Top tips to de-stress your commute

Jane Bozier
Registered Nurse and Mindfulness Expert at Bupa UK
22 September 2017

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This article is more than three years old. It reflects the best available evidence at the time of publication.

From crowded platforms to rush hour traffic, delayed trains to pouring rain – your commute could leave you feeling stressed before you’ve even arrived at work. So why not take matters into your own hands? Here are my top tips to help make your journey a little less stressful.

Your smartphone may seem like a welcome distraction, but being online all the time keeps you on edge, watching for the next demand on your time or attention. See if you can resist the temptation to get your phone out as soon as you’re on the bus or train.

Admire your surroundings

If you’re walking through a park, or you have a view from your bus or train, take a few moments to take in the beauty of nature. Remind yourself that you’re part of the natural world.

Change your routine

Try making a small change to your usual routine to help break up the monotony. You could walk a different way to the station, or even just sit somewhere else on the bus or train. Savour the experience of doing something new, no matter how small.

Buddy up

See if you can share some of your commute with someone else – perhaps your other half, a housemate or a colleague. You could arrange to get the same train, or carshare. This can provide a distraction from the irritations of the commute, and in the long term improved social relationships can benefit mental health.

Practise breathing exercises

To help relieve the tension of commuting, try a breathing exercise. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four and out through your mouth for a count of four.

Listen to an audiobook or podcast

Listen to an audiobook or podcast to help keep you occupied and pass the time. Download one of my mindfulness podcasts to help get you started on your next journey.

Be positive

It might not be the done thing on public transport, but try to smile!  You’ll probably find that people smile back and brighten your journey. Studies have shown that smiling is mutually rewarding; both parties feel good for having shared a smile.

Walk where you can

Walking not only gives you physical exercise, but can also benefit your mental health. Many find it much more relaxing than being crammed on to public transport. See if you can factor plenty of walking into your commute. Perhaps you could walk to the station rather than getting the bus, or get off the train a stop early and walk the rest of the way.

Start work at work

Try and keep your commute separate from your working day. Doing your emails before you get to the office may make the journey even more stressful. Reclaim your commute by making it part of your own personal time.

Our health insurance allows you to skip a GP referral in some cases, and speak to a mental health practitioner. Learn more today.

Jane Bozier
Jane Bozier
Registered Nurse and Mindfulness Expert at Bupa UK

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