Long commutes can be such a pain. Too much time in a car (or bus or train or subway) will test your patience and sanity and make you question your faith in humanity on a daily basis. But there are ways to make them feel more luxurious and less like a headache you can't get rid of.
1. Choose your music wisely
Listening to classical music has been associated with reducing stress, promoting relaxation and lowering blood pressure. So it's not the worst idea to save your Katy Perry and Lady Gaga jams for less stressful moments and switch to classical tunes for your work commute. To boot, you'll be less likely to burn out on big hits (they are overplayed after all, right?)
2. Take it to the car wash — regularly
Though messy areas have been associated with higher creativity, they're also associated with more frustration. Keep your car clean and avoid accumulating garbage. If you feel like your surroundings are clutter-free, your mind is also likely to be clutter-free. It's the same reason we take hikes in nature to detach. It's why a bath with candles and dim lights is calming and why sitting on the beach and listening to the ocean is therapeutic — because our environments influence our moods.
3. Keep comfy shoes on hand
Ever seen public transit commuters in NYC wear flats or tennis shoes and carry their heels? Most people don't want to trek through city streets and subway stairs in heels. Take a page from their book and keep comfortable shoes in your car. If you have to be in your car for a while, might as well be in shoes that make you feel more relaxed. This will especially come in handy after work when you want nothing to do with your dress shoes for another hour on your way home.
4. Drive the back roads
Some people need to spice up their love life; you may need to spice up your commute. While it may actually add a little time to your trip, sacrificing 10 extra minutes to take the more scenic route can make your routine feel more like an adventure. Who wants to see the exact same thing every single day anyway? Take it a step further by finding a small local coffee shop or breakfast joint to stop at on your way. It can be your little secret.
5. Stretch & meditate
Before you hit the road, meditate for a few minutes. It can reduce your stress, but it can also allow you to pick a mantra for the drive and reset your mood. Similarly, stretch breaks will invigorate you before your long haul home, and it's a great way to get less stiff throughout the day. The more comfortable you are in general, the more comfortable your car ride.
Maybe don't pick the book about the axe murderer, but audio books are a great way to pass the time and to check some books off your personal reading list. The sounds of certain narrators can also be calming, so if you need a break from NPR, this is a good alternative.
Tell us: What are your commuting secrets?
This post was sponsored by Buick.