Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a study found that the average daily commute in the UK was 59 minutes. Many of us saw that reduced to a mere 30 seconds when the work from home order was put in place.
Now that a lot of businesses have put hybrid and remote working in place, you might find yourself with no commute at all, or you might only make the journey into your workplace a couple of times a week.
You might be using that valuable extra time to catch some extra ‘zzz’s in the morning, or you might find yourself logging on earlier or staying online later. But why not use this time for some vital self-care? A survey revealed that 84% of us believe that as a country we need to focus more on self-care in the wake of the pandemic.
Here, we cover some of the ways you can reinvest your commute with self-care.
Invest in a skincare routine
If there’s one habit many of us picked up during multiple lockdowns, it was a proper skincare routine. With nowhere to go and fewer opportunities to show off our favourite makeup, we turned to looking after our skin and embracing our natural beauty instead.
A lot of us found the soothing ritual of applying serums, toners, and moisturisers to our face to be relaxing, and there have been many accounts of people seeing improved mental health as a result. The rhythmic routine of applying products offers us a moment to be mindful, and prioritising ourselves in these moments can boost our wellbeing.
If you’re one of the many people forgoing makeup when you work from home, spend the time that you’d usually use on commuting on looking after your skin. Your face, and your mind, will thank you.
Working from home can be just as hectic as a day in the office. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work life as you’re bombarded with Teams messages and phone calls. This can leave you feeling quite stressed and burnt out, especially if you’ve rolled straight out of your bed to your desk.
Taking time in your morning to practise meditation and mindfulness can put you in a mindset that is ready for a busy day of remote work. Those moments of calm mean you won’t be stressed from the moment you log on. It sets the tone for the rest of your day and can help you deal with the challenges that may come your way.
We all know by now that meditation doesn’t just mean sitting cross-legged and chanting ‘Om’. It means taking a quiet moment to be present in the now. You can practise basic meditation, which is to focus on your body and your surroundings instead of the thoughts racing through your mind. Breathwork and repeating positive mantras to yourself have also been proven to improve your mental health.
Meditating after you log off work, in the time you’d usually spend travelling home, can also help you release all the stress that may have built up during the day.
Write in a journal
Another practice that allows you to be mindful is journaling. The act of writing down your thoughts, emotions, and significant events from the day can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help you to work through complex emotions.
There are many methods of journaling that could benefit you. If you enjoyed keeping a diary or journal when you were younger, simply writing about your day and how you’re feeling can be helpful – and there’s a sweet tinge of nostalgia mixed in there too.
Writing freely is a good way to get all of your thoughts on paper, then you can begin to dig into them and understand what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and how you can address it. Gratitude journaling, where you make note of the things in your life you’re thankful for, can also give you a more positive outlook on life and increase your happiness.
Journaling can be done both before and after work once you’re comfy in your pyjama set – and it can even help you switch out of work mode and into life mode by getting any frustrations off your mind.
Now that we’ve tasted life without a daily commute, there’s no going back for many of us. Whether you’re a full-time remote worker or you have a few precious days a week to work from home, spending the time you used to use for your commute on self-care activities can improve your stress levels, reduce anxiety, and even boost your happiness. What more could you want?