How to combat post-lockdown commute anxiety

While the easing of lockdown will allow us to socialise in beer gardens and go shopping again, the easing is also bringing a return to the office, which is causing workers across the UK to feel commute anxiety. 

As the Covid vaccine is rolled out and lockdown measures are steadily easing in the UK, we are all beginning to see a gradual return to pre-pandemic life. Not only are beer gardens and non-essential shops reopening, but for a lot of us, the easing of lockdown will mark the return to our workplaces.

In the week following the first set of lockdown restrictions lifting in England (12-19 April), searches for “return to office” saw a 500% uplift, as many companies announced their plans to start brining workers back.

While this may be a welcome return for more than a third of UK homeworkers who, according to research conducted by Personio, said they felt “less productive when not physically with their colleagues” many of us are feeling anxious about returning to the workplace and especially having to commute to get there.

Whether we’re still worried about potentially contracting Covid 19 and passing it on to our loved ones, or even just concerned about having to readjust our schedules and wake up earlier in order to catch the train, this is a stressful time for people returning to the workplace.

If we are feeling anxious about navigating the roads or public transport again, how can we combat this commuting-induced anxiety and make the journey to the workplace as stress free as possible? Dyer Mazda offer some tips to help reduce your anxiety:

Plan ahead

A simple tip to help reduce anxiety is to take some time each evening to plan for the next morning, as this will help you feel more in control while getting ready, and help you avoid rushing. If you are using public transport, it is worth having a specific train to aim for, and ideally purchase your tickets in advance. This means you know exactly what time to get to the station and you don’t need to worry about potentially long queues, or ticket machines not working.

If you are driving to work, then planning your journey and giving yourself enough time to account for traffic and other issues will equally help you feel more in control. If you can, try to leave earlier or even later to avoid sitting in traffic for too long.

Keep active

Incorporating some form of exercise into your commute, whether you decide to walk or even cycle part of the journey, is a great way to help reduce anxiety. Not only will this limit your time on a crowded bus or train, or just sat in your car, but keeping physically active is proven to reduce anxiety and help clear your mind, either before or after work.

As going on walks has been a lot of people’s main way of exercising and just getting out of the house in the past year, we’ve all seen the benefits of getting fresh air. By making time in our commute to continue this habit, this will help us reduce our anxiety and stress levels.

Avoid peak times

After over a year of working from home, and experiencing the flexibility which comes alongside it, many companies are being lenient with their employees’ work times.

Speaking to your work and seeing whether they can be more flexible with your start/end times means you can avoid peak travel times. Travelling during quieter times means less crowds and can mean a less stressful journey. 

Relax with a good book

Avoid “doom-scrolling” on your phone, and sifting through social media, and instead use the down time on your journey to relax your mind. A lot of us have read more in lockdown, with The Publishers’ Association reporting that the UK bought more books in 2020 than the previous year, and the return to the office does not need to mean we neglect that new hobby. Reading is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety, as it is a way for us to switch off and allow our mind to relax. 

If you drive during your commute, and reading is obviously off the cards, then a good alternative is listening to an audiobook or a podcast, as this will equally help you to feel less anxious. 

Check your car insurance

If you have rarely used your car in the last year, but you intend on driving into work, then it’s important that you check your car insurance policy and ensure you’re covered correctly. Even if you are just driving to the train station, and then taking the train to continue your commute, your insurance policy will need to include commuting. Ensure this is done, to avoid any potential headaches in the future. 

Photo by kevin laminto