If you live far from your school or work, then you’re pretty familiar with the life-draining experience that is commuting. You know that feeling when you’re in one heck of a traffic jam, your blood pressure spikes and your stress-level goes from zero to a hundred real quick? Yeah that.
I personally have no qualms on long commutes; my family has always lived far from the city centre and we prefer it that way. But I despise the heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic that comes with commuting.
I hate it with passion.
And when I’m royally pissed while commuting, I’ll bring that mood with me wherever I’ll go. Then I’d be royally pissed at everything for the rest of the day.
Let’s be real here: being royally pissed for a whole day can be quite exhausting.
Bad moods drain the life out of you. They exhaust you. And when you’re in one, it’s sometimes pretty hard to get out of it. Daily commute and traffic jams have a way of pushing our buttons, which is why commuting can be so stressful.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way! Your commute time can be peaceful slices of your day, if you want it to. That’s why I always try and make my long commute to and from uni as relaxed and as bearable as I possibly could. Here are some things you can try to have a more relaxed and more bearable daily commute.
6 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DAILY COMMUTE MORE RELAXING AND BEARABLE
1 | Read a book
This works when the traffic is super heavy and the cars move at, like, less than five centimetres per hour. Reading a book that’s light and in your favorite genre can make the daily commute more enjoyable. If you aren’t into or able to read a book in your commute, then maybe listening to an audiobook would be great for you. (And yes, listening to audiobooks is technically reading! Fayt me.)
2 | Listen to relaxing podcasts
Podcasts and commute are the best combination, you guys! I was a skeptic before, since I love listening to podcasts in a quiet room. But I was a quick convert the moment I listened to some of my favorite podcasts while taking the suuuper long commute to the office I interned in last semester. It made that hours-long travel more bearable. Sometimes, especially when I’m listening to Straight and Curly, I’d have to bite back a laugh. Talk about bringing good mood to where you’ll go!
3 | Do small craft work
This one, I’ve never personally done during my commute. But one time, there was this fellow passenger in front of me who was crocheting while we were in a traffic jam. She looked absolutely cozy and relaxed while doing it, too! There are also fellow artists who bring a small sketchbook with them so they can sketch while commuting. If you’re into small craft works like crocheting and art, you can totally do this! These are definitely small yet absolutely fun activities you can do in your daily commute.
4 | Be present (and listen to Sargant)
Being present, especially in an often stress-filled environment like the middle of heavy traffic, can be extremely difficult. And I’d like to give a special side eye to those impatient drivers who toot their horns like some entitled trolls and horribly adding to the already noise-polluted situation. We all want to get out of this traffic, Benjamin.
I recently came across Ash Sargant, this man who created ten-minute tracks of the BEST ambient music I’ve ever heard. What he did, in my opinion, was extraordinary.
Sargant believed that one of the reasons why we find our commutes super stressful is because we associate the usual sounds we hear during a commute – the footsteps, the car horns, the engines – with stress. So he recorded calming music tracks using traffic, escalators, footsteps on cement floor, and all other mundane sounds that we usually find annoying. This particular track, Big Departure, is my favorite.
5 | Practice mindfulness
I don’t practice mindfulness regularly but the times that I did, it never fails me. One simple mindfulness exercise I do while commuting is picking up four things that I can sense with four of my senses. So, four things I can see, smell, feel and hear. I usually don’t include taste. If mindfulness meditation seems hard for you, there are also short guided meditation podcasts, like Chel Hamilton’s Meditation Minis podcast, and apps like Headspace that you can listen to.
6 | Catch up on sleep
By far, this is my favorite thing to do while commuting. And as someone who can sleep on, like, any-freakin-where, this comes easy-peasy for me. It’s great too, since I don’t have to awkwardly look at that window pane in between the two passengers in front of me. Catching up on sleep during your commute is fantastic especially if you didn’t have much time to sleep in the past few days.
Do you take long commutes everyday? What do you do to make your daily commute more relaxing and more bearable?
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PS. I have a Pinterest board for stress relief and another one for mindfulness and mediation. Check them out!