Long commutes are an unfortunate reality for many of us. 17% of Americans commute upwards of 45 minutes just one way, up more than 5% since 1980.
Personally, my commute is about 45-60 minutes depending on traffic, which can be up to ten extra hours of time that I’m away from my household/family. It can be exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be totally miserable. Here are some tips for surviving the long commute that I’ve utilized over the years.
I commute by car, so some of these tips are geared toward car travel, but most will apply to any mode of transportation.
How I Survive My Hour Commute to Work
#1 – Prepare playlists, podcasts, and/or audiobooks beforehand.
One of my favorite things to do on my commute is jam out to music. I have a few different playlists for different moods that I’m in, and I also have a couple of podcasts I like if I’m feeling like it’s too early for music.
It helps a lot because it gives me something different to focus on, instead of thinking to myself about how much driving sucks. Plus, having a jam session in my car tends to boost my mood!
#2 – Take the time to brainstorm.
As a blogger, I like to use my commute to think about my content creation. Usually when I’m at work it’s difficult for me to take some time for myself and my own thoughts, because I’m so consumed with my tasks. But in my car, I can focus on myself and my plans.
#3 – Take alternate routes.
Occasionally, I’ll take a different route to work so I don’t get tired of seeing the same landmarks and trees every day. The routes I take aren’t drastically different, but they’re different enough to keep the drive from getting too stale.
#4 – Wear comfortable shoes.
I do NOT wear work-appropriate shoes for driving! I like to wear flip-flops or gym shoes when I drive and then change my shoes before and after work. It makes my feet much happier!
#5 – Stay hydrated.
Make sure you have your beverage of choice on hand so you don’t feel like you’re dying of thirst for the entire commute. I usually opt for water but sometimes (okay… often) choose the comfort of coffee.
#6 – Keep up with your car maintenance.
If you commute by car, keep up with your oil changes, tire rotations, brakes, etc. Those long commutes are not good for our cars, so staying on top of maintenance can help you avoid unexpected car troubles.
#7 – Check in with yourself often.
Even if you’re happy with your job, you should still consider the possibility that your commute could be negatively impacting your physical and mental health. People who have long commutes more likely to have high blood pressure, get less sleep, don’t exercise frequently, and are more prone to anxiety and depression.
Some commutes are more stressful than others; my grandfather’s doctor actually advised him to leave his job because the commute became too stressful for his heart. Commuting by car tends to be more stressful than by bus or by metro.
Even if you enjoy driving, the grind of your commute can still weigh you down. Be careful you aren’t compromising your health for the sake of your job. And if you are, I suggest that you find another job as soon as possible.
How long is your commute, and how do you handle it?
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Featured Photo by purzlbaum on Unsplash.