Unnatural Necessity: Making the Daily Commute Delightful!

Delightful Commuting? Okay, that may always be a bit of stretch but there are ways to make the daily crawl better. Trust me, I’m an expert! I’ve been driving on average three hours a day, five days a week for two years and 10 months. The first year really sucked but I have learned a few tips and tricks that I will now pass onto you.

Tip #1: Be prepared

Shit happens sometimes. When you have over 30 miles to cover each way like I do, you’re going to be late from time to time. I live on an island. So, when there’s an accident (or two or three) you just sit at a total standstill for a half hour, utterly trapped. However, if you’re already running late when you encounter a mess like that… you’re going to be massively late and you don’t want that to happen. So, make sure you are out the door in enough time to reasonably make it to work.

Tip #2: Get as much as you can done before you leave

This is something I just learned recently. The morning is when you will have the most energy. If you are like me and spend easily half the day at work or going to and from it, you’re going to be tired at night. I usually come home, shower, eat dinner, relax a little and go to sleep. Exercise is not going to happen at night for me. I would also recommend that you do something every day that makes you happy before you leave. So, you’ll have something to smile about on your way to work.

Tip #3 Make your nose happy

I am a fan of aromatherapy. I have an arsenal of essential oils that I use daily on me, around me and sometimes in me. I diffuse scent in my car as well as my home. You can too. All it takes is a little diffuser that you can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter socket. I can change the scent in the car to suit my mood (or improve it.) Stuck in traffic, I might go with lavender. If I feel sluggish, I might reach for grapefruit or peppermint. Peppermint, by the way, is really great for motion sickness!

Tip #4 Make your ears happy

I used to listen to news throughout my whole commute. Big mistake! I often felt crabby and irritable or sad by the time I got to work, about all the miserable things being reported that I felt helpless to change. Now, I mostly listen to audiobooks. A long commute is a great time to indulge in your favorite genre, finally “read” the classics you never seem to get to or take time for self-improvement. Of course, there is always music. Just make sure you’re paying attention and not playing a big air guitar or dashboard drum solo!

Tip#5 Stretch when you get out of the car

When you are stuck, seated, in your car for a long time, you tend to want to jump out of the car and run into your destination. Try slowly making your way out of your vehicle. Stretch your legs and rotate your feet before standing. Then stretch your arms overhead, shifting your weight to both sides and stretching up from center. Rotate your shoulders. Twist from side to side. Have you ever noticed your dog or cat doing this when they have been curled up for a while? It’s natural for them. Try it. You’ll like it!

Tip #6 Change up your route from time to time

Familiarity breeds contempt. Taking the same route five days a week, every week, year after year, can feel relentless, repetitive… boring! Change it up sometimes. Every once in a while, I’ll go a little out of my way and drive home along the water. Seeing the water always makes me happy. Instead of stopping for gas when you get home, pull off the parkway where the traffic backs up and get it early. You’ll get a little break and ensure you won’t leave it off until tomorrow because you were too tired when you got home. Also, it’s good for your brain! (More on this in another post.)

I hope you found some of these tips helpful. What do you do to make your commute bearable? Please leave a reply in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!

Blessings to all,

 

Cynthia

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6 thoughts on “Unnatural Necessity: Making the Daily Commute Delightful!

  1. Andrea

    These are fantastic tips! As a former commuter, I can wholeheartedly second turning off the news. Using that time to listen to things that made me smile, or think, or sing along made a huge difference in my mood. Aromatherapy was something I never thought of but wish I had! What a great addition to the commuter’s arsenal. I would also add finding a way to surrender to it. If you were on a train, it would simply take as long as it took and you would have very little control over it. I used to look at my drive the same way and my stress level – my worry about trying to get there “faster” – went way down.

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