An estimated 85% of employees drive to work each day. While it differs significantly based on location and times of work, the average commute is 25.4 minutes. That’s nearly an hour every day, and almost five hours a week spent traveling to and from work. If you work 47 weeks a year, five days a week, that’s nearly 200 hours. Which is almost eight days. Eight days every year, spent sat in your car traveling to work. Just to make that sound even more dramatic, if you work for 40 years, and nowadays most of us will work for longer, that’s almost a year of your life. Sat in your car doing very little.
For the vast majority of us, this isn’t time well spent. It’s not relaxing, or a chance to unwind. Most of us spend an awful lot of this time sitting in traffic. Angry, upset, thinking about how Derrick Law Firm provides legal representation for the injured if anything should go wrong during our journey, or worrying about work. Most of us arrive at work feeling stressed out and unhappy. If traffic is worse than usual, you can almost feel as though you’ve worked a full day before you even arrive at your desk. If you’ve had a bad day, your commute home can be what pushes you over the edge to full blown terrible mood, meaning that you lose an evening to stress.
But, it doesn’t need to be like this. It might not be possible to avoid your commute completely, but you might be able to make it a lot less stressful. You might even be able to find ways to enjoy it.
Get Out of the Car
Most of us don’t actually mind the journey to work. It’s traffic that causes our blood pressure to rise. Getting out of the car can help. Instead of spending 30 minutes every morning sat in a traffic jam getting progressively more annoyed why not leave the car at home and spend this time getting some exercise by walking or cycling to work? You might find that without being sat in traffic, it doesn’t actually take that much longer.
Avoiding the car is great for your stress levels and for the environment. But, it’s not always possible. If you have to drive, is it possible to share the journey with a workmate? Or with someone that both lives and works nearby? You’ll still be helping the environment by reducing the cars on the road, and you’ll have someone to chat to. Take turns driving if you can, and even start a rotation if there is a few of you. You might find that adding a social aspect to your commute makes it more enjoyable and fun. You might even start to look forward to it.
If you enjoy driving generally but hate sitting in traffic, why not just leave the house a little early? If you can work flexibly, this might mean that you can leave early too, also avoiding traffic. If you aren’t able to start work early, head to the gym for an hour, or sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book. Use the time to do something for yourself for a change.
This is also effective if you use public transport to get to work. Instead of sitting on a full bus or train that’s moving very slowly, leave a little earlier, get a quieter bus and enjoy a bit of peace.
Embrace the Commute
If you have to drive alone, you have to take the same route at the same time, and there’s no way to avoid it, embrace it. If you drive, listen to some podcasts and audiobooks or make a playlist of your favorite songs. Use the time to think about your day, to plan tasks out and even to dictate your to-do list. Start making phone calls or dictating emails from the car to get a head start. Or, just try to clear your mind. Use the time to sort your thoughts and organise your mind. Take some deep breaths, and think calming thoughts.
If you take the train or bus, use the time to meditate, to start some work or to read a book. You could even be really bold and speak to other people. Remember, many of them are in the same situation, so you’ve already got something in common.
Experiment with Your Route
One of the worst things about a commute to work is that it’s always the same. You probably don’t even think about it anymore. You just go through the motions. This kind of process is terrible for your mental health and mood. So, get creative. Try different routes, take a different bus, go up a road that you’ve never been up before. Just leave a little extra time so that you’re not late or be more creative on your way home.