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