Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Commuting is no fun when summer comes and it's sticky, sweaty and you're jammed up against someone's armpit with personal space just a distant memory. If you don't have to do this, I am jealous. But, if you do, here are a couple of tips to make your commute a little more bearable.

1. Switch it up - can you take a different route? Can you walk part of your journey? I have two choices - a 40 minute door to door trip on the London Underground or an hour's commute that includes a 30-minute walk and a short train ride. Walking isn't for everyone, but it's cheaper, I get an hour's exercise a day and fresh air is infinitely better than the Northern line. Try getting on/off a couple of stops after your usual station if you can't walk the whole way.

2. Timing - test your commute at a few different times. I found the holy grail of trains which begins at my station, so you always get a seat if you arrive 5 minutes before it leaves. There's only one an hour, so it means I get into work 30 minutes early (ergo 30 minutes less in bed), but I've learned to adjust my morning routine and now I have breakfast in the office and I'm ready to start the day on the dot at 9am. Also, leaving a little earlier every day gives you a safety net for delays to your usual journey, so there's no need to panic about missing your early morning meeting or being late for the start of your shift.

3. Dress the part - There's a lot to be said for loose pieces and natural materials - nothing makes me clammier than a polyester-lined dress. But also, try losing a layer earlier than you usually would (I stopped wearing a scarf in early March and ditched my jacket at the start of spring).

4. Enjoy the time - people are surprised when I tell them I walk an hour a day without music or someone to chat to, but I enjoy it! I see the same dogs every morning and evening walking in the park with their owners, which makes me really happy, and it's fun to see the landscape change through the seasons without mindlessly trotting along while listening to the radio.

5. Treat yourself - I have a friend who only lets herself read when she's doing her morning and evening tube journey, so even if she's reading something amazing, she has to wait until she's on the train to read the next chapter. The same goes for listening to a new album or writing your daily list (if you're lucky enough to have a little elbow room). Creating a habit that goes with your commute will take the intrinsic stress out of your journey and it's amazing how quickly you adapt to new rituals.

6. A sense of humour - there is SO MUCH aggro in the morning rush hour, don't you think? So you're late to work by 15 minutes - what's the problem? You have a job! Hooray! If you're doing the same thing every day and it's making you mad every day, then you need to be re-reading tips 1-5! I think people just like to complain, really, but it makes you feel a lot worse. Take a positive attitude, try and laugh when you go flying into someone's lap and if all else fails, smile. There have been a lot of studies that say smiling makes you feel better, even if you're faking it, and I also remember reading that looking up instead of down also helps you change your mood.

Do you agree with my tips? I'd love to know if you're going to try any of them, or if you have any ideas to share!


  1. Commuting can be very stressful. I'm glad you posted some good, helpful tips about dealing with it. I think tip #6 is something we can all benefit from. You are right. There is too much stress, annoyance, etc. in the morning rush. Conquering that rush armed with a smile and a healthy dose of sense of humor can definitely turn things in your favor. :)

  2. Good tips! I like the idea of saving an awesome book just for commutes, so you actually look forward to it. I'm a bit obsessed with podcasts at the mo - there are so many good ones out there, all free! I'm trying to walk to work (or back) a couple of times a week while the weather's nice. It's 5 miles so quite time consuming (and leg muscle consuming!), so not doable both ways everyday, but it's nice to mix it up a few times a week. And fun to walk past so many iconic London landmarks - not something many people get on their commute!

    1. I agree! I walk half an hour each way and then get a train. I don't mind doing it, even in the rain, and my legs are much more toned now too.

  3. I'm in agreement with you about walking part of the way if at all possible. If you're at a desk all day it's so much nicer to have stretched your legs a little, and I love noticing little parts of the city I sometimes otherwise miss