Can you believe it is December already? As the new year approaches, people start to think about what they liked about their year and what they can do differently next year. Probably being stressed in traffic is not on the top of any of your wish lists, but it is the reality of most commuters in Southern California. We are here to help!
Commuting to work is probably one of the first things you do in the morning and the last thing you do before going home to your family. But having a stressful commute can impact your productivity at work, your health, your social relations, and your family interactions. So why do we keep stressful commute habits or take them as the only options we have?
We put together a list of routine changes you can do to improve your day without a lot of changes in your schedule. Check it out!
1.Shake it up! You don’t have to commute the same way every day of the week.
Maybe Monday and Wednesday you have meetings in the morning and you don’t feel like waking up early, so you decide to carpool to work. That is awesome! But Tuesdays and Thursdays you decided to work on your health and bike to work instead. Now Friday is here and you are thinking about enjoying a happy hour with friends, so you take transit to work and an Uber/Lyft back home. Isn’t it perfect?
2. Mix and Match! You don’t have to take the same mode of transportation for your entire trip.
Do you have to drop your kids at daycare a few blocks from your house before going to work? Why don’t you also leave your car there and take transit to work? You can drive a few minutes, and then ride the train/bus to your destination without worrying about the traffic.
Or maybe you prefer not to have transfers on your commute, so you can choose the park-and-ride style. You drive to the nearest direct transit line, park, and take the bus/train to work.
This can also be a great solution if you live too far from work but really wanted to use your commute as your workout. You can ride transit for part of your commute and, when you are comfortable with the distance, you ride your bike or walk to work. That can also help with less transit transfers. And trains and buses have a place for your bike.
3. Spend time on yourself! Download/Stream that movie you always want to watch or take your favorite book with you.
We know that the average American routine doesn’t leave much time for reading or watching a good movie, so why not multi-task in the best way? If your transit commute takes longer than your driving commute, it doesn’t mean you are wasting your time, it might mean you are using your time wisely. For example, if you have a 30 minutes driving routine, that means you are exclusively driving for that 30 minutes. You shouldn’t be paying attention to anything else other than the road.
Now imagine you can substitute it for a 45 minutes bus/train ride. You don’t have to drive or pay attention to the road, so you can take that time to yourself; read a book, watch a movie, read the news, or check social media. Arriving home early because of the driving commute gives you 15 minutes more to do something you want, while taking transit can give you 45 minutes.
4. Get your workout done! Some commute habits can help you to get healthier while you commute to work.
It is very common that people don’t have time to exercise during the week. But if your commute can help you become more physical active without sparing much time of the day, why not enjoy it? Try walking or biking to work and, if biking and walking all the way to work is not possible for you, you can use tip 2 and mix and match your commute. Did you know that transit users, in average, walk more than drivers and walking is associated with improved health benefits?
5. Save money!
Another good reason to change your habits is saving a few bucks per month. Driving alone can be one of the most expensive commute modes in some regions of Southern California, but it is not your only option. When carpooling you can split the cost of gas among your carpooling partners, when walking or biking you can have an (almost) cost-free commute, and when taking transit you can buy monthly passes that will increase your savings.
6. Get social! Sharing your commute can improve your social interactions.
If you decided that commuting by car is the best option for you, you don’t have to do it alone. You can carpool with co-workers or neighbors and share the ride. Commuting partners help you reduce your stress level and open more possibility for social interactions. You can also alternate who is driving each day of the week and relax in the passenger seat some days. If you are interested in carpooling check the Waze Carpool and RideMatch.info or talk to your company’s HR to see if they have a carpooling list.
Now that you have more options for your commute, it is time to start your “2019 goals” list. And if you need personal assistance in finding your best commute option/route, join our commuter club.
Do you have more tips to share? Send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below so we can spread the word.