The longer your commute to work, the lower your feelings of happiness.
That’s according to the National Office for National Statistics as it’s revealed one in seven of us face a two-hour journey getting to and from work every day.
So, how can commuters make travelling to work more enjoyable? The wellbeing experts at support and advisory agency CABA, have explored eight activities that will boost your mood and might even make you thankful for the time spent travelling.
1. Sketch or colour in
Adult colouring books can help with a number of emotional and mental health issues. The process of making and creating artwork can be used to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.
2. Appreciate your surroundings
Relaxing and seeing the beauty of your environment is an important factor in achieving mindfulness and reducing anxiety. If you’re sitting on a train or bus, take the time to look at your view and appreciate the little things, from the birds in the trees to the colour of the sky, as research shows that developing gratitude is good for overall wellbeing.
3. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts
No matter what your interests are, if you want to stay up to date with news, tech, business and beyond, there is a podcast for every niche. If your brain is feeling frazzled, there’s comedy, arts and audiobooks that can lighten your mood, helping you to unwind and switch off.
4. Reconnect with family and friends
Whether you’re driving (using hands free of course) or catching the train, use this time to connect with friends and family. Our loved ones play an important role in supporting our mental health. Studies have even found that hearing your mother’s voice can quickly calm frayed nerves and a telephone call can have the same effect as a hug.
Researchers have discovered that 1 in 3 people felt worse and more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook. Try switching off completely, disconnecting from the stresses of daily life. Turn off your phone and take the time to think and reflect.
6. Learn a language
There are a whole host of benefits to learning a new language, from feeling accomplished to improving cognitive abilities. It has even been found that multitasking comes more naturally and attention improves for those who learn to speak a second language.
7. Play games and sharpen your mind
It’s been reported that the presence and overuse of our phones has a ‘brain drain’ effect and is reducing our intelligence and attention span. Ironically, our phones can help with this. Check out the best brain-training apps and try one out on the commute into work. Using the apps first thing in the morning will help wake you up, feeling ready to hit the ground running as soon as you step into the office.
8. Write a to-do list
On your way to work, take the time to write a to-do list. This could involve both work and life admin. On the way home, reflect on what you’ve achieved. Writing a to-do list helps you to feel more productive, creates order and ticking off those tasks can be very therapeutic.