Consider Starting and Ending Your Day With a Fake Commute

Consider Starting and Ending Your Day With a Fake Commute
Photo: Kryvenok Anastasiia, Shutterstock

One of the first parts of working remotely that got people really excited (aside from being able to wear soft clothes all the time) is avoiding their daily commute. Whether that involved a traffic-filled car trip, or depending on perpetually late public transit, the idea of simply getting out of bed and walking to another room in your home (or staying in the same room) felt like a dream come true.

But now, some people are actually missing their pre-pandemic commutes. Not only did it provide precious alone-time for those who are now quarantined with other people in their household, but it provided a clear distinction between your work day and your personal time at home. Now, it can be hard to tell when “work time” ends (or at least it can feel that way). And that’s why you might want to consider a fake commute. Here’s how to add one to your daily routine.

What is a fake commute?

The aim of a fake commute is to recreate what is best described by the German word “Feierabend,” meaning the time between finishing your work and starting leisure activities and/or rest. In an interview with the BBC, Christoph Stengel, a 41-year-old Berliner who works as a software developer, said that there are actually two meanings of Feierabend: “First, it’s the moment you stop working for the rest of the day — of course, [it’s] a good feeling then. Second, it’s the part of the day between work and going to bed.”

And while it certainly can be a form of self-care, the origins of Feierabend are also firmly rooted in capitalism: if people are giving the chance to unwind at the end of the day, the idea is that they’ll be more productive the next day at work. “You have to rest after work directly, you can’t do double time the next day,” Nils Backhaus, a 34-year-old research and policy adviser from Germany told the BBC. “The stress and recovery go hand-in-hand. It’s like a bodily rhythm.”

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How to incorporate a fake commute into your day

The hardest part of starting (and keeping up with) a fake commute is carving out the time to do it in the mornings and evenings (or whenever you start and end your work day) — especially since it means you’ll probably have to wake up a little earlier. Then, pick an activity (or a few) that will serve as the placeholder for your commute. These can include anything from taking a walk while listening to music or a podcast (or simply enjoying the silence), doing a 10-15 minute yoga or stretching YouTube video, or reading a book (and no, social media and the news doesn’t count). Use this as a way to ease in and out of your work day, and transition into leisure time (if you have it).

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