Your daily commute doesn't have to be a waste of time – you can use it to boost your mental and physical well-being. Check out these five ideas that can turn your commute into valuable personal time. You might even end up looking forward to it!
1. Sneak in some exercise
We've all heard the slogan "sitting is the new smoking", yet many commuters spend too little time on their feet. If you go from sitting on the bus or train to sitting at your desk for hours, it's numbing down both your body and your mind. Fortunately, there's an easy fix – just get off a stop or two earlier and walk for the rest of the way.
If you're used to thinking of yourself as "not a morning person", you might be surprised at how refreshing a brisk walk between leaving the house and arriving at work can be. Moderate exercise increases blood circulation, which in turn sharpens your mind in preparation for the working day. You can also discover new things around your workplace that you'd never come across if you’ve always stayed on until the very last stop.
2. Explore new music
The commute is a great time to discover new artists or releases you've missed from old favourites. All you need is an internet connection and decent headphones (preferably with some noise canceling, so you don't run into conflict with the outside world!). Many streaming services now use algorithms that save you the trouble of finding songs that hit the spot. Or if you're a more old-school person, you can always dig out that old Walkman or iPod and enjoy some offline time with your favourites.
Meditation is true "me time" – make sure you're prepared for the day ahead by giving yourself time to breathe and just be. Don't stress, don't overthink it, try not to think at all. Look at the scenery, if you're lucky enough to have views on your commute, or just close your eyes and focus on how you're feeling.
4. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
If you're more the type for external stimulus, podcasts and audiobooks are a perfect commuting companion. Whether you want education, entertainment, or both at the same time, there's a wealth of content available online. Rediscover your favourite novel in audio format, listen to a witty commentary on the latest news, or learn a new language – this way your commute time will fly by!
5. Minimise fuss with a practical wallet
There's a lot of stuff you need to carry with you when commuting: keys, ID, credit cards, maybe cash. Paying for tickets, getting some lunch, grabbing a quick coffee at the station.. There's a lot of room for awkward fussing about when you're holding your phone in one hand, your wallet in the other, paying for the coffee and putting your wallet back in your pocket..
A practical wallet can be surprisingly useful – it's the kind of thing that you don't think you need but that can actually change your life (or at least your commute!). A company called RFID Cloaked is about to make this a reality by launching a Kickstarter campaign. Right now, they're also offering a 75% discount on card protectors just to follow it. If the combination of less stress and more convenience on your commute sounds good to you, what are you waiting for?
Do you have any great tips you could share that would help other commuters?