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How To Manage Long Commutes

Joanna Clare

Sometimes, or even all of the time, it may be necessary to travel long distances to your place of work. Whether this is due to a new job, a change in location or a need for a bigger income, the reality is that long commutes are becoming a way of life for many. Travelling long distances to your place of work can have both advantages and disadvantages so it is important to weigh these up very carefully before making a decision to take a job which involves a lengthy commute. The journey should be made as comfortable and as productive as possible which should help to  minimise stress. Hopefully, you will arrive at work with a positive attitude and  eager to start your day - not tired and grumpy.

Planning your journey as far in advance as possible is a very important aspect so you must  consider the distance, the time it will take and of course, the mode of transport you will be using. It is wise to also take into consideration things like traffic reports and timetables whilst allowing time for delays and cancellations. Before you start your job or preferably before you even accept the job, have a few practice days which will show you exactly what you are in for.

Once your plan is in place, you can give some thought to making the most of your journey. For example, if you are travelling by train then you could utilise the time by checking emails, studying or making and taking important calls. Alternatively, you could use the time to relax by perhaps reading or even taking a power nap.

Your mental and physical wellbeing should never be compromised during regular and necessary long journeys so stay hydrated, access fresh air and make certain you are able to stretch your legs. It may be beneficial to engage in certain mindfulness practices such as meditations or deep breathing exercises which are specially designed for alleviating stress and anxiety.

The cost of travelling is an important factor and this can soon add up. Check if there is anyone who can car share and compare other modes of transport that may be more cost effective, both which will save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

To avoid immense fatigue or even eventual burnout, if you are spending a significant amount of time travelling then it can feel like it is all work and no play so it is important to maintain a social life and having time to unwind where you can forget about work and concentrate on yourself.

Perhaps, after a while, you may come to the realisation that long distance travelling to your place of work is having a detrimental effect on you in which case you should address this as soon as you can. Talk to your manager as there may be other possible solutions that you haven't thought of such as condensed hours, working from home on certain days or even being transferred to a department nearer to home which would lessen your journey.

Whether you travel long journeys out of choice or necessity, with the right mindset and a positive approach, you can turn the commute into an opportunity to grow both professionally and on a personal level.

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