It’s the time of the day we all dread – commuting to work. Most of the time we are barely awake, and yet we are expected to navigate through busy travel circumstances before being thrown head first into our work day. Believe it or not, long and stressful commuting have been linked to high anxiety, weight gain and poor sleep, among other negative outcomes. So how we make getting to work easier on ourselves?
Remember this is YOUR time
You chose to go to work, you chose to have this commitment, and you are in control over your decisions and you morning. Reminding yourself of the latter will help keep your anxiety levels low in times when you feel you have no control – heavy traffic, stalled subway cars etc. If you still find yourself getting frustrated, consider another means of transport to work that allows you more flexibility or control, such as biking to work or carpooling with a colleague to keep you company.
Find fun ways to pass the time
Once you have established that this time is ‘your time,’ add elements to your commute that you look forward to experiencing, such as a great book, an innovating podcast or relaxing music. A number of studies have shown relaxing music or classical music can help to decrease anxiety. This is the best ‘you time’ you have, without being burdened by home life or work tasks, so make the most of it!
Meditation is know for its affects on the human nervous system and restorative health benefits. Breathing and meditating in the morning panic (or even prior to leaving home) can have a huge impact on your ability to cope with your commute. The noises, attitudes and stress levels of others are less likely to affect you when you silence the mind and sounds around you, without judging or trying to “fix” them. Download a handy app like ‘headspace’ to help you get in the zone. You’ll find you’re more productive at work too!
While many commuters swear by the mindlessness of iphone games like ‘candycrush,’ technology tends to raise stress levels rather than subdue them. Spending some time tech-free can benefit our mental and physical health, and it might make your commute more pleasant. It may also be the only part of your day when you don’t have to be glued to a screen or can disconnect. Not to mention, driving or taking public transport whilst being heavily engaged in email, games, twitter or texting is not only irritating but also dangerous. Make it a habit to leave the phone alone between home and work, and just take some time for YOU.