Time flies when you’re having fun! Suddenly it’s almost the end of May. We all know that May is mental health awareness month, what have you done to take care of your mental health?
There can be many elements of daily stresses: traffic congestion, finances, workplace pressure, or other personal challenges. With everything added up, it can wear on our mental health little by little each day. During rush hour, the traffic in the DMV area can be really horrible and especially if there is an accident on the roads, it can take up to twice the amount of the regular commute time. Even when taking the Metro, there could be many reasons that cause a train delay. The feeling of anxiety is stressful among commuters whom are late for a meeting or something urgent but are stuck in the delayed train. There’s a study that found that commuting also has significant psychological and social costs. It can be a major cause of stress, due to its unpredictability and a sense of loss of control. Commuters can experience boredom, social isolation, anger, and frustration from problems like traffic or delays.
Here are some tips I have that helped me to reduce stress during commute:
- Find some distraction.
i.e., listening to music or podcast might help you to get in your own zone and minimize the discomfort from the commute. There’s nothing you can do while you are in traffic, using your phone checking email can be very distracted when driving. I found time flies when you are doing something that enjoyable. Also, I saw people on the train doing different things to kill time. Some of them reading newspaper or book, some of them watching a TV show.
- Try to leave earlier.
It could be challenging sometimes, but usually, you will feel less stressed if reserve more time for your commute. Therefore, you don’t risk running late to a meeting. However, traffic can be very unpredictable, fighting with the unpredictable nature of commuting wastes a lot of mental energy and focus. Acknowledge you are lacking the control in this situation and try to accept the reality.
This will depend on the company’s and your schedule flexibility. Sometimes I need to get to several meeting in a day, each of them might in a different direction. In between those meetings, going back to the office would waste a lot of time especially when the office might in another direction. I would find a coffee shop near the next meeting location and work from there.
If you are interested in smart commute solutions, please see the blog by James Davenport – How’s the Commute. If you have some effective way to relieve the stress in commuting, welcome to share with us.
Above is just a part of our life. Overall, we need to build up strong mental health to be able to tackle any difficulties. May 2019 is coming to an end, but our way to being mentally strong will not end here. Create an opportunity to share your stressful moment with people you trust and listen to their stories, you might find you are not alone at the same time, you can encourage each other with some life hacks or positive thoughts.
Mei Fang, who is an urban planner with a strong passion for urban and landscape design, she also enjoys looking for the variety of culture inside of the city.