Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.
As a student living in the city of London, several hours of my day are consumed by using public transport services to commute to and from class. Initially, I used to pass the time by watching T.V. shows or playing games on my phone. But, this time can be invaluable if spent in specific ways. Your commutes can set the tone for how productive you are in the subsequent hours. Moreover, you can use this time to accomplish things that you might not be able to allocate time for in the other hours of your day.
So, below are thirty ways to incorporate self-care into your commute so that you can feel relaxed, refreshed and ready for what the day has to bring:
Contact someone that you have not interacted with in a while and ask them about updates in their life.
By planning your day during your commute, you can be more productive as you have taken the guesswork out of determining the most critical tasks.
Reinforce positive statements about you using repetitions, and this can help you to feel more confident and comfortable about who you are.
Through documenting your thoughts and emotions, you can track any patterns of behaviour and feelings based on particular aspects of that day.
There are a plethora of different genres of books to choose from, select a book that interests you and try to complete at least half of the book.
Relax and tone your face/hand muscles on the go to start the day feeling refreshed.
Languages can unlock opportunities, so by learning a language, you can open the door to new holiday destinations and career possibilities.
You can then reflect on this list at times when you need to feel uplifted, motivated or inspired.
There are many e-learning platforms which are affordable and support offline access, so take advantage of the time you have and pick up a new skill, whether it is technical or creative.
Meditation is known to reduce stress and provide more clarity of thought, which is needed for the work of any and every commuter.
There are many people on your commute who experience no human interaction throughout the whole day so by smiling and striking a conversation with them, both of you feel more positive, and they know that someone has acknowledged their existence.
Whether it is a short story, novel or a poem, write based on your thoughts and feelings. If you want to take it one step further, submit your work to a creating writing outlet or a competition and see how it goes.
When you take the time to analyse and process your thoughts, you can filter through and focus the roots of your negative thoughts.
Be spontaneous and use a different mode of transportation or take a different route to work. This will break the process of the mundane commute and encourage you to think on your feet.
While it can be gratifying to have a seat during your commute, you shouldn’t forget that there people who can struggle to stand in a moving vehicle. Please give your seat to an elder, pregnant woman, someone with difficulty walking or who has a “Please offer me a seat” badge. You can feel happy knowing that you have helped to make someone else’s commute more endurable.
Make the most of nature, fresh air and natural light by incorporating more walking or cycling into your commute.
Some podcasts are designed to challenge your perception of the world or of your life. These podcasts may help you to decipher what is truly important to you and what is white noise.
Blogging doesn’t just have to be about making a career, it can also be an outlet for your passions and another side of you which people are less likely to witness during a working day. Even if you don’t have access to the internet during your commute, you can hand-write or type the post offline then edit and upload it when you have an internet connection.
It’s easy to take the things you have for granted, but during your commute, make this list. Then, refer to this list when you feel that the odds are stacked up against you and life is becoming harder.
Practice mindful breathing and experience the benefits that it can have on your stress levels and brain functionality.
Write this letter and if it is addressed to your older self then determine when in the future, you want to open it. Alternatively, if it is addressed to your younger self, then you could give the letter to a younger person who you feel could benefit from the message.
Help a parent to carry a pram up or down a flight of stairs or if you notice that someone is unsure how to reach their destination, offer to give them some assistance.
Based on your mood at the time, create a playlist of music that appeals to you so that the next time you are in this situation, you have some fitting music to listen to.
It’s essential to recognise your accomplishments regardless of size, so make this list and take pride in what you have been able to achieve.
Random acts of kindness don’t need to be grand gestures. They could be as simple as giving a thank you card to a bus driver, giving a snack to a homeless person or offering to pay for someone’s train fare.
Art stationary and apps are relatively affordable nowadays, and there is a wide variety of designs and mediums to choose from.
The business whose product/service has helped you also deserves some positive energy to come their way. As a happy customer, you can strengthen the notion that their business has helped people.
While you can’t cook or prepare meals on your commute, you can buy a few recipe magazines or install a recipe app then bookmark the recipes of dishes which tickle your tastebuds. Break free from the set routine you have built, be more adventurous and try a new dish.
If you feel that a particular person or company is exhibiting negative energy, you are under no commitment to read their negative content. As a result, if you don’t feel comfortable unfollowing them, you can simply mute their posts.
Assign each task to one day in the week to accomplish. The sooner that those tasks are completed, the sooner you will feel a sense of accomplishment and feel lighter because those tasks are no longer weighing you down.
Depending on the mode of transportation used on your commute, not all of the ideas above are feasible. But there is something for everyone, so try to see which of the activities you can attempt during your commute and feel free to share more ideas or tips in the comments below.
Subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.
More on Mental Health on Campus: