Chances are your commute isn’t necessarily the best part of your day. Whether it consists of crowded trains or high-traffic roads, commuting to work can be stressful. This stress sets a tone for your day that can be hard to shake, and the last thing you need when heading into a high-pressure day is anxiety on the way there!
The time you spend commuting also takes up valuable hours in your day that you could be using for other things, such as exercising, making healthy meals, or spending quality time with your friends and family. A lack of time can also add to your stress levels, as you don’t get to do the things you truly enjoy.
That said, commuting is inevitable. Luckily, there are a few ways to make your commute less stressful – and perhaps even enjoyable.
- Turn off technology. If you’re like many people these days, you may spend a lot of time looking at screens. Use your commuting time to give your eyes a break and do those activities that you enjoy. If you take public transit, do a crossword puzzle or meditate. If you drive, use that time to take some deep breaths. Don’t hop on your phone and start working – use the time for something you enjoy.
- Learn something new. If you’re on a train, use that time to read a book you’ve been meaning to read. You can also download podcasts on a wide range of topics to listen to on your commute; many of them might even offer you a laugh or two to brighten your day. Music can also teach you new things, whether you relate to the lyrics in a song or learn to pick out the instruments in a jazzy tune.
- Stretch beforehand. This tip is especially important if you sit at work all day, as your muscles tighten as the day goes on. In order to make your commute more enjoyable, take a few minutes to limber up before you get in the car or on the train. Your body (and de-stressed mind) will thank you.
- Take alternative transport. If you have the option to walk, run, or bike on your commute, take advantage of it! Running or biking home can work wonders in relieving all the stress that built up throughout the day. If you live too far from work to do so, consider cycling, running, or walking to the local train station a few times a week, or to a key location within your carpool. Starting and ending your day on an active note can provide added health and happiness benefits.
- Stock smart snacks. When the stress of a high-traffic commute kicks in, it’s easy to reach for the Cheetos, especially if your commute takes longer than you thought and the hunger pangs are loud and proud. Stock your car or bag with healthy snacks to get you through even the worst commute. Nuts and fruit are always great options.
How do you make the most of your commute to stay happy and healthy? Let us know your ideas in the comments below!