Before freaking out about commuting again, remember that returning to the office after any lengthy time away (what was known as a “holidays” in before times) has always been tough. So in some ways, this is nothing new. Quarantine has given us the longest Sunday of the modern age, and suddenly it’s Monday. We’re all trying to remember exactly how to office and trying to ease our fears about commuting again.
If you haven’t forgotten, maybe you’re just dreading it. We asked seven mental health professionals about how to make our commutes less stressful. Here’s their advice:
It’s happening — you can’t stop it. Practice radical acceptance and understand what is within your circle of control and what falls outside. You can’t control your company’s in-office policy, nor your city’s traffic.
Find the Positive
Your commute is me time. You have an opportunity to turn inward. That hour is rare time uncompromised by work, kids, or partners. Use it to self-reflect — or to listen to audiobooks, call friends and family, or learn a language.
Sleep and wake as if you’re commuting already; work, eat, and exercise accordingly. Establish habits consistent with what will be needed for your work schedule.
If you used to commute five days a week with multiple public transport rides during rush hour, jumping back into that routine probably isn’t going to work. Your tolerance has changed, so ramp up slowly. Try a practice day and see what it feels like. Then if you can, start with one day a week. Tell yourself to go easy and that it will take time to settle.
Strike Up a Conversation
Take the opportunity for brief moments of connection with fellow riders who take the train or bus at the same time every day or vendors that you see regularly. Positive interactions with others help regulate emotions and stress levels.
Steal a Smile
Create a few happy moments each day. Play your favorite song, laugh at a comedy podcast, or catch up with an old friend. Be intentional about planning for those moments. Your whole day doesn’t need to be great to keep you afloat.
If you realise that your commute actually isn’t good for your mental health or overall happiness, you’re not stuck. Ask about staying remote full time. Or maybe it’s time to start looking for a job without a commute.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek