7 Ways to Re-Think Your Work Commute

We all have the same goal when it comes to going to work: get there on time. There’s so much happening in the morning that the commute to work can be the most stressful part of your morning. In fact, depending on distance and your type of commute, most people will feel significant stress or anxiety over their daily work commute, whether it’s early in the morning or coming home for dinner time. So what are some changes you can make this week to relieve that stress?

1. Travel Alternatively

Many circumstances prevent someone from commuting to work other than the long drive in the car, but if the distance isn’t too unbearable, or there’s reliable public transportation or a co-worker nearby, why not try something new. Biking and walking are good for your health in many different ways. Having accomplished an early morning physical activity makes you feel good about yourself and your levels of productivity will sky rocket. Exercise is the perfect way to cope with the stress and anxieties you may feel about getting to work or even starting your day--and endorphins don’t lie. Even public transportation requires a little exercise, moving and changing about. If you’re a business owner, why not encourage this behavior with your employees by creating a chart to track your employees’ commutes and reward alternative methods of transportation with incentives.

2. Be a Chatty Cathy

Carpooling can be an excellent option, especially if you’re extroverted and re-charge your energy levels by being around other people. You save gas and money, help out the environment a little more, and bond with a co-worker before you start your day. This is an excellent opportunity to become closer friends with a co-worker, which in turn makes you feel good and ready to start the day. It’s a more personal interaction that makes you feel more connected and included in the workplace, even if it’s just with one person. Social interaction is a very positive and necessary part of life that often gets neglected during the work day when people are heads down and enthralled in their work.

3. Vibe to Music

Music is a huge mood controller. Let it steer you in the right direction during your commute to work. While some prefer high-energy music to help wake them up, sometimes you should opt for more mellow or classical music. When you let your mind wander about everything you need to get done that work day, loud music can cloud your thoughts and make you feel overwhelmed. Think with a clear head on your way to work by listening to more relaxing types of music. Organizing your day in your head ahead of time will make you feel more confident on how you approach your work.

4. Keep Emergency Snacks

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term “hangry” (an anger one feels when hungry), but I know when I get stuck in traffic on a long drive back from work and it’s dinner time, my stress levels skyrocket because all I can think about is food. Keep a snack in your car or bring one from the office just to hold you over in case you’re stuck in traffic or waiting on public transportation. You’ll feel a lot less “hangry” while dealing with other people on the road or train.

5. Always Smell Good

Smells can be very calming and therapeutic. Think of the last time you entered a spa and the smells of lavender and eucalyptus instantly made you feel relaxed. When you’ve been at work all day, and maybe you even worked out during your lunch break--sometimes you just want to instantly go home and take a shower or change your clothes. When stuck with a long commute, try bringing oils, different sprays for your car, and a spare deodorant. This can significantly make a difference when using public transportation. All of the sweaty, smelly people packed in a small space can really stress someone out. Keep lavender or lemon oils, or any type of calming oil you choose, and put some on your clothes or wrist so you can take a whiff and deal with the hectic hustle and bustle with a comforted and clear head.

6. Meditate

I mentioned before how carpooling can be energizing for extroverts, and meditation can be energizing for introverts. If talking to people isn’t your thing or you just need a break from reality, I highly recommend meditation on your way to work. However, I would not recommend meditating while operating a vehicle, whether that be car, bicycle, etc., but if there is someone in charge of your transportation, or you can walk and meditate at the same time (skill level: master), put on your headphones and try starting a meditation program. It will help you clear your thoughts, leave you feeling refreshed and energized, and you’ll have a much more positive approach to your day. On the flipside, meditating on your way back from work can help you separate your work life from your personal life as you travel back.

7. Learn Something New

I, personally, love the opportunity to learn whenever I can. There’s something about learning something new that excites me--whether it be a small, trivial fact or important world news. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur, learning something new about business or a topic related to your specific business can be very beneficial. I know it feels like there are not enough hours in the day to sit down and learn something, but why not put your headphones in and listen to a podcast while you’re traveling to and from work anyways. It’ll get the gears in your brain oiled and turning before you step foot in the office, making you ready and capable of tackling tough problems. And hey, what a great water cooler conversation to have when you start sharing what you learned with fellow co-workers.

About the Author

Maddie Deming is a guest contributor for the AddShoppers Blog. With a background in Business Analysis and journalistic writing, Deming brings a unique perspective to the blog.