In our fast paced, on the go lifestyle we rarely find the time to do something for ourselves. We are either working, spending time with family and friends, or traveling to and from work. With land close to major cities dwindling, rents are higher than ever and people are forced to make the epic journey into work from the outer suburbs.
The commute for many is extremely stressful and tough to deal with, but there are ways to make better use of your time and turn the long commute into a positive experience. These are 10 activities that will help enrich your commuting journey:
1. Sit next to or admire attractive commuters.
A study conducted by Dr. Glenn Williams and Rowena Hill from Nottingham University found that something as simple as sitting next to a fellow commuter you find attractive can reduce your stress and make for a more positive journey.
Dr. Williams says, “Commuting stress is something most of us can relate to. It can affect a person’s physical and psychological well-being and can lead to conflict at home and poor performance at work.” Sitting next to or admiring attractive commuters will help you take your mind off the daily commute, making it more enjoyable and a more positive experience.
2. Find a friend to travel with.
Spending an hour or two alone in a car can be difficult and in some cases can cause feelings of isolation and general unhappiness.
To make your car ride more enjoyable try to organize a car pool or perhaps find a friend that is heading in the same direction and offer them a lift. The social interaction will help develop your communication skills, make the experience more enriching, and it can reduce travel expenses. Many job roles require customer interaction and being social prior to work will help you get in the mood, which in turn will help you become more productive and happier in the workplace.
3. Catch up on some sleep.
A long commute generally means early mornings or late nights, so take the opportunity to catch up some sleep. This is difficult if you drive to work, but for those that take public transport a snooze will refresh you and make your commute fly by. Before you fall asleep make sure you keep all your belongings in a tough to reach place and enjoy yourself. You may find that the extra sleep will have you excited for your commute.
4. Relax and take the time to be with your thoughts.
We very rarely have any time to just sit down, relax and be with our thoughts. Change your perspective of your commute and use the time to think about things you have neglected over the years. This is the time to think about the business you have always wanted to start, the book you have always wanted to read or places you have always wanted to visit. You may be surprised at what comes from this time you spend with your thoughts and it could take you to a whole new place in life.
In an article on Huffington Post, meditation experts at the app Headspace recommend “being mindful of your environment and the tendency to resist it; being mindful of the emotions as they rise and fall, come and go…mindful of wanting to be somewhere else, of wishing time away; and mindful of wanting to scream out loud or put your foot down in the car.”
5. Plan your schedule for the day ahead.
The time we spend commuting is valuable time, especially for the busy, work-focused individual. Be productive; use your commute to plan tomorrow or your night ahead. Why wait until you get home to sort out your morning meeting? Spend the time at home with your family or relaxing on the couch. Preparing for the day ahead will relieve stress and make you far more efficient. If you change your perspective of your commute, you will be far less stressed and more productive than ever.
6. Take a more scenic route.
Rebecca Tatum White’s commute takes two hours each day, but she enjoys the drive. This is because her commute runs along the coast and the view “takes my breath away each morning.” She waves at surfers and takes in the local architecture of her city, which makes her happier, creating a more enriching commute.
A change of scenery can alter your perspective and give you a whole new outlook on life. Taking the alternate route may be slightly longer than your normal commute, but it beats a drive full of run down and dilapidated buildings.
7. Take the time to keep in touch with family or friends.
Finding time to keep in touch with friends and family is difficult to say the least, but remember you have a long commute at your disposal. Talk about something positive with your friends or see how your nephews and nieces are doing; this will give you a more positive mindset and allow you to forget about the arduous journey home.
Williams and Hill suggest being social and talking with friends or family can lead to a more positive journey. Try it and see your commute home become far more enriching.
8. Use the time to learn something new.
Many people utilize the commute home to learn something new. Ashlee White uses her hour long commute home to learn Spanish and says, “it’s the perfect length of time to squeeze in some practice.”
It is a dream of countless people to learn a new language, either for their professional lives, to communicate with family members or perhaps because they have always wanted to. However, so many of us use the excuse of “I don’t have the time.” Do what Ashlee has done and take advantage of a long commute. It is the perfect time to sit down, read through your notes and learn something new.
9. Listen to calm and relaxing music.
Ease your way into the day by listening to some calm and soothing music. According to a Populus survey, people that listen to heavy metal or hard rock are more likely to succumb to road rage or collisions. Instead, your body needs to be calm in the morning.
Listening to some smooth tunes rather than your regular loud rock will help you relax, calm down and create a safer drive to work.
10. Bring an iPod, tablet or laptop.
Bring something for entertainment and use it to be productive. Write that novel you have been thinking about, or play some mind teaser games to get your mind ready for the day ahead. Sitting on the train and zoning out is not the most effective use of time, so something as simple as bringing a laptop can dramatically improve your productivity.
Staying entertained will not only help the long commute seem quicker, but it will also allow you to get into the right head space, relax and become more productive throughout the day creating an overall more enriching commute.
Featured photo credit: It’s MARTA/Brett Weinstein via flickr.com