Tips to Make Your Daily Commute Less Stressful

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2017.

The majority of the American workforce drives to work using personal vehicles. Public transportation, bicycling, and telecommuting have grown in popularity in recent years, but commuting in a personal vehicle is still the preferred method for getting to work in the United States. The daily commute can be stressful, especially in busy metropolitan areas. Cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles have some of the highest average commute times in the country – often more than 30 minutes one way.

Many people dread the daily trek to work, but you can take some steps to make your own commute less stressful. The following tips can help make your commute more enjoyable. A few tweaks to your routine could turn your commute into valuable time for decompression, relaxation, or even personal and professional development.

1. Always Play it Safe

Commuting can be stressful, but it is crucial you never take your frustrations out on the road or other drivers. Aggressive driving is never safe, and your stressful commute could turn life-threatening in seconds. Even if traffic has you flustered, always try to drive defensively and pay close attention to the traffic around you. Commuting time, or “rush hour,” is generally stressful for everyone, so keep your temper in check and don’t engage aggressive drivers.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Rushing inherently causes stress. If you find yourself scrambling to get to your office on time, you may want to try leaving 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual. Getting out the door a bit early may mean an easier traffic pattern. You may have an easier drive, and feeling less pressured about the time will help make your commute less stressful.

3. Keep Your Mind Active

If all you have to occupy your thoughts are the taillights in front of you and the sounds of the road around you, stress can easily build behind the wheel. While you need to stay vigilant of changes on the road around you, having some form of entertainment in the car is a great way to decompress and have some enjoyable “me-time” on the way to or from work. Create a playlist for your car, or listen to an audio book. Always make sure never to fiddle with your car stereo or devices while your vehicle is moving.

4. Learn a New Skill

There are fantastic language-learning tools on CD and downloadable formats you can listen to in the car, so you can turn your commute into a daily lesson in a new language. You also could listen to a thought leader’s podcast, or news about your industry or niche. Countless professionals have shared their work with others as learning tools, so see what you can find that could help advance your career. 

5. Brainstorm

Today’s business world is extremely competitive and fast-paced, and it’s always a good idea for modern professionals to be thinking about the future. You can use your commuting time to think of new approaches to problems, or new ideas to bring up at your next meeting. Sometimes thinking about a problem in a new setting can change your perspective, so brainstorming outside the office can be a refreshing change of pace and help take your mind off the stresses of your commute.

6. Get Ready Early

Take the time before going to bed to prepare for your next day at work. Have your lunch ready to go, organize your clothes, and make sure everything you need for work is ready to grab and go. A few extra minutes of preparation before bed can help overcome the usual morning grogginess and save you time. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, grab your stuff, and head to work.

Hopefully these tips will help make your commute more bearable.