Of all the things that bring us stress and anxiety throughout the day – heavy workloads, financial strains, etc. – your daily commute shouldn’t be as frustrating as the day itself. In fact, when you think about it, it’s the only time each day we’re free to not do anything.
On average, a US commuter spends about 50 minutes in their car each day, and that means plenty of time for improvement. Stress less and make the most of your commute with these five quick tips for a happier commute.
- Consider carpooling
Sharing rides aren’t for everyone, but it’s definitely an option worth considering – especially since it’s better for the environment, too! Car-sharing can reduce stress, both in terms of “giving up” control and regarding the social interaction that occurs during your ride.
- Learn something new
On the other hand, if you’re more of an introvert (or, at least in the morning), a quieter, solo commute might be more your style. In that case, listen to an audiobook or download a podcast. Turning that dreaded daily gridlock into an opportunity is a great way to tune out the daily stressors around you and feel inspired once you reach your destination.
- Avoid stop-and-go traffic
For most people, no traffic is more stressful than that stop-and-go on crowded roads. To make your commute more enjoyable, try taking the more scenic route. While it may take a little longer than your normal route, a smoother drive is bound to be a less stressful one.
- Leave 10 minutes earlier in the morning
If you feel like you’re going to be late, you tend to drive faster and more recklessly. But, if you add that extra time to cushion your drive, you’ll arrive much happier. Some of our biggest stressors are ‘timing’ and ‘urgency’ – once you remove those from your morning routine, the better you’ll feel.
- Be prepared
We’ve all experienced those commutes where even the slightest change in weather has its effect on traffic conditions. With all the hustle and bustle in the morning, it’s easy to forget to check the weather before you leave, and by then it’s already too late. Check the forecast the night before, and stay alert for traffic reports and other information on unexpected delays before your commute. You’ll be less likely to be blindsided by road conditions or other stressful, unexpected hold-ups.