If you are lucky enough to have a job that you love but unlucky enough to have a long commute then you and I are in the same boat… or, should I say, car. Each morning I wake up and travel a little more than an hour to the Medifast corporate offices just outside of Baltimore and then turn around after a long day of work to drive another hour home. After doing this for the past 6 years I have come up with a few ways to make my commute healthier and a better use of my time. Here are my 3 tips so you can do the same:
- Carpool – sharing the commute with a coworker or anyone else heading the same way you are can have numerous benefits. The most obvious being that it saves some money and wear and tear on your car which in the long run might mean less stress for you. Next, it’s better for the environment and reduces your carbon footprint. And finally, something that may not be as obvious, is the benefit of social interaction. You and your carpool mates can talk, share stories, vent about a difficult day, or laugh and tell jokes. All of which can do wonders for your mental health.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts – expand your mind, learn something new, or get engaged in a good story. There are tons of listening options out there, in fact, so many that it can be overwhelming. Therefore, I am going to provide a few suggestions of my favorite audiobooks and podcasts for you to check out:
- The Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale – I doubt there is anyone left that hasn’t at least heard of this book series but have you heard it read by Jim Dale? If not, then I highly recommend you check it out as his narration, character voices, and emotional range makes you feel as though you are actually at Hogwarts.
- If podcasts are more your thing, then here’s a few that I listen to depending on my mood. If I need a good laugh, then I listen to How Did This Get Made? Which mocks and deconstructs really bad films. If I need some inspiration, then I listen to The Nerdist because host Chris Hardwick has an incredible ability to get his celebrity guests to emotionally discuss their trials and triumphs. Finally, if I’m looking for some motivation then I listen to The Art of Manliness (which isn’t just for guys!). Host Brett McKay has in-depth discussions with truly incredible and successful individuals learning their secrets on how to be the best person you can be.
- Meditate – no, I don’t mean close your eyes! Not a good idea if you’re driving. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice awareness and mindfulness on your commute. Utilize those times that you’re stopped at a light or stuck in traffic to let your awareness connect with your breathing and to pay attention to your surroundings. Instead of focusing on how awful the traffic is, pay attention to how beautiful the sky looks or the interesting grove of trees on the side of the road you never noticed before. Don’t let your mind be overcome by road rage but let your mind become fully engaged in awareness.
Give some of these tips a try during your next commute and turn those wasted hours into time spent on improving your health!