By Jeremy Newcombe
An old proverb states, “The journey is the reward.” Now, it stands to reason that whoever first said that was probably not talking about their morning commute, but we can still stand to learn quite a bit from their philosophy (even when taken literally). Commuting, however you choose to do it, can have a large impact on your day. The lengths you go to get to and from your office can really affect your mood, work habits, and even your health. The key to making commuting easy and maybe even enjoyable lies in knowing your own limitations and adjusting how you move about accordingly.
I’ll use myself as an example. I don’t like to drive in the city. I’m generally a calm person, but for some reason nothing can drive me into a raging frenzy faster than being stuck in crawling rush hour traffic. Avoiding rush hour was one of the main reasons I bought a bike, and it became my favorite way to get around the city as a result. Riding my bike calms me down, gives me exercise, and lets me get out in the fresh air. I even like it when it’s raining. Now, I’m not saying bikes are the perfect solution for everyone, but I knew I didn’t like driving and saw it as a great alternative. It worked great for me.
Other people might prefer transit. A friend of mine actually enjoys taking the train because, as he describes, what would otherwise be wasted time behind the wheel (time where he’s solely concentrated on driving) he can now spend reading, talking, or simply thinking about other things. He can be productive or simply relax or both. It also saved him a lot of cash.
If you do have to drive—or hey, maybe you like driving—know what will minimize the stress of commuting. Nobody likes rush hour, so try to get to work early and take off a bit early if you can, in order to beat the rush. Alternatively, organize a carpool where you trade off driver’s responsibilities. At the very least you can take the carpool lane.
Spending a little time examining how you get to work can save you a lot of stress and have a really positive impact on your mood and your health. If you’ve been simply blocking your commute out of your mind so as not to deal with it, it might be worth your while to give it a second look.