There is no shortage of research that proves our crowded, lengthy and delayed commutes are making us unhealthier, fatter and more unhappy than ever. Likewise, there is research in abundance proving that downtime is not just essential to our basic wellbeing, but that it boosts productivity, creativity and motivation.
So, before you default to checking work email, or burying your head in a social media feed, here are a few ideas of how to put your commute to better use and get that much needed ‘me-time.’
Jump on The Podcast Trend
There’s never been a better excuse to disconnect from your screen. Our smartphones have heralded a podcast renaissance and the options for hands-free listening are, quite literally, endless. The Moth podcast series is a great place to start, with a whole library of mind-opening, human interest stories, told by run-of-the-mill people. For something lighter, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton’s The High Low is an often-hilarious blend of pop culture and ‘highbrow’ news. True Crime Garage is a go-to for true-crime junkies and if food is your thing, Radio Cherry Bombe offers 15-minute episodes that will satisfy your needs for food talk.
Learn Something New Everyday
If you’re one of those commuters spending an average of 53 minutes a day travelling to and from work, imagine how much wiser you would be if you spent that time learning something new. Subscribe to an audio language program, or download the fantastically addictive Duolingo – a free app that provides short and visual lessons to help you learn a language. For something other than languages, the Stuff You Should Know podcast will have you hooked from the first episode and the How To Do Everything podcast (the title says it all) will equally have you curious for more. Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert hosts a very inspiring podcast series entitled Magic Lessons on creativity and confidence, and if you’re really looking to push the boat out, check out the accessible lectures from The Great Courses, taught by credential college professors.
Your commute can be the most stressful time, with many workers reporting that their travelling time causes increased anxiety. Whilst your pre-workday is literal breeding ground for anxiety-induced mental to-do listing, endeavour to take this time to relax and mentally prepare for the busy day ahead. The Insight Timer app allows you to set a timer for a slot of meditation and choose from a selection of ambient sounds to use in the background. Calm and Headspace are also popular options for guided meditation and mindfulness to help lower anxiety and reduce stress. Now, one… two… three… breathe.
Sharpen Your Mind
Squash that Candy Crush habit and try a mind-game app to put your screen-time to better use. Peak offers daily brain-training through a selection of mini games covering memory, language, mental agility and attention and provides a breakdown of your performance. Good old-fashioned Sudoku puzzles and Arrow Words are time-honoured ways to stimulate your mind and boost endorphins.
Take Our WorkScore Survey
Use your commute time to Get Your WorkScore and find out where you rank on our 60-question wellbeing survey. WorkScore measures your wellbeing against the 5 key elements of wellbeing: work, body, fuel, fitness and mindset and shows how you compare to others across the globe.
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