According to the U.S. Census, average commute time has been on the rise, from nearly 22 minutes in 1980 to 26 minutes by 2016. But that's nothing to some of us who spend 1, 2, or even 3 or more hours getting from home to office everyday. Commuting is a major time suck, prompting stress, burdensome logistics, and, some studies show, could contribute to rising blood pressure, a poor sleep schedule, risk for depression, and not to mention, aches and pains.
But most people commute because they have to. They either can't afford housing in the vicinity of their office, or are bound by family. How do we know when a commute is too long? Is it better to move closer to work, or to get a new job entirely? We say, neither. If you like your job, there are ways to combat the commute and use it for good.
1. Consider mass transportation over driving.
We know—if you have a car, you're probably going to want to use it. While it's nice to have that space to yourself, driving can cause a series of adverse effects for you and other drivers. First, while driving, people often get distracted. For those of us with long commutes on boring highways, our minds tend to wander, or worse, completely shut down. Driving while drowsy is just as bad as, if not worse than, driving while drunk. Driving requires all of your attention, and taking mass transportation will allow you to get a few extra minutes of sleep, listen to an audiobook, or do that crossword puzzle. It's also less expensive and better for the environment, even if you do have to deal with people sitting next to you.
2. If you're ambitious, ride your bike!
Obviously, if you have highways and bridges to traverse, riding your bike might not be a great idea. Also, heavy sweaters, consider if you have access to a shower. But if your path is fairly straightforward and quick, riding your bike can be a great way to get out extra aggression, increase endorphins, and feel energized before your day in the office even begins. Plus, you can feel free to skip the gym. Business Insider agrees.
3. Make your commute time you-time.
With a little creativity, you can find so many ways to make your commute more fun and exciting. Make it a time for you (within reason—we don't mean bring a massage therapist on the train next to you). Most importantly, it is not a time you need to be working. Save that for the office, if at all possible. Your commute time should be spent reading a book, watching a show, or doing anything that can take you out of the everyday humdrum of life. Listen to podcasts or write a short story or haiku! The train is your creative oyster.