At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self. It’s essential that you’re aware of what you need to be your most constructive, productive and authentic self. Instead of narrowly defining self-care as just physical health, one needs to pay attention to a broader set of criteria, including care of the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources.
Rather than having self-care be something “outside” of work, it’s important to weave it naturally into the course of a workday, even making it a part of your commute. The next time you find your stress levels reaching an all-time high on your daily commute, bring your attention back to the present moment. There is a golden quality to travel time when you start to re-frame it as an opportunity for a rare and precious slice of solitude.
Here are some ways to make the most out of the time.
1. Include some leisure downtime
You can also use this time to catch up on all the reading that you wanted to. Go hands-free and listen to a podcast or an audiobook. The commute time will fly by, and you will get all the pleasure of reading without having to carry the books around.
Discover an escape through music! Spend some time curating playlists for each of your basic moods and play them during your commute accordingly. Explore new artists and genres or tune into your favorite radio station.
2. Leave earlier so you can slow down
Give yourself a little extra time, so you’re not always rushing to be on schedule. There’s nothing like knowing that you can take your time and leisurely meander to work. Go to your favourite café, grab a coffee or spend some time eating a healthy breakfast before you hit the road. Slowing down a little can be a grounding way to start your day and heading out just that much earlier can give you the freedom to sit and enjoy a coffee, or to stop at your favourite cafe and grab a healthy breakfast before you hit the road.
Also, make sure you apply the same logic for going home after work.
3. Rethink your route
It’s tempting to take the shortest route possible, but keep in mind that a longer route which has less traffic could make all the difference. Sometimes the time saved isn’t worth the added stress, especially if the shorter way is more complicated or traffic-laden. If your route starts to feel monotonous, switch it up every once a while to give a boost and newness to your mind. Maybe the difference you’re looking for is just a different route – side streets instead of the highway.
4. Take time to reflect
What did you achieve last week? Most of us can’t remember the things we did once we’ve completed a task or gotten through a tough crunch because we’ve already moved on to the next project. Instead, hit the pause button and look back. Recall or write down what went well or what felt particularly satisfying. This kind of debrief can help you stay on track towards goals, passions and actions that add value to your efforts.
No matter how crammed up your commute is, there’s also room for self-appreciation and gratitude.
Sometimes it’s best to disconnect for a short while. Enjoy the silence or the sounds around you. Don’t check on social media, put away your phone and simply be in the moment. Don’t worry about work— you’ll get there soon. The world will keep turning even if you take a few minutes off. Do absolutely nothing for a little while!
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