In March 2020 the world ground to a halt, and millions of people were told to stay at home. For most office workers, that meant working from home and instead of putting on a suit and going into the office every day, they could roll out of bed and start working in their pyjamas if they wanted to! Great, they thought, all that time wasted on their commute, they could now spend with their families, or exercising…. or lying in. But that novelty soon wore off; the line between work and home gets very blurred when you’re sitting at your kitchen table. Housework creeps into work time, and work time creeps into family time. You’re at your laptop before your official start time, and you’re still there way after you should be. It’s not as efficient as being in the office, so you start to compensate by checking emails in the evening. The exercises you were going to do never really happened, and the biscuit tin is never far away.
So this is where a ‘fake commute’ comes in. It is basically a walk or cycle starting from and ending at your home for a similar time to what your commute would take. For me, I have a dog, so a morning walk happens every day anyway, but you don’t need a dog to create the habit of a walk every morning. You set off for ‘work’ at the same time every day, have a set route and finish up at home ready for the day ahead. Even 15 minutes will bring you benefits: your mind can separate home from work, you can switch from home role to worker, plan things in your head ready for your day, and feel more ready for the day ahead. And it’s no secret that exercise is good for you physically, just 15 minutes a day can help lower blood pressure and increase weight loss. It also really helps with posture for desk workers. The fresh air will invigorate you, you can appreciate the little things you notice on your walk, observe nature, say hello to a neighbour or smile at a stranger, all things which help us to connect and feel grounded.
The best part is, you don’t even need a job to reap the benefits. If you spend most of your days at home (which a lot of have been doing until lately) a fake commute can give structure to your day, create a sense of purpose and help combat loneliness.
There is an elderly chap that lives near me. For years I have seen him walk down my road and then back up my road with a paper in his hand every single morning. I’m sure he doesn’t call it his fake commute, but he will do it for a reason. A purpose to be up and about early, to create routine and to stretch his legs before the day starts properly. Our bodies love routine, and our minds have a chance to go on ‘auto-pilot’ helping our brains have the time and space to think about more important things.
Just one note to add, Covid-19 did not create the fake commute, only the name for it. Our grandparents have been doing this for years.
Why not give it a go? We’d love to know how you get on.