Turn Your Stressful Commute Into Relaxing Me Time

SUMMARY POINTS

> Reframe your driving commute as your dedicated relaxing “Me-Time”
> Pre-set your morning routine the night before for a smooth start
> Allow more time for the commute and relax your pace and not feel rushed
> Incorporate fun and/or relaxing activities to make the drive more enjoyable

You get into your car. You sit there for a moment, contemplating how much you really need this job.

Is it worth this insane commute every day?

It would be so easy to just turn off the car, walk back into the house, crawl into bed and forget that today even existed.

However, there is a small amount of hope in the back of your mind that today will go smoothly, considering the first 5 minutes did.

As you pull into your favorite Starbucks, you were momentarily lost in thought about those delicious flavors and you didn’t see the insane lineup of cars at the drive-thru ahead.

And in the split second you consider backing out, you’ve been boxed in.

Fuck.

You actually contemplate pulling an Austin Powers three (hundred) point turn to bail out of the car line.

VIDEO: Austin Powers - 3 point turn
YOUTUBE: Red15
LENGTH: 0:33

But, it’s way too late, so you endure the agonizing wait.

And it just so happens to be your luck that every Dick, Jane, and Harry in front of you is ordering something stupid like a triple-venti, half-sweet, non-fat, soy, no-sugar-added, caramel macchiato, extra hot, or some shit like that.

After a strenuous 15 minutes of planning everyone’s death and trying not to rip the steering wheel off of the car, you finally get your latte and are back on the road.

Now, you only have a half an hour to get to work and traffic is moving slower than a geriatric slug. Seriously, there are moments when walking is actually faster - no joke.

The stress is building - you can feel it.

There has to be a better way. You can’t go on like this for much longer.

You finally get to work late, stressed, and ready to chew off the next person's head that talks to you.

And the drive home is no different.

In fact, adding in the grocery shopping that needs to be done, kids that need to be picked up, and stop at the gas station for the 2nd time this week, really manages to throw you off the edge.

It’s a 10 item maximum in the express checkout lane, does no one read anymore?! And God help her if she even thinks about paying with a check. Add coupons on top of that and it’s her death wish.

We’ve been there! We live it...every...single...day. And we truly feel you.

This is why we want to share the ways that we deal with the daily commuting drive.

These ideas will not only make your commute enjoyable but also help you feel more relaxed before you even set a foot into the door.

Reframe Your Mind: Commuting Is The ‘Me-Time’ You’ve Been Yearning For

Wouldn’t it be great if we could be just as excited as dogs about getting in the car and going somewhere?

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more hours in the day for yourself?

Some time to relax or catch up on things you like?

Well, look no further.

You have this amazing ability to turn this awful commute into something other people would kill for.

Yes, we’re serious, there are actually people out there who would love some commute time. Crazy right?

Not really when you look at it this way.

There are a million deadlines at work. There is cleaning that needs to be done at home. The kids need some attention and lunches need to be made.

All these things don’t matter when you’re behind the wheel and commuting.

You can’t make lunches while you’re driving. You can’t do any data entry or send any emails. And you definitely can’t entertain your kids when they aren’t with you.

So why stress about that?

This is your forced bonus time!

This is when you finally get to be by yourself without anyone asking anything of you.

It’s your personal time - of solitude, of rocking out, of laughing, of wonderment, etc. It’s your buffer zone between home and work.

So, let’s get started.

Pre-Set Your Morning Routine To Make It Easier 

Weekday mornings can be an absolute circus act. The best way to minimize this madness is to get as many of your family’s morning activities pre-planned and ready-to-go the night before.

Being organized will allow for a calm and stressless start to your morning.

The key here is to develop an evening routine that meshes with your family. Find the process that works best you. And when you do, you’ll find that it almost becomes second nature.

Here are some of the easier things that you should be doing the night before to save yourself time and frustration the following morning:

- Set out the kids and your clothes for the next day
- Prepare and bag all the lunches the night before
- Limit breakfast to simple, quick and healthy options
- Have all bags packed and ready to go ahead of time

Of course, it never goes perfectly every time. Timmy doesn’t want to wear what he picked out last night. Sara doesn’t want Tasty O’s cereal for breakfast - again.

