3 Ways to Make the Best of a Terrible Commute

I’m about to leave behind a luxurious commute (an 18-minute walk or seven-minute bike ride) for a new job with a one-hour, three-bus commute. Armed with the knowledge that your commute can have an immense effect on your happiness, I’m determined to face this challenge head on. If you’re dealing with a lengthy commute like me, here are three ways to make the best of it.

Photo Credit: Simon Forsyth / Flickr

A Levo League post offers up some tips like listening to music or audiobooks, sleeping, and even blogging! Here are some other ideas.

1. Exercise your brain. Load up your device with some top-rated podcasts like RadioLab or 99% Invisible or put your brain to the test with fun word games, puzzles, and trivia with NPR’s Ask Me Another podcast. If you ride the bus, you can even begin learning a new language with the Duolingo app or take up a new hobby like knitting.

2. Make human contact. Part of the reason that long commutes are so miserable is that it deprives you from positive social interactions and, as the Levo League post points out, can even add to the likelihood that your relationship will end. Try carpooling with a coworker, or strike up a conversation with someone you see regularly on the bus. You could even use the time to call someone in your family as long as that won’t stress you out more.

3. Stay positive. Make a mental list of the things you are grateful for at the end of each day. When you make being grateful an intentional action, it can have a positive effect on your outlook. At the very least, you can always keep in mind the people who have a more unpleasant commute than you do!   

If you’re feeling horrible about your commute, change it up! Try out different methods of commuting and new activities during the commute to find out what works for you. It’s your commute, so if you can’t shorten it, make it yours and make it worthwhile.

Visit the PayScale Research Center to find information on average commute by city, industry, and even gender.

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