They say “it’s all about the journey”, but what they don’t warn us about are the traffic jams, train delays, cancelled cabs, bus breakdowns, long ticket queues, endless honking and bad weather. Now you’re stressed, anxious and miserable – and you haven’t even reached your workplace yet! After more than a year of working from the comfort of our homes, returning to the office life is tough enough, and adding a long commute to that? Well, that’s just a quick recipe for burnout.
When using public transport and having to adhere to someone else’s schedule, our sense of control goes out the window. This can be particularly stressful when faced with unforeseeable and uncontrollable delays and cancellations. When travelling in your own vehicle, the stress can come in the form of reckless drivers, car problems, traffic jams etc that you might encounter on the way. Studies also show that the strain of long commutes has a negative impact on our blood pressure, sleep and weight. Exhausting, isn’t it? Travelling to and fro from work can be a different kind of challenge every day – but it can act as an important buffer to separate your home and work life. Here’s how you can minimise commute fatigue:
While sleeping in for those extra fifteen minutes may be tempting, it can lead to a rushed morning routine, leaving you hassled. Our suggestion would be to wake up early and get ready at your own pace. Leave the house ahead of time so that you have some extra space in your schedule for unexpected delays. No hurry, no worry.
Plan your day
To regain the lost feeling of control, make a mental to-do list for the day ahead and set your goals as you commute to work. On your journey back home, do the same by making personal life plans. Visualize, but don’t overthink. This will help you be more mentally prepared so that you can transition from work life to home life and vice versa with ease.
Don’t want to strain your eyes or overwhelm your mind with the endless scrolling on your phone? Opt for audiobooks, podcasts and your favourite music to help you relax as you travel. Social interaction could also help put you in a good mood! You can do this by carpooling with your friends or colleagues, or simply ringing up an old friend to catch up with if you’re travelling alone.
Be more mindful
You may not be able to control outside circumstances but you sure can regulate internal responses. Sometimes it’s not so much the actual act of commuting that is draining you, it’s the train of intrusive thoughts in your head while you’re commuting that is doing so. Be present in the moment, focus on your breathing, maybe even listen to a guided meditation that will refresh you going into work and relax you as you head home.
Make it your ‘me time’
Use this time to do the little things that bring you joy. Recently picked up knitting? bring your needles on the metro, didn’t get enough sleep the previous night? take a power nap on the bus. You could also learn a new language or skill and keep your brain exercised.
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