Sanity Watch: My Daily Commute is 20 Steps Down the Hall…

Now that most of us have entered our fifth, sixth, or possibly even seventh week of teleworking and social distancing, our “new normal” is finally starting to feel mundane. Over the past several weeks, we’ve been urged to keep with a routine: wake up, exercise, take a shower, make a healthy breakfast – day after day, in an attempt to keep life moving forward and as normal as possible. However, one aspect of our daily routine seems to have been overlooked – our commute.

It’s true – rarely would someone suggest that their commute is the best part of the day. Between sitting in rush hour traffic, to squeezing into over-crowded Metro cars, to walking through all of nature’s elements – the daily trudge was often stressful. But the time we spent every morning and evening, coming to and from work, might have had some benefits that we never realized. Our commutes gave us a separation between our workday and life outside of the office. Whether your commute was 10-20 minutes or over an hour – it always allowed for a small break in the day, and time to yourself.

We all had different activities to pass the time during our commutes – some of us preferred listening to music, while others would rather talk with a friend. But now that a large percentage of the workforce is teleworking, some of us might be finding that we miss this guaranteed downtime that we used to have.

So, what do we do now that we sleep, work, eat, and play all in the same space?

Press Pause on Audio Books

Many of us are loyal subscribers to our favorite podcasts or listen to audio books on the regular – we especially loved to tune into these on our way to work. But now that our hands are free from the steering wheel and eyes aren’t locked on the road, why not pick up a real book? Whether it’s a fiction novel, a historical biography, or even a cookbook – grab something and start reading.

Be an At-Home Barista

We all have our go-to “special” coffee order for the mornings that the Keurig just can’t imitate. You know the one – that “skinny iced caramel macchiato with almond milk,” or the “double shot, two-pump mocha, skim milk, no whip.”

If you don’t consider a coffee run an essential errand, try making your favorite morning drink at home. If you like iced drinks, cold brews and whipped coffees are easier to make than you might think. If hot drinks are more your taste, and you don’t have access to an espresso maker, at-home lattes are still not out of the question.

Carpool Conversations

Carpooling and ridesharing are very popular methods to get to work. Not only does it benefit the environment, it gives commuters a chance to sit back and have conversation with friends and coworkers. If you’re finding that your new lifestyle lacks social interaction – at least with people outside of your home – try having these early morning conversations over video calls or text. Don’t have anything to talk about? Try new breakfast recipes together, have a virtual book club, or discuss your latest Netflix binges. There are plenty of unique ways to keep the discussions rolling.

Morning Jam Sessions

Listening to music is arguably the most popular activity while commuting. Whether it’s smooth jazz or classic rock, hip-hop or America’s Top 40, we all have our favorite songs to blast on the car radio or play in our headphones. While nothing is stopping you from bumping tunes at home, this newfound free time is also a great opportunity to learn how to play them yourself. Fender offers some easy how-to lessons for guitar and there are plenty of piano tutorials online. Lessons for whatever instrument you play – or have always wanted to learn – are only one click away.

Once Around the Block

If none of the above fills the void of your daily commute, what is stopping you from going outside and making a commute of your own? Sure – you probably won’t be heading to the office – but, take a walk, hop on your bike, or drive through the community. Get out of the house and take some time for yourself. As long as we continue to follow the guidelines set by the CDC, this crazy, strange time we’re living in can start to feel a little more normal.