Your daily commute to work might have been reduced to a short trip downstairs during lockdown, but with workplaces opening up again across the country, many of us are facing the prospect of hitting the roads again on a daily basis.
While socialising and other elements of human interaction might have many of us excited to be going back to work, getting to and from there maybe doesn’t hold the same lustre.
Indeed, a study by the University of the West of England found that “every extra minute of commute time reduces job satisfaction, reduces leisure time satisfaction, increases strain and reduces mental health” – yikes.
But it doesn’t have to be that way – here we’ll try and offer some handy hints and tips on how you can enjoy your commute!
Make the perfect playlist
Although it might be a while, you should know roughly how long you spend travelling to and from work every day. A study by the TUC revealed the average time spent commuting each day by Brits is 59 minutes.
If you’re spending that time on your own, why not make the perfect companion and build the ideal playlist for your journey.
Pack it full of your all-time favourites and new grooves – try and time it just right so that a song you find uplifting is playing as you reach work. It’ll have you skipping through the car park and ready to attack the day.
You could also go down the scientific route. The ‘Mozart effect’ has long hung around the back of new parents’ minds – maybe playing classical music to your infant can turn them into a super genius!
Even if you’re not going to use the power of music to boost your brain’s potential, more soothing tones of mellow music may help keep the road rage at bay and deliver you to work in a better and calmer frame of mind.
When using public transport, the temptation to scroll through social media or work emails is generally too strong for us to resist.
This also applies for tips for commuting to work by car – although we should be focusing on the ‘road, of course! According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) ‘There has been much attention on driver distraction due to the use of mobile phones in vehicles, but increasingly research is also revealing the dangers of other forms of driver multi-tasking, and its contribution to road accidents.’
How many work calls do you try and squeeze in on the road while worrying about how to make the most of your commute? By doing this you’re in effect extending your working day and potentially bringing more stress upon yourself.
Turning off your phone will give you the chance to clear your own thoughts before getting to work or arriving home and might help you find an answer you’ve been looking for.
Once the distractions are out of the way, you can really start to focus on you.
Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you light some candles and scatter them on your dashboard before chanting “ohm” all the way to work. That would be dangerous!
But driving and mindfulness are probably better bedfellows than you might imagine.
Although slipping into a deep session of meditation is never wise, experts Headspace offer several elements of the practice that can be applied when commuting to work by car.
Noting your passing environment and its changes over time, analysing how your body changes as the road conditions change and more can help you get connected before tackling a big day.
Keep a treat at the other end
Sometimes we just need a bit of bribery to get us through things. The pudding your eight-year-old gets after eating some vegetables, or buying your mum some flowers for driving you to that heavy metal concert and sitting outside for two hours before driving you back.
Whether it’s a freshly brewed coffee upon arrival at work, or a special snack after getting home, having something you really want at the other end can help to distract your mind from any stresses that are encountered on the way.
Get the right car
Perhaps the best way to guarantee a stress-free journey is to find the best equipment for the job.
Travelling in comfort and among the latest technology can help you make the journey safely as well as giving you more things to enjoy on the way.
The latest episode of your favourite podcast, climate control to fight off that muggy evening, or heated seats to warm you on those bitter winter mornings – upgrading your car will instantly upgrade your commute.
Why not look into an electric car for your future commutes? You’ll save money, as well as protect the environment – which can only be a mood-booster!
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