skip a day so you're more likely to do it. VolunteerMatch is the easiest way to find a place to volunteer in your area. Before you start worrying about toiling away in a soup kitchen, know that volunteering can encompass everything from teaching a class on electronics to writing blogs for non-profits. Volunteering isn't just a good way to get out of the house; it's also good padding for your resume.
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