Are you one of the many humans who must travel to work? When you see an interiors article on how to prettify a home office, do your eyes narrow in envy and annoyance? Welcome to the frazzled mindset of The Commuter, a species whose capacity for not damaging public property when a bus or train is delayed has yet to be narrated by David Attenborough.
While there are benefits to travelling en masse twice a day – one Irish research project called DART of Physics points out that commuting keeps you toasty on cold days because of shared body heat in enclosed spaces – it can also be super stressful. Traffic, being constantly on the go, no personal space, delays – it can give a girl a proper headache. And, in general, women are affected more negatively by commuting. A University of Sheffield study found that our whirring brains propensity for multi-tasking and planning, and looking after children in some cases, means all that mental wiring gets overloaded and our stress levels rise, so put the to-do list away.
Here we gather some tried and tested tips on making daily commute less of a meltdown.
Put away the phone, it’s giving your neck wrinkles, your eyes lines and your posture hell. Instead, practice breathing techniques, concentrate on the passing scenery. Switching off every morning will refresh you for the workday ahead, or prep you for a last-minute dash to the shops.
Start Listening To Podcasts
Okay, so Serial is Old Unresolved News at this stage, but podcasts are having a serious moment. Some of the best ones to check out, according to those in the know, are the very funny Mystery Show, the iconic BBC Desert Island Discs – check out the Mary Robinson appearance, and the classic NPR gateway This American Life. If you want to catch up on pop culture shenanigans to keep you smugly in-the-know, the bite-size Pop Culture Happy Hour is pretty darn fab.
Develop A Reading Habit
When I was in college, I only read other people’s notes and Facebook messages. I went from a teenager who queued at midnight for Harry Potter books to someone who seemed only to read yellow stickers on food packaging at 6 pm in various city centre grocery shops.
Post-college I was at a loss – blame the whole unemployment and friends emigrating to box rooms in London thing – and I decided to start reading again. I joined a bookclub, and my mother gave me a Kindle for my birthday. To say that an electronic device changed my life sounds like a thing I was paid to say, but it’s true. My daily train journey has been transformed, and I’m too busy ripping through thrillers, historical romances and long form articles to avoid eye contact with creeps.
A good place to start getting into books is Goodreads, a social network that links in with your Facebook. Goodreads will help you track the genres and authors you like, as well as offering you recommendations from friends also on the site.
Tell Baristas Your Name Is Max
Okay, not technically something you can do on the train, or bus, but imagine if that dawn time dash to a café didn’t require you to spell out your name and wait a little bit longer for a caffeine boost. Next time someone wants to personalise your cup, tell them you’re a unisex ‘Max’. This advice comes to us courtesy of Sean, our intern who has spent some time in his life making complicated lattés. Everyone can spell Max. Most people have known a dog named Max. As a Jeanne, I will henceforth forego the 256 phonetic versions of my spinster name.