Re-Entering The Daily Commute More Comfortably 

Working from home is no longer the default. And while some people may be glad to go about their day as normally as possible, there are some among us who might not, especially with the daily commute. Challenge lists some steps you can take to make that trip a little easier.
Here are some things you can do to make the most out of your commute.

For the longest time, we were waiting for things to go back to “normal”. And now that COVID-19 vaccinations are well underway and working from home is not mandatory, some of us may be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety. It could be due to possible changes now that we have to step out of our homes, the need to commute, and a return to the workplace on a more regular basis.

This phenomenon is known as re-entry anxiety, and it is an experience not unique to Singapore. For some months now, health experts have been discussing re-entry anxiety after lockdowns around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it would affect people.

The good news is, we are a resilient species. An advantage of returning to the workplace is that commuting time allows for a clearer separation between work and personal spaces, and a time to decompress. And we can certainly take small steps to make our re-entry into the public space a little more pleasant, especially during crowded commutes that can ordinarily be stressful – pandemic or not.

Here is a list of things you could try:

Meditate

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a long duration of time to meditate. In fact, many people do it during their trips on public transport or cab rides. For a start, you could use a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace. And since you might have a gauge of when your stop would come, you could set the duration of each session and tune out until it is time to alight.

Meditating while commuting will put you in a relax state of mind before you reach the office.

Introspect

Think about what you have missed most in the past year. It could be anything – attending a mass event like a musical performance, or belting out your favourite love song at a karaoke lounge. While some of these activities are still not possible, think about other things you could gradually reintroduce safely and comfortably into your life.

Read

The benefit from reading is similar to meditation as they are both immersive activities that help you be present and mindful. So pack a book or whip out your phone for some reading material. You could also turn to Libby, a free app where you can borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from the public libraries.

Alternatively, you can also borrow e-books borrowed from free apps while commuting.

Telegram

Telegram is more than just a text-messaging app. It has a host of channels you can turn to for timely and useful information – be it about the weather or the latest news from Singapore and beyond. Check out our recommended list of channels to follow here.

Listen In

Tune out of your commute and dive into a plethora of podcasts that last anywhere from under 15 minutes to more immersive ones that go on for up to an hour. Some local recommendations include SG Explained and Let’s Talk CPF by the CPFB.

If you prefer something more dynamic, and use an iPhone, head over to Clubhouse, an audio-based social networking app. There are “live” discussions on a wide range of topics where you might hear the thoughts of someone famous, or even contribute your own! Find out more here.

Staggered Work Hours

If you have to return to the office permanently, speak to your superior or boss about the possibility of staggered working hours. As things stand now, 50% of staff can be allowed back at the workplace, so this might be a good start to minimise contact not only at work, but with the mass of commuters to and from work. After all, they do say the journey matters as well, not just the destination.

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  • POSTED ON
    May 3, 2021
  • TEXT BY
    Keval Singh
  • ILLUSTRATION BY
    mushroomhead
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