If you feel like you’re working harder and for longer than you used to when you commuted to an office, you’re not alone.

Step away from the early morning emails…

Step away from the early morning emails…

A survey by recruitment site irishjobs.ie found that more than 40% of employees are working longer hours from home than at the office.

Half of us are still waking up at the same time we would in order to travel to work, and 11% of us believe we now have a heavier workload while under lockdown, the research found.

Essentially, it seems we’re using that time we would be in a car, train or bus to log into work sooner and get our heads down. We’re turning commute time into work time.

Instead of heading straight to your emails or spreadsheets, why not try and use the ‘commute time’ a little more wisely? Here are five suggestions of how to make your extra half hour or hour more ‘you time’ than ‘work time’.

1. Meditate

Joe Wicks shared on his Instagram stories that he now meditates every morning. Research has long shown meditation can reduce anxiety and stress as well as help you to focus. It’s said to enhance self-awareness, promote emotional healing and even lengthen your attention span. Some say it improves their sleep. Start with just taking 10 minutes to sit quietly, alone, close your eyes and try to clear your mind of any thoughts or worries, and breathe deeply.

Alternatively download an app for guided meditation, like Calm or Headspace.

2. Stretch

On top of any exercise you’re planning for the day, a good stretch will get your gut moving, focus your mind and can keep those stress levels in check.

Yoga teacher Mel Enright explains: “Stretching improves circulation and blood flow in the body, so it keeps everything ‘moving’ and the blood oxygenated. Stretching combined with mindful breathing – using the breath to marry and match with the stretching – can help decrease anxiety.”

If you’re a total beginner simply start with a standing hamstring stretch by trying to touch your toes – done daily you’ll notice a difference in flexibility sooner than you think.

You could start with some basic stretching from the ever popular ‘Yoga with Adriene’  – find her free videos on her website or YouTube.

3. Eat breakfast at the table

One of the staples of your commute might have been a coffee, a pastry, or perhaps some toast as you run out of the house. It’s unlikely it was a family breakfast around the table. So why not use your extra commuting time as an opportunity to enjoy breakfast slowly and more mindfully. If you live with family or friends, set the table, share the mealtime with others and don’t allow phones.

You could even try frothing some milk for that daily cappuccino you’d have on the commute.

4. Do some crafting

Craft is becoming hugely popular and it’s very mindful. Losing yourself in crochet or cross stitch is a sure-fire way to avoid those early morning emails pinging into your life.

Taking time first thing to engage in your craft hobby will bring you joy as you know you’re ‘ahead’ in your project before the day’s even begun.

It keeps your hands busy so there’s no risk of picking up the phone to scroll bad news and negativity into your life as you might do on the train.

5. Hang out with the kids

Normally you might kiss them on the cheek and shout, ‘Have a good day!’ Now you’ve got up to an extra hour before the working day, so why not spend it with your children?

The key is to try and not use any devices though, which keeps you in the present and helps you bond before the chaos of ‘real life’ kicks in.

If it’s sunny, why not take breakfast out into the garden (if you have one), or try going for your daily walk or bike ride together and seeing the world wake up around you?

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