As a Northerner in London there are a lot of things that take getting used to. First of all it’s a lot busier and it takes longer to get to places. I find it strange how people stare blankly at each other on the train in the morning rather than chattering away. I even find it strange seeing people in their suits and smart business wear with a pair of brightly coloured trainers sticking out the bottom, but after a couple of weeks of commuting into the centre of London for work I totally understand why! My old reliable black pumps really don’t cut it when I’m travelling for almost an hour to and from work every day. The recent hot, sunny weather has been lovely, but not so lovely on the underground as it is stuffy and clammy.
This got me thinking, in what ways could the commute to and from work be easier? Whether you travel by tube, train, car or bike; no matter where you live let’s make sure we have an easier, happier commute. Let’s take a look…
Don’t travel alone.
Catch the same route as a friend, colleague, family member or your other half. The journey to work is much more enjoyable if you can have a chat and a laugh with someone in the morning. If you drive to work turn the radio off and have a good chat with the people who travel with you. Starting your journey to work in a positive way will make any long delays more bearable!
Dress for the occasion.
If the weather is pouring down outside and you know that you have to walk to the train station make sure you have an umbrella, something waterproof or a coat with a hood. If it’s a hot day wear light clothes and don’t layer up. There’s nothing worse than being too hot on a packed train where you can barely move. If you know you have a long commute wear comfy shoes and pack smart work shoes to change into when you get to the office. Make sure you have a comfortable journey, you can always get changed into work wear when you arrive.
Double check the weather.
This is something I make sure I do daily. If the sun is shining it might be nicer to walk to work, whereas on a rainy day catching a lift in a colleague’s car could be a better choice. The weather affects our moods, so being caught out in weather you didn’t expect can put a big downer on the day. Take advantage of the handful of hot days we get in Britain and bike to work rather than getting in a hot and stuffy train. Which brings me onto the next point.
Exercise when you can.
Exercise relieves stress, releases happy chemicals into your brain and boosts your energy levels for the rest of the day. When possible see if you can walk, run or bike to work. If you live a long way from your workplace then walking or biking for part of the journey is better than nothing. It gets you off public transport and into the open air. You will arrive at work feeling refresh and ready for the day!
Have a distraction.
I envy those people who managed to read a book while holding onto a handle overhead, crammed onto the tube, swaying around. I personally don’t have the balance or concentration for it. A distraction can make the journey go so much quicker and there are so many different things you can do. Read a book, listen to your music or a podcast, watch a tv show or film on your phone or tablet; there’s so much that you can do! I have even seen people on trains doing work or research, especially if there is a table. If you’re driving alone a podcast is great company. I used to drive everywhere and I always had a selection of podcasts and a playlist of favourite songs and the time just flew by.
Setting off a little early in the morning is great as you can beat the rush and you won’t have to worry if your journey is delayed. I know it’s difficult getting out of bed earlier, but it’s worth it in the long run. Just think of the motorway jams you could avoid and how empty the train station will be. The less people and more room you have the smoother the sailing.
If your journey to work runs smoothly so will the rest of your day. Then you’ve just got to tackle getting home…