Instead of asking Sara what she wants for breakfast, only give her the choice of two items. That way you each get some amount of control of the situation.

With enough repetition, you’ll get into a groove that’s workable.

When you do a bit of prep, it makes a huge difference in the way your day starts. If you can really optimize things in the morning, you have a chance to do this…

Leave For Work 15 Minutes Early

We understand there is already not nearly enough hours in the day. So how are you supposed to find an extra 15 minutes?

Luckily, with the aforementioned pre-planning, you’ll be finding minutes left, right, and center.

Trick your brain into thinking you start work 15 minutes earlier, or set the clocks in your house 15 minutes ahead without telling anyone.

These little tricks will help you get out of the house sooner and having this extra 15 minutes will help with all those unplanned circumstances.

It’s Time To Make Your Commute Fun And Relaxing

Here are some of the amazing things you can do during your commute to truly turn it into me-time.

You’ll see that all the ideas here are doable while driving. Of course, keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. We want to get you there in one piece.

1. Escape Reality With Audiobooks

Whether you feel like reading one of those top 10 must-reads in your lifetime books or you just feel like binging Game of Thrones, audiobooks on your commute will truly make the time fly and enjoyable.

Here, you have the chance to learn about new things, relive your old favorite stories, or delve into a brand new genre you never thought you would.

Or, if you haven’t tried this before, try listening to your favorite movies as audiobooks. It’s a totally different experience and one that you just might really like.

Perhaps, it’s this alone time on your commute that you can finally enjoy one of those saucy romance novels.

Ever listen to the audio version of the “50 Shades” novels? Oh boy, there were times we had to “cool off” a bit before getting out of the car.

And considering it’s on your phone, no one will ever know!

Amazon's Audible is one of the major audiobook suppliers, so go and check them out today!

2. Laugh & Get “Wowed” With Podcasts

Believe us when we say, “There’s a podcast for everything.”

Want to listen to experts in your fav hobby?
Learn more about DIY home stuff?
Exotic travel stories?
Parent-hacking tips-n-tricks?
Piss in your pants laugh?
Uplifting positive stories?

With over a half a million podcast channels that are producing tens of millions of episodes, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something that’s up your alley.

Using services like Itunes, Spotify, and numerous podcast apps, you are sure to find exactly what you want.

Looking for some recommendations to start with? Give one of these a shot.

Journalism: This American Life 
This American Life covers journalistic stories in an entertaining story kind of way. It is truly like listening to a movie on the radio.

Their stories have compelling people at the center of them, funny moments, big feelings, surprising plot twists, and tons of interesting ideas.

They’ve been on the air since before podcasts were even a thing! So you can rest assured that they know what they are doing.

Comedy: Comedy Bang! Bang!
You can join the host Scott Aukerman with this weekly podcast as he sits down with other comedians and celebrities.

Not only does he enjoy a good chat with them, but he also makes them partake in games he created to ensure there will be some good laughs.

You’ll smile, chuckle and maybe even laugh so hard that you get an awesome ab workout in while driving.

Interesting: Stuff You Should Know
If you are looking learn about some neat topics and how things work, this is the podcast for you.

And considering it releases an episode 3 times a week, you know you’re never going to be left without some comedic knowledge during your commute.

So if you’re interested in learning why we can’t find Amelia Earhart or if emojis are going to be the new language of the future, take a listen and learn something cool.

Ideas: TED Talks Daily 
TED Talks Daily podcast is released every weekday bringing you the latest thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable.

If you want to know something about the most unique unorthodox topic you can think of, this is definitely the place you will find it.

It’ll change the way you think about things and how you’ll look at them.

Happiness: Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Do you want to know the good habits of happy people? Perhaps learn how to see more of the good? Or just be happier in general?

Well, Gretchen is your gal. Not only is she a bestselling author, but her podcast was also best of 2016. That’s how you know she is going to be awesome.

Good News: Good News Podcast 
If you know anything about Cards Against Humanity, you’ll know that they love to do things their own way.

For example with their Good News Podcast, they chose to avoid negative news and avoid “stress-diarrhea” (their words) and use a sense of humor to forecast only the positive. 

