Working From Home? Why a “Fake Commute” Could Help You Wind Down

Working from home can be a challenge. It’s tough for many people to get into a routine that keeps them productive throughout the day. For some, simply rolling out of bed in their pajamas and stumbling to the computer isn’t cutting it. This is why many people are finding the magic of taking a fake commute.

The Commute

It may sound crazy to some people, but there may be some psychological benefit to those slow travel routes. The commute time is actually a lot more than just the time you’re sitting in the car in traffic. It’s about waking up early enough to get in a morning walk, taking a few minutes to meditate, enjoying your morning coffee, and thinking while you drive. The world between your work and home life are now the same. This means it’s up to each professional to make their own routine. There is nothing that separates you between work and home. You walk into the next room and are in your professional space.

Transitions

The pandemic has wiped away a day full of transitions. We had time to get to and from our offices before the pandemic. We had time for lunch and time to travel to meetings. These were acts of physical transitions that helped us move with ease between our different roles. The lines are blurry as we try to transition at home between being a parent, being a boss, and being a partner. There is no time to decompress from the professional day by going out with colleagues after a long day. There is no time to sit in your car or on the bus mindlessly staring out the window. For many people, the lack of transitions leaves them struggling to leave work at work. They’re even working later into the night because their office is under their personal roof. There’s no walking around to chat with co-workers or taking breaks to sit in the lobby. There is only time to work. Life feels empty and confusing for many people trying to navigate this new normal.

Your Fake Commute

You don’t have to get in your car and drive around for an hour to get benefits from a commute. You can make your own “fake commute” to improve your mental health. You should get up to get ready like you’re headed out the door. This means you can get dressed and even pack a work bag. Grab your cup of coffee while you actually open the front door. It’s up to you what comes next. You can simply drive around the block enjoying a few minutes of silence. You can even walk around the neighborhood thinking and listening to music as if you were on your commute. These acts actually help our minds adjust to balance our personal and professional life.

Balance For Parents

Parents are some of the people that can most benefit from a fake commute. During the pandemic, many parents were both working from home and teaching their children virtually. They had to be on hand to help children figure out their virtual schooling while trying to attend a meeting in the other room. It’s important for parents to set a routine that gets them into a professional mode. They can even start the day by walking the kids to school or taking them to the bus stop. This counts as a commute because it creates a positive transition. Many working parents with young children at home have gotten accustomed to apologizing on a video phone call for work as the kids scream in the background. They need this break to help their work-life balance.

Set Up A Distinct Office

Your fake commute might mean setting up an office space far away from the bedroom. This makes it tough to roll out of bed and get on your computer. You have to act like an employee that needs to get up and walk across the house to get to “work.” It sounds silly, but this is affecting your mental balance. If you stay in bed in your pajamas working all day, you might not feel as productive. It’s like letting your kids go to school in their pjs and house slippers. It doesn’t work.

Mental Health Boost

Millions of people are still trying to figure out how to adapt to all of the changes brought by remote working. For some, they love it. For others, it’s challenging. It takes a lot of time and effort to figure it all out. The balance is off. Everything is different. Mental health is the key to staying on top of these changes. Work is important, but your life is essential. Take time to see if a fake commute is right for you. It will boost your mental health and help you attack the day with vigor.

A fake commute isn’t the answer for everyone. It’s the answer for those people that love to decompress after a tough day of work. It’s the answer for the person who couldn’t separate work from home life before the quarantine. Now, work just rules their life. It’s about learning to balance all of your worlds without all of the former distractions. The next time you’re sitting in a car in traffic, remember all of the ways it’s benefiting your mental health even though you aren’t happy at that very moment.