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How to reclaim your commute: 7 things to do to turn the wasted travel time into self-care


It’s happened. You’ve received the email politely encouraging you to start thinking about coming back to the office. While you can’t wait to catch up with your work wives and start up your post-work Thursday night pub visit again, one thing you’re probably dreading is the commute.

For the past year now, we’ve savoured those sleep ins. Being able to stay in bed an hour longer than we usually would, or utilising the time that we would usually allocate for a commute to amp up our exercise routines or cook a delicious meal from scratch.

But there are benefits to returning to a commute (we promise!). A commute allows you to set more stringent boundaries between your work and home life – no more leaving your laptop on just incase you get a last-minute email and no more working overtime when you don’t need to, you can leave your work at the office again.

You’ll also be able to reclaim this time to do the things you want to do. Is there a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to? Books you’ve wanted to read or TV series you’ve wanted to watch? Now’s the time to do just that. With this in mind, we’ve listed some of our favourite ways to turn commuting into ‘me time’ again, below.

Read a book

Reading a book is a great way to take a break from screens – so why not use your commuting time to get back into reading? Head down to your local bookshop and pick up a few paperbacks that will fit nicely in your bag and you’ll find yourself looking forward to your commute in no time.

Start a side hustle

If you’re itching to get an idea or project off the ground, why not use your commuting time to do just that? If you’re a whizz with designs, take your tablet with you and sketch up some cool art or graphics that you can sell on Etsy and make passive income from.

Watch a new TV series

If you’re coupled up and living with your partner, it’s likely that there’s a few TV shows you want to watch that they are simply not interested in. Your commute is a great time to catch up on these shows – just be sure not to be so invested that you miss your stop.

Do a crossword puzzle

Another great way to take a break from your screen and wake up your brain too. Why not buy a cheap puzzle book and take it with you on your commute? According to a study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, sudoku and crosswords can help keep your mind active and sharp.

Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Pre-pandemic, commutes were all about listening to the latest podcast or audiobook you had on the go. Since we’ve been in lockdown for the better part of a year, our podcast listening has dwindled so use this time to pick it back up and fill your ears with insightful commentary or fun fiction.

Listen to music

If all you want to do is just switch off, make a playlist on spotify and use this time to seriously chill out. Listening to music has been proven to reduce stress, improve your memory and help you sleep better – a win-win, we say.

Write a book

Hear us out. Author Beth O’Leary wrote her bestselling debut novel, The Flatshare, on her daily commute from Winchester to London. She told Bustle: “My commute became my solution to the problem. For two hours a day, I was sat on a train with nowhere else to go and no WiFi connection to distract myself on Twitter. It was ideal.”

See? A commute doesn’t sound so bad after all.

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