3. Catch Up With Your BFF 

Gosh, can you believe how long it’s been since you chatted with your bestie?

It felt longer than a Monday morning staff meeting. Can you even consider yourselves besties any more?

This is where this brilliant ‘free-time’ comes in to play. Have you and your bestie got Bluetooth in your cars?

Well, give him/her a call already then.

This is the perfect time to partake in a good ol’ fashioned gab sesh with just the two of you. And the best part is, no one else can hear you.

Meaning, if you have had a particularly shitty day at work, or a rather unpleasant conversation with your significant other, this is your free time to vent and bitch to your heart's content.

You will be surprised how much better you feel after. 

4. Listen To A Newer Take On News

Is it just us or does mainstream news media always focus on negative things?

Are you tired of the same old news sources?

Do you feel like you want nothing to do with the news, yet everyone at the office is always up to date on the latest dirt on politicians and celebrities?

This may not be your niche at home, but you can do a quick skim to get you quickly caught up and prepared for the next water-cooler session.

Here are a few wonderful outlets that combine a sense of humor to everyday news so that it’s a bit more enjoyable. Search for their podcast on your favorite music streaming app. 

theSkimm
This is an especially great app for those of us who have shorter attention spans. Most of the podcasts are about 30 minutes long, some are shorter while others are a bit longer, but all of them are fantastic bite-sized portions of cool and interesting stuff.

That's why we love this app, they break it down for you nice and easy and in a totally understandable, plain English kinda way.

Written much like listicle, it uses titles like ‘the story’, ‘people involved’, ‘what happened’, ‘now what’, and an even shorter final sentence for those who want to skim theSkimm.

Philip Defranco
This YouTube broadcaster takes the week that just passed and compiles it into a half hour vlog for you.

The one thing we adore about Philip Defranco is that he opens it up to a conversation, asking the opinion of his viewers what they think.

He touches on everything from news to movies to video games and more. With great conversation, hard-hitting topics and a secret link of the day, you’re sure to find something that you are interested in every episode.

The Daily Show
You’ve probably already heard or even seen some of the Daily Show as it has been around since 1996.

This late-night talk show uses satire to ensure you get a real look at all the trending events in pop culture, politics, news and sports.

Plus, there isn’t so much bias toward any one group. They just make fun of everyone and everything.

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight 
This HBO late-night talk and news satire classic is hilarious.

John Oliver is such a unique individual and the way he brings you the news is unparalleled. Each show is only half hour long, but you’ll be begging for more. 

5. Do In-Car “External Awareness” Meditations 

If you are driving, we definitely don’t recommend going into a traditional meditation, however, did you know you can practice a form of meditation called external awareness meditation?

This is where you deliberately focus on everything around you. Really take in everything in your surroundings, not only will this make you a better driver, but it will also calm you.

1. Start by sitting in your car, breathing and enjoying the silence for a few minutes. This will allow you to mentally “wipe the slate clean”.

2. Start taking notice of how your body feels and let each area relax one by one. What muscles in your body are tense? Is your jaw clenched?

3. Start your drive and keep your vehicle at the speed limit, move to the slow lane if necessary.

4. Take in your surroundings and become acutely aware of other drivers. For example, if you see someone coming up to merge on to the highway, slow down and give them space.

5. As drivers pass you and/or cut you off, respond (not react) neutrally. See it like a random bird flying by or a ​leaf being blown across the walkway. Don't take it personally.

6. Use stop lights and stop-n-go traffic as a chance to do 5-10 second breathing exercises.

7. When you reach your destination, park the car, shut it off and take 3 deep breaths before you get out.

Incorporating external awareness meditation into your commute is a great way to redirect your brain’s focus to driving tasks and less on stressful stuff at work/home. 

If you’d like to dive deeper on this subject, jump to this article for more details and help.

6. Have Feel-Good Gratitude Sessions

Being stuck in a car with yourself may seem like a good time to berate yourself for your failures and mistakes for the day.

But this is one of the worsts things you can do for your mood and overall well-being.

Take this time to be as selfish and self-loving as you want to be.

When you show yourself some love and gratitude, you will find your health and mood improving, making the other aspects of your life easier.

