What if having a long commute or any commute was a good thing? I know, I know this sounds cuckoo bananas, but just go with me on this. Every day, regardless of how you are feeling, you have to be “on.” Right? You have to be an empathetic listener, you must be present for others, you must be caring and loving and… the list goes on. In the caregiving field you are working with people ALL DAY LONG. And so that means that you are constantly interacting. You are interacting with so many people throughout the day you may not even be aware of how much of your energy is being given over to others.
(I recently did an exercise at work where I started counting how many people I interacted with during one shift. I actually lost count because I couldn’t keep up, but I really want to complete that exercise at the very least out of curiosity. I encourage you to try it, and get ready for an a-ha moment…”That’s why I’m so exhausted!!”)
So when it’s time to go home, after being “on” all day/night, are you still operating on all cylinders? I know I’m not! I’ve usually had little to no time to myself, which in my case usually means I might not be my best self when I get back home or go out with friends etc. I need time to replenish my energy. (And p.s. please don’t compare your need for decompression with anyone else, let alone those whose career allows them to have ear buds in all day working independently on projects)
Check in with yourself after work. If you find that you are still buzzing after the day you’ve had and replaying everything that happened over and over, maybe you could benefit from singing one of your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, in your car. (Subway riders, this does not apply to you, unless you are Aretha Franklin. She can do whatever she wants.) Or stop at a little shop and look around, or a cafe and just have a moment to yourself or listen to some calming music. Or just do nothing at all, except exist. Or turn off your phone.
Regardless of how you choose to decompress on your commute home, it’s worth investigating if this opportunity to reconnect with yourself, helps you feel closer to your best self by the time you arrive home.
Take care of YOU.