Living in a big city offers plenty of opportunities everybody craves – endless entertainment options, social events, top quality shopping malls and restaurants, and the best medical care.
However, one major blemish that alarms most people who are searching for a place in or close to a big city is the unavoidable commute. Moreover, if home and workplace are not close together, integrating this into your day-to-day life can be a hassle.
We are all familiar with the struggles of finding the perfect home, one that offers both comfort and accessibility, but, unfortunately, that is not always possible. So, whether you drive your car to work or use public transportation, you most likely spend a big chunk of time commuting every single day.
In today’s dynamic, always on-the-go society, it is important to find enjoyable activities to pass your time even if you are stuck in seemingly never-ending traffic.
Don’t just accept this necessary evil as a boring but inevitable part of your day. Instead, take into consideration the following 6 tips to make the most out of your long commutes:
1) Read a good book
To begin with, the first and most beneficial way in which you can pass your time and feel like you have accomplished something on an educational level is to read a good book. We know how quickly time flies when you delve into a captivating book, so even if you drive to work, you can opt for an audiobook instead of a hard copy.
When it comes to choosing the most fruitful topics for you to indulge in during the commute, try opting for personal development books.
Read books that will keep you active and that will continually exercise your brain, preferably not the kind that will put you in a sleepy mood before bed. This way, you can make time go by quickly and you’ll feel like you did something productive, while improving yourself and training your imagination.
2) Listen to music or a podcast
If you want to do something to unwind without devoting too much effort, you can listen to some upbeat music, the kind that will put you in the mood for the rest of the day. Try compiling your own playlist of songs that cheer you up, or choose from the multitude of already available ones, and rock your way to work every morning!
Another similar but more informative option is listening to a podcast. With the constantly increasing popularity of podcasts, it’s easy to find any subject you’re interested in.
Whether you prefer a thought-provoking, cultural theme, an inspiring ted talk or a comedy that will brighten up your day, you are bound to relieve part of your stress and learn something new every time you choose podcasting over randomly scrolling though Facebook and Instagram.
How much time do you spend observing what is going on around you? How often do you pause and self-reflect? You can look at your commute as the time you have only to yourself, without any other obligations.
Try using this in the most constructive manner by making time for personal, inner growth – unplug, disconnect from the imminent daily stress and use this opportunity to be more mindful.
Simply do nothing for at least half an hour and calm down your thoughts as well as recharge and prepare your mind for the rest of the day. Try to decompress a bit because finding your inner zen, cliché as it sounds, is more important than you might think.
4) Spark some creativity
Going hand in hand with meditation, engaging your mind in something creative will help you not only get rid of boredom, but also exercise your brain, which, in turn, will automatically make you more energetic.
Write a gratitude journal and take time to separate yourself from your problems and be appreciative of what you have. If you’re not a fan of expressing your thoughts and emotions, write a to-do list for the day or for the following week.
Maybe you’re one of those people that gets things done more easily with a list in front of them. Write down what you want to achieve on a long-term or on a short-term period. This technique is guaranteed to put you in a good mood and give you the much-needed motivation to get through the day with a smile on your face. Plus, it can help you get organized.
5) Use time as exercise
Taking into consideration that you probably spend most of your day focusing on work, most likely in an office and in front of a screen, it’s important to spend at least a small amount of time moving your body. If possible, ride your bike to work instead of driving, or opt for a long walk, even if it takes an additional half an hour.
Take the time to fully enjoy every morning and start the day feeling lively and full of energy with the help of some movement and a breath of fresh air. If it’s too much to walk all the way to your workplace, get off a few stops early for a bonus 15-minute stroll – it’s definitely worth it and your body will be grateful for it. This can also help you clear your thoughts before arriving to work and diving into that to-do list, or even better, after leaving the workplace.
Sometimes you may leave the office with a lot on your mind, so that stroll or bike ride can definitely help you release some or all of the tension built-up over the day.
If you work alone or in an isolated office, take full advantage of the time you have while getting to work to improve your social skills. Spending a lot of time alone in the car is not only boring, but it can also add to your general gloominess. So, instead of commuting by yourself, find someone to share the drive with.
If you take the train for an hour a day, don’t just sit by yourself and wait for the time to pass, instead try talking to other passengers and make new acquaintances. Stepping out of your comfort zone will be beneficial for your overall well-being.
If you do prefer to spend your time engaged with internet issues, use this time to answer your personal emails, but don’t deal with the work stuff just yet.
Catch up with friends and family and use the extra time as an opportunity to practice the art of showing emotional support to people that are close to you, and for whom you rarely have time otherwise.
In a nutshell, commuting doesn’t need to be an annoying, uncomfortable waste of time. Always see the light at the end of the tunnel and take it as a lucky chance to practice multitasking in an increasingly busier and more hectic society.
Turn a negative into a positive by finding engaging and creative ways to be as productive as possible, even if it means sitting there doing nothing but being mindful.