We constantly show gratitude to others yet we somehow forget ourselves. So, here’s an easy and great way to incorporate gratitude during your commute.

Every time you get in your car, take one minute...yes, just one measly minute...and say one thing out loud that you are really thankful for.

You have to say it out loud so that you hear yourself saying it.

Make sure to get creative, specific and as descriptive as possible. Ask yourself why you are grateful for these things and answer them out loud.

Here are some of the things that our team is thankful for…
- Thankful for the morning songbirds chirping
- Thankful for those heart-melting family moments
- Thankful for the perfect cup of coffee
- Thankful for warm showers
- Thankful for having work BFFs

If you can start out with this simple one thing gratitude every time you get in the car and keep it up consistently, you’ll notice something wonderful happening.

You’ve trained your mind into setting this behavior as a part of your driving routine, just like putting on your seatbelt. It’ll start to become a positive habit that happens automatically.

And soon enough, your mind will cling onto that one thing (or maybe even more) that you’re grateful for and the good thoughts will continue to stream out of your head as you drive, sometimes for the entire drive if you’re lucky.

But, it all starts with just one thing in one minute every time you get in the car.

7. Be A Karaoke Rockstar

Take some advice from James Corden and Adam Levine and turn your car into a karaoke-on-wheels and treat it like it is the real thing.

There’s nothing quite like singing away your stress and traffic blues.

VIDEO: Carpool Karaoke w/ Adam Levine
YOUTUBE: The Late Late Show with James Corden
LENGTH: 11:00

Take this moment to turn yourself into that rockstar you have always wanted to be.

Make a “commuting” playlist of your favorite songs for the duration of your drive. Or, just tune into any of your favorite channels/stations on your streaming music service.

Pretend you are on stage in front of thousands and put on a full concert.

Get right into it! Thank your imaginary audience for being there, and pour your heart and soul into the music. 

8. Be A Trivia Game Show Contestant

Q: How many months have 28 days in them?

A: All of them

HA!

Who doesn’t enjoy some good trivia? Not only does it make us use our brains it is also an amazing way to release tension and stress.

Podquiz
Filled with a mix of twenty questions, some awesome music, teasers and eventually the answers, you can get a weekly trivia fix from the group over at Podquiz.

Trivial Warfare
If you love goofy jokes, bad puns, and pub quizzes without having to go to the pub, this podcast is for you.

The hosts of this show love arguing about the answers in such a playful way that you will find yourself playing along during your whole commute.

Good Job Brain
This group is hilariously nuts about trivia and they just wanted to connect with people out there who share their unusual obsession.

The only drawback is that they seem to be on a break and not uploading as much nowadays. However, by the time you’ve caught up the nearly 200 episodes they currently have available, they should be back in the game.

Get it. Back in the GAME. Ha ha ha.

No Such Thing As A Fish
This is a spin-off podcast made by BBC from their quiz show QI (quite interesting). It is filled with obscure trivia to really get your brain going.

This one’s for you super trivia nerds. It’ll really make you think.

It’s Your Sanctuary On Wheels - Use It!

For a large majority of us, the daily driving commute to and from work is an unavoidable part of our lives. So, why not spin it and use it to our advantage?

A lot of people see their commute as a dreadful soul-crushing task which sets the wrong tone in their heads and takes them down a miserable path.

But, not for you!

With these ideas, you’re taking a new approach and perspective on the daily drive. And with a small shift in your mindset every day, you’ll become one of the lucky few that actually looks forward to commuting.

Before you know it, traffic won’t phase you one bit because you’re too busy laughing, enjoying yourself and relaxing in your car.

The next time you find yourself in that Starbucks line up, you will just see it as another one of those "me-time" opportunities.

And you may even start considering taking the long way home after work just to finish your new fave podcast episode.

In fact, we're downloading a few of our favorite podcasts right now for our evening drive home. We've got some Ted Talks, comedy and a saucy novel to finish up.

Isn’t it so great to have this commuting “buffer-time” designated just for you? It’s your little uninterrupted slice of the day that separates your home life and work life.

Bet you don’t think we’re crazy anymore now, huh?

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy]