Work! As if it’s not bad enough that we’re expected to check in with the office for nine hours of grind each day, many of us are compelled to trudge through bad traffic, worse weather and crowds of other miserable commuters just to get there. It’s no wonder that by the time we reach the workplace, we already feel stressed or tired – and find ourselves watching the clock tick by until we can complete the whole process in reverse on the way home.
With journeys of over twenty minutes shown to increase the risk of burnout, it pays off in both our professional and our personal lives to take counter-measures against the agonies of the daily commute. Around 1.2m commuters have used guided meditation apps like Headspace to zen out on their ride in, though it’s important to maintain a certain level of alertness when you’re actually in control of the vehicle. Try breathing exercises and body awareness – keeping the shoulders rolled back and the chest open – to reset your system and keep things in perspective.
A whopping 76% of commuters travel by car, despite studies showing that this is the most stressful form of transport, while only 3% of us opt for the traffic-busting option of cycling – which also keeps the mind and body in a healthier condition. But if you’re not ready to swap four wheels for two just yet, you can at least recalibrate the manner in which you drive: one in five of us reckon other commuters to be the biggest cause of stress, but we are all ‘other commuters’, so driving considerately and showing gratitude to others is a basic way to get a bit of good will circulating. Switch off your connected devices, make peace with the amount of time you’re inevitably going to spend at the wheel, and live in the moment.
For more great tips on how to make the most of a tough commute, check out this great new infographic that explores some of the research above and offers some realistic solutions. Once you’ve taken control of the morning commute, you’re halfway to winning your working day.