Sitting in traffic late for work again can be stressful, and if it happens daily, it could impact your health. If you have the option, look at taking public transport and reduce the commuter stress.
A study of 18,000 workers in the UK found that car commuters were 13% more likely to feel they were under constant strain or unable to concentrate. Those workers who took public transport had higher levels of happiness and were able to sleep better. Researchers thought the walk to and from the bus stop or train station and the relaxation while travelling were the main reasons for public transport commuters felt less stressed.
Make it Time for You
Many people will argue that taking over-crowded public transport is more stressful than driving but being a passenger means you are free to do other things. Use the time each day to immerse yourself in a good book or catch up on the news or favourite social media channel on your phone.
Otherwise, you can find an online game you enjoy or watch a mini-series or catch-up TV. Some people like to warm up their brain for the day ahead with a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. You could also use the time to sort the photos on your phone and add them to a photo book app.
If you have a busy or stressful workday, try to spend your commuting time in a relaxed state. If you think public transport is too noisy to relax or meditate, try some noise-cancelling headphones or listen to some relaxing music. There is plenty of music specifically designed for relaxation activities such as yoga and massage available. Find a few titles that appeal to you and download. With your headphones and sunglasses on you can close your eyes and relax, ready to tackle your day when you arrive.
If you are studying, use the time to read or review your notes to save time later in the day. There are so many resources now available on your phone or iPad that you could learn a new skill or update an old one within a month’s commute.
Try Udemy for a course that appeals to you or download a book that will help your career or yourself. You no longer need to carry paperback books with you, you can have dozens of books on your phone or iPad waiting for you to choose one that appeals to you that day. If you’re an auditory learner, or you just prefer to listen than read, download Audio books instead as a useful way of learning throughout the day while you complete other tasks.
Even watching YouTube videos can improve your skill and knowledge in just about any topic.
Free up your Mind
You may even spend the time making a list of the things you want to get done during the day and prioritise them by importance, so you have a plan of attack when you arrive at the office. Sometimes getting the list out of your head and onto paper frees up your mind and gives you the satisfaction of crossing off items as you complete them during the day.
Even Before your Commute
Of course, a stressful start to the day can begin long before your commute. Try to organise as much as you can the night before to reduce the number of decisions you need to make in the morning. If you have children to get off to school, try making lunches the night before and getting their clothes and shoes ready to limit the constant reminders that can lead to stress.
If you start your commute in a bad mood or stressed state, the trip is likely to see you even more uptight than when it began. Try different approaches to starting your day on the right foot. Once you find a routine that works for you, stick to it. No one needs a stressful morning before getting through a long day.
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