The Economist reports that a commute of 45 minutes or longer increases our stress, is more likely to make us overweight, makes us feel lonely and literally causes pain in our necks. Commutes can be a grind, but it can become a time of productivity. You can do a number of things to make the time fly by while enjoying yourself. Here are some things that can make your commute much more bearable.
Learn a New Language
Relive a study abroad experience you had, or learn a language for an upcoming trip you have planned. There’s language podcasts you can download off ITunes that’ll transform your commute into a language learning session.
Read or Listen to a Book
Its summertime now and there’s a ton of summer reading lists out there. Read a book the old fashioned way by purchasing a paperback to read if you take the train, or download one on your smartphone, Kindle or Nook. Digging into a good book will provide an escape from the dreary commute.
Update Yourself with the Latest News
Many of us are too busy to pay attention to what’s going on in the news. Take this time to catch up with current events. Pull up a news site on your phone and read up on what’s happening in the world today or give the AM side of the radio a listen. You’ll have great water cooler talk material for work and be a great conversationalist at the next company party.
Chat with a fellow Commuter
If you take the train or bus every day to work, chances are you’ve been commuting with the same people for quite some time. Be bold and follow up your friendly hello with a conversation starter like, “How are you today?” or use your new found knowledge of current events and ask them about it. It’s always good to make a friend and a new business contact. Also, don’t be the person that chats on their phone. Nobody likes that person. This doesn’t work if you are commuting in your car, but if you have a hands-free device then give your commuting friend a call on your way to work.
Standing burns more calories than sitting. Walking the stairs is better than taking that elevator up to your floor. Instead of looking for that close parking space at the train station or in your company parking lot, opt to walk there if it’s doable or park your car farther away. These little things can go a long way. A little bit of excise can also wake you up and have you ready and alert for work when you arrive.
Listen to Music
As a music lover, this one is my personal favorite. Not only is it relaxing, but if you have smartphone, you can download Pandora or Slacker Radio. Discover good, new music while you commute. Make playlists. You can make personalized playlists for yourself by a number of ways, such as mood, season, genre, or day of the week. The more playlists you have, the more music you can listen too. Look out your window, listen to a good song, and your morning grogginess will disappear.
Between work and home, your commute may be the only time when you can get some rest. Sit down, relax, close your eyes (only if you’re taking public transportation!) and prepare mentally for the day ahead. Some may take this time to plan out their day in their head. Others may not think of anything. Either way, take this time to get the proper mental break you deserve.