For 10 years my daily commute to and from work was a whopping 4 miles each way. That drastically changed when we recently bought a house 30 miles outside of the city where I work. I know for many folks that type of commute is the norm, but for me it turned what used to be 20 minutes in the car each day to nearly 2 hours.
Rather than fret over it too long, I decided that I had two options. I could either add finding a new job to my overflowing plate, or I could keep the job I love and make the most out of the situation. I opted for door number two.
Here are some things I have incorporated to make the most out of my commute:
1. Turn the Commute into a Classroom:
With all the amazing podcasts out there today, and the wonderful advent of books on tape, I look at the extra few hours a week in the car as an opportunity for enrichment. Whether it is a podcast on new marketing trends or the hot new bestselling novel, the time passes quicker and I feel smarter.
2. Catch Up on Current Events:
We are in quite an interesting, albeit polarizing, political time. It’s as if every day there is some alarming news. I believe in order to be a conscious, responsible citizen it is important to remain up-to-date with the events of our community, country, and world. And since we’ve switched to only streaming TV, my daily commute is a chance to catch up on current events.
3. Phone a Friend:
But sometimes I need a break from the headlines. When I turn the sound off, I use the time to catch up with family and friends. Social media has made it so it feels as if I already know what’s going on with everyone. Then before I know it months have gone by without speaking to some of my closest friends. The commute time offers a refreshing opportunity for the good old phone call catch up.
4. Meditate on the Go:
And when I really need the quiet — no radio, no talking, no distractions — I use the time to practice awareness. I mindfully, with eyes wide open and fully aware, concentrate on exactly what I am doing in this very moment. The feeling of fresh air blowing in the window, the colors of the trees passing by, the sound of my focused breaths — they are often things that I overlook. Commuting, especially in traffic when it’s easy to get frustrated and distracted, is a great time to challenge yourself to be present, patient, and aware.
5. Practice the Gratitude Attitude:
Above all, I am grateful I even have a job — and a home — to commute to and from. There are countless other things that I have to be grateful for, that I often take for granted. So, some days I simply use the time to list them out in my head or even out loud. I’ve realized it can do wonders for my demeanor and mood when I get to where I’m going.
What are some ways that you use to pass the time in your daily commute?
Originally published at medium.com