During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people realized just how much they hated their commutes, and now with more people returning to the office, they’re having to contend with this travel again, at least a few times a week.
Well, the good news is that commuting doesn’t have to be nearly as unpleasant as in the past. In fact, with the right tools on hand and the proper mindset, your trips to and from work can be downright enjoyable.
Upgrade Your Audio
Whether you drive or take public transit to work, a good sound system can improve the experience a great deal. Invest in a pair of noise canceling headphones if you’re traveling by bus or train, or upgrade your car’s audio player if you’ll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel. You can tune in to the news, your favorite podcast, or the music of your choosing and tune out the world around you.
Get A Better Bag
How you carry your stuff doesn’t matter a ton if you drive to work, but if you’re taking the train or bus, the right bag can be a game changer. Carrying a shoulder bag, like a large purse or messenger-style bag, can cause a lot of neck and back pain, especially if you end up having to stand during rush hour.
Instead, upgrade your style and your posture by carrying your daily necessities in a stylish leather backpack. By distributing that weight across both shoulders, you’ll experience a lot less pain and fatigue while in transit.
Keep Your Coffee Ready
Morning commutes call for a caffeine buzz, but most travel mugs are actually pretty leaky, leading to an unfortunate and frustrating mess. Rather than picking up the first mug you spot at the local pharmacy or grocery store, then, look for something a little more industrial. The best travel mugs aren’t just leakproof, but will actually keep your coffee hot, unlike many of the cheaper models.
Plan It Out
There are a lot of reasons that people don’t enjoy their commutes, but one of the major issues workers have described is that their commutes are increasing feelings of burnout. That’s a serious problem and one that can’t be addressed by some music or even by getting a new job. One thing that can help, though, is slowing down and taking some time to plan out your day. Get a traditional planner, a notebook, or any tool that helps you strategize about your schedule and priorities. If you can take a little time to clear your head and get oriented, you may not find your commute so stressful.
Make A Friend
This may seem like a downright bizarre connection, especially for those from the stereotypically unfriendly northeast, but before the days of technology, a lot of people had commute buddies. These weren’t people they were already friends with, but rather people whose daily schedules aligned with their own.
Just think about it – you probably see the same people day after day, so why not say hello? Even being casually social during your commute can lift your mood – and it may be especially beneficial given the extreme isolation many of us have felt over the last eighteen months. While we’re used to hiding behind our phones these days, reaching out to the people you see on your commute might be a game changer, lifting your mood before you get to your desk.
While you may not be able to fully erase the stress of a long commute, approaching it strategically and with the right tools – including plenty of coffee – can make the whole experience a little more pleasant. And if you can find a little pleasure in this mundane undertaking, you might even begin to look forward to this time in your day.
After all, your commute is all yours. Use it in a way that works for you rather than just suffering through it.