CAPTION: Commuting is a part of many people’s daily routine
For the vast majority of us who don’t work from home and therefore don’t have the option of sitting at our desks in our PJs, commuting is a part of daily life. On average, the journey from our door to our desk takes about an hour and those daily hours add up to an astonishing 18 months over a lifetime of work.
While few of us relish the prospect of commuting as it’s often on a crowded bus or train, it’s a cross we have to bear and so we may as well get what we can out of it and view commuter time in a more positive light. Think of it this way, it’s time off – from home and from work – for you to do what you want. You just happen to be in a moving vehicle when you have this time to yourself, so how can you get the most out of it?
Thanks to the smartphone in our pocket, we have a constant source of entertainment wherever we are. Playing games is a great way to distract us from the proximity of our fellow commuters and to get lost in our own world. The choice of what to play is almost endless, but games such as slots are ideal as they don’t require much concentration. If you play at a site such as 32red, Royal Panda or Titanbet, there’s a huge variety of games to play. Some of the most popular online slots from 32Red UK are themed around film characters like Agent 47 in Hitman, or the Terminator in Terminator 2. Others are less about the theme and more about the prizes. As slots games rely on chance, there’s no decision-making to be done apart from deciding how much to bet. So, even though they’re entertaining and fast-paced, slots are also great for zoning out and relaxing on a journey.
CAPTION: Use commuter time to de-stress and reconnect
The journey to and from work is a great time to practise mindfulness. This is the practice of paying more attention to the present, the moment you’re in, in terms of your thoughts and feelings and how you feel about the world around you. Becoming more mindful can be a great antidote to stress and can improve your mental well-being. There’s nothing difficult about mindfulness – it’s just a question of becoming aware of your mind’s busyness and becoming aware of your thoughts. Mindfulness practitioners suggest you don’t judge or wrestle with the thoughts that you have – you simply watch them as they enter your mind, accept their presence and then focus again on the present moment. It takes time to be able to do this – and you have plenty of time to practice while commuting.
Read short stories
Reading has always been a popular pastime on a commute, of course, but now we don’t have to take a book with us. We have access to thousands of books on e-readers and reading apps on our phones. A great option for reading on the move is to choose short stories, as you can read a few on just one journey. Far easier to do that than to try and remember where you’d last got to in War and Peace, for example. Try Connu – a short story app where users can read stories written by unknown authors who have been recommended by famous authors or Little Short Stories on Instagram.
Make a friend
Many of us take the same time train or bus every day, and you’ll be sure to see some familiar faces every time you get on board. Instead of doing the terribly British thing of ignoring everyone, why not use some of your commute time getting to know the people you travel with. You may have made assumptions about your travel companions, but talk to them and you might be surprised to find what they actually do for a living and where their passions lie. If you strike up a conversation with someone and discover that you don’t have much in common, you don’t need to talk to them again.
Exercise when you’ve barely got room to fit into a tube or train carriage? No chance, you may be thinking. However, there are lots of little exercises that you can do while standing still which will help improve your body tone. For example, try the Glute Squeeze – where you contract your glutes and thighs for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Or try the Ab Brace – contracting your abdominal muscles as if readying yourself for a punch to the gut. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times. It may not be the same as a gym workout, but these commuter exercises can make a difference to your overall appearance.
Using any or all of these ideas will mean that your commute time is no longer an hour of tedium, but a time in which you can get things done, zone out and relax, and maybe even meet some new people.