TREAT YOUR DAILY COMMUTE THE WAY IT DESERVES: A TIME TO SHAPE YOUR DAY (AND LIFE) FOR THE BETTER.
The daily commute might just be one of the most mundane, stressful times of day. That said, we have a choice. We can choose to act selfishly, be impatient, and give into frustration, or not. We can view our commute as wasted time, or shift our perspective and designate those minutes (or hours) for productivity and positivity.
Today, what will you choose?
I would love to tell you there’s one true magical way to solve your commuting woes. But truth be told, learning how to enjoy your commute is a journey in itself. It takes practice.
Living outside of (and commuting into) one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, I know from experience. In days past, I’ve been blessed with a 2-minute drive. I’ve also been known to helplessly watch the minutes escape me in a tedious 60-minute (or longer) commute, wondering why two precious hours were taken from me that day.
Even though every trip presents a challenge or two, I’ve found ways to transform my daily commute into a time of contentment, preparation, and gratitude to achieve a healthy mindset and positive attitude.
Remember, safety first! Don’t put yourself or others at risk. Your main objective is to stay focused and arrive at your destination, so skip anything that compromises this goal.
Plan your weekend. Think ahead to what you need (and want) to accomplish over the upcoming weekend. Make a mental itinerary so that you’re most productive when Friday evening arrives.
Be considerate. Remind yourself that you can make a difference in the world—show kindness on the road when others fail to. Fighting traffic is no fun, but it’s the perfect opportunity to love others, putting them (and you) a tad more at ease.
Prepare for your workday. Dedicate this time to work when needed. Turn your commute into a productive brainstorming session or gather your thoughts for an upcoming meeting.
Play your favorite songs. Tune into your favorite station or create a playlist specifically for when you’re on the road. Choose upbeat songs that lift you up and generate happiness.
Wave. If someone lets you merge, show appreciation with a wave. You’ll both feel better.
Listen to a podcast. Prep the night before by planning out and downloading the episode you’ll listen to. Choose something outside your norm to learn new things and spice up your routine.
Roll your windows down. On those beautifully crisp days, roll your windows down a smidge to enjoy the fresh air and experience a touch of nature.
Cool your jets. Zipping along 10+ mph over the speed limit can contribute to hazardous roadways and potentially spark avoidable road rage. Instead, travel the speed limit to reduce stress and tension. Most likely, you’ll arrive at your destination at the same time regardless.
Mentally prepare yourself. Be mindful of the idea that anything can happen once you pop in the driver’s seat. The more you’re mentally prepared for any situation, the better you’ll be able to react intentionally and positively.
Pray. Spend these moments in prayer. Talk to Him about your upcoming day, family, and struggles. Praise and thank Him!
Breathe. Not just for your morning or nighttime routines (or when your blood pressure is through the roof), deep breathing exercises can be incorporated any time of day and only require a few minutes, which even makes it a perfect practice for those of you with a shorter commute.
Keep mints on hand. Freshen your breath and your mood with some minty goodness. Once on the road after a long workday, consider it a job well done treat. An instant pick me up!
Enjoy the quiet. Whether your commute is five or 50 minutes, make it a time to gather your thoughts and break away from the noise and distractions that have become a part of everyday life.
Prepare a yummy beverage. Water is my number one commuting beverage (and helps me to reach my daily water goal), but bring along what you enjoy most. Iced or hot tea, kombucha, sparkling water. Perhaps hot chocolate for those cold winter mornings. Or indulge a little—try making your own coffee creamer to accompany your favorite roast.
Keep an open mind. Every person behind the wheel has a story complete with their share of struggles. Next time you see something less than ideal from a fellow commuter, give them the benefit of the doubt—there’s a chance they’re an excellent driver otherwise.
Take in the scenery. There’s much to see along our route, but it’s so easy to dismiss that beauty before us. Rather than continually overlooking the miracle of nature, embrace and appreciate it. Glance at the sunrise, rolling hills, trees, spring flowers. You get the picture!
Put your phone away. Aside from the fact that it’s a dangerous distraction (and possibly illegal in your city to handle while driving), tucking your phone away helps you to fully be in the moment and more conscious of your thoughts and actions on the road.
Sing it. Whenever I’m enjoying a particularly wonderful morning, I can’t help but sing out the lyrics to “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” Corny? Perhaps. But it always puts me in a good place. Sing whatever your heart desires.
Give your car a makeover. Tidy up the interior of your car. Throw away old receipts and put away loose change. Give your console a good wipe down. (My go-to cleaning product? Armor All.)
Be patient. Practicing patience can undoubtedly create a more calming commute. It’s a strength that will serve you well in all aspects of life as you’ll gain more self-control, benefit from improved mental health, and ultimately enjoy a more positive outlook on life.
Tell me, how do you love to spend your commute? What activities do you find most valuable and how do you maintain a positive mindset?