Not everyone enjoys a long commute into the city for work or school. Me? I’ve come to appreciate it. What once was yelling and screaming at constant traffic delays, long hours, and discomfort has now transitioned into some peaceful “me time.” I have a good hour and a half or so of time alone behind the wheel to reset and focus on the day ahead. For bus riders or train takers, there are definitely more options on how to stay entertained during your commute, especially if you’re traveling with a friend. For those of us who are traveling solo and need to keep our eyes on the road, here are ten ways to make the ride a bit more enjoyable and even productive.
I never thought I would see the day where I would choose a podcast over music but, alas, the day has come. Podcasts are a fantastic way to absorb all kinds of information while getting yourself to your destination. My current favorites are Gals on the Go, Deepak Chopra’s Infinite Potential, and of course, Boston’s best sport’s podcast, Wicked Take (featuring ya girl)!
2. Jam Session!
While podcasts have been my go-to form of commuting entertainment, sometimes we just need a good jam session, #amiright? Studies have shown that singing releases endorphins (those “feel-good” chemicals) into your brain causing positive psychological effects. Singing has also been known to improve your mood, lower stress levels, strengthen the immune system, help with sleep, and improve mental alertness. So, put together a playlist of some of your favorite tunes, turn up the music and LET IT OUT!
3. Recite Affirmations/Meditate
Through my several years of yoga training, I’ve finally come to understand that meditation can happen anywhere at any time. It’s simply a tool to use whenever you need it. There are silent meditations, guided meditations, walking meditations, breathing exercises, and more. Therefore, there are so many different kinds of ways you can get your Zen on, even while you’re on the go. Reciting positive daily affirmations to yourself can help you to overcome any self-sabotaging thoughts and re-focus your attention to a more constructive and progressive mindset. Some of my go-to affirmations include:
- I am exactly where I need to be right now
- My strength is greater than my struggles
- I am enough
- I am surrounded by love
- I can create the life I dream of
- There are endless opportunities around me
4. Know Your Nearest Starbucks
If I am able too, I’ll treat myself to a quick Starbucks trip near the middle of my commute before I hit the city. (*Tip: stop for coffee before getting into the city so you don’t have to deal with parking!) This gives me a little something to look forward too for part of my drive, and gives me a treat to sip on for the rest of my drive! If this isn’t an option for you, brew yourself a to-go cup of your favorite coffee at home!
5. Audio Books
Have some reading for homework? Been dying to read a particular book but can never seem to find the time? Stay productive and get it done on your commute! Check out Audible or Google Play for tons of audiobook options! They even have textbooks if you need to squeeze in some last-minute readings for homework! One of my favorite books to listen to while I’m on the move is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero! It’s totally motivating and definitely worth a listen!
6. Goal Setting
On my way into the city, I’ll usually take a few moments to pause and think about my intentions for the day. This isn’t necessarily a big to-do list. It’s simply two or three things that I know I can accomplish for that day. I get clear on what those things are, then set the thought aside until I get to school.
Because I’m a graduate student, one could say that finances are rather limited and stopping for food just isn’t always an option. Bringing a couple of healthy snacks saves me both money and time, and keeps my tummy satisfied on my travels. One less thing to worry about!
8. Make The Car A “Safe Space”
What I mean by this is, make the car a personal space for you. I actually have crystals in my car as well as essential oil room spritz. Because I’m in my car so much, I’ve decided to make it a more individualized space with just a few special touches. One thing I like to do is spray a little energizing room spritz for my morning commute to school, and then spritz a little calming lavender for my commute back home! Personally, the Zum Mist products by Indigo Wild do the trick!
This seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. I’ll be honest, sometimes I avoid hydration for the fear of having to pull over and find a place to pee a thousand and one times. BUT water is your friend! Have it and hand. You never know when traffic is going to sneak up on you and, let me tell you, there is nothing like the discomfort of sitting in traffic with a dry mouth and nothing to quench your thirst (trust me). If you’re truly concerned about having to stop so many times to use the restroom, it may be helpful to have something thirst-quenching on hand such as gum or jolly ranchers!
10. Comfort Is Key
Remember, you’re probably making a round-trip so you can expect to be commuting from the city as well. Having a spare pair of comfy clothes and comfy shoes can make a world of a difference for your return home. After six hours of classes, it feels good to come back to my car and throw on a sweatshirt or sweatpants. You might even pack a little pillow for your low back. This helps me out with my posture and low back pain. Just don’t get too cozy! Eyes on the road!
Keep in mind that your commute does not have to be a boring and painful experience. Look at it as more of an opportunity to learn, gain new insights, set intentions, and simply BE with yourself! Time truly is limited so use it wisely!