5 Ways to Combat Commuter Stress | Opinion

As every big city rush hour commuter will know (and my case getting to and from Central London 5 days a week, and have done for the past 8 years), commuting is just a nightmare from start to finish. And unless you wake up hours before your body has had enough sleep or even properly switched on its power button and is still walking around zombified in flight mode, to rush in for a 7am start JUST to miss the peak rush (and for those people who do that, I admire your insanity!), those rush hour armpit to face blood boiling scenarios are something we have to encounter more often than we'd like. 

According to the BBC daily commuting time is on the rise, with London commuters seeing the longest commuting times of 4 hours each day, thats a menacing 628 hours or just over 26 whole days a year spent in that armpit (based on a 37 working weeks with 8 bank holidays and a 20 day annual leave allowance, ah-thank-you).

Now before you start gun-ho typing up your resignation letter to become a freelance hipster hero! When I started having my own commuting stresses I decided to do some research and created an aid busting blog dedicated to 5 typical commuter personality types, which hopefully might just help bust those blues.

The Listener

One of my personal aids for commuting is listening to music, which I'm sure ALOT of people will testify to. But some of your normal Friday night tunes may not actually be that calming especially for a commute based situation full of hectic angry people, and may actually create more tension (well its does for me at times anyway). 

So after some trialing I've found the number one thing that gets me peaceful whilst travelling has to go to the incredible 'Tropical House' playlist on Spotify, it has the perfect balance of mellow foot tapping beats with tropical overtones you can only imagine coming from a Burning Man midnight slow jam. Think slow lyrics, lots of tinny guitar and foot pedal delays. It always enables me to melt into my seat, eyes shut and forget for a moment where I am.

If you're not really a music person, or generally hate house music (No offence taken, its all personal taste 😉), then another to try out also on Spotify is the 'Yoga and Meditation' Playlist. Now I know what you're thinking... don't worry you're not going to come off the central line humming crosslegged in a suit, but these soothing atmospheric sounds will just gently pull you out of the chaos and back into calm.

The Tapper

If you're not really a music person at all, and more one to get soaked up playing a game getting worked up and then almost miss your stop, wondering how in the world you can get just a tad more zen with such an active mind? Then this next app might just be for you.

If you like a puzzle or two then grab your headphones and download 'Zen Sands' to your smartphone. This game is pretty simple in essence as all you have to do is get the grains of sand into the jars using a track made with bamboo, but the soft ambience and soothing sounds of the game will keep you calm as well as your mind focused.

The Hectic But Health Conscious

Now I'm sure you've heard everyone and their HR department talk about mindfulness, and to some of the seriously hectic out there who care about their health but may actually be spending their time working super long hours and then getting up early when the first tubes start to get into the gym before work. You know the ones, rushing around with water infusers, POD bags and the latest health app. 

For them, they know Mindfulness is important in order to tackle a hectic lifestyle but are daunted as to when to fit it in between all those emails and gym classes. Well if thats you then A) Welcome to the club! and B) Trust me when I say that your 2 hour commute may just be your perfect avenue in order to smash both beating those blues and increasing your mindfulness #Winning much!

Headspace is the perfect site for tackling mindfulness, you can download it as an app onto your phone, smart watch or access the website via computer and use anywhere and everywhere for as little as 3 minutes a day. And when you become a pro-headspacer you don't have to be sitting down in order to do it, even poor London commuter Betty who you see every day sprint for her tube and end up standing wedged into a corner the whole way to work, yes even she could use it too! (And by the sounds of it she might appreciate your recommendation...)

All you have to do is download the app, create an account (which takes less than 2 minutes), plug in some headphones and... go! They have a foundation pack to get you going on learning mindfulness techniques, but if you have a specific area of your life you want to tackle through mindfulness techniques there are a whole host of 'packs' to buy that tackle different areas from self esteem to relationships, all split up into helpful bitesize sessions.

The Scroller

If your a social scroller and your pretty similar to 'The Tapper' but your commuter tipple is more of the social kind, then there are a wide breadth of Instagram pages out their dedicated to creating a wealth of soothing effects straight to the palm of your hands.

The most notable one on Instagram is 'annettelabedzki' a Canadian artist who videos the chopping and mixing of paint moulds. I know it sounds a little bizarre but these videos are said to evoke similar feelings to ASMR AKA 'low grade euphoria'.

If paint isn't your thing then try the unbeatable effects from sand based profile 'sandtagious' or beautiful foam based profile 'issafloralfoam'. Be sure to plug your headphones in and turn the sound on!

The Reader

Reading can be a quick and relaxing way to get yourself out of the headspace of a hectic commute, but maybe you're a reader and after something to perk you up or understand your stresses whilst you put the novel to one side? I will confess before I start this section that I'm not really a reader, so in order to get the correct expertise I asked my boyfriend to give me a recommendation of a book thats perfect for a stress busting reader.

One that stood out to him the most was the book 'The Life changing magic of not giving a f*ck'. From working in the retail industry I had heard of this book previously and without reading it I think this snippet from the books description online says it all "...From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple 'NotSorry Method' for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter."

One book I have recently started reading (albeit slow as I have a very short attention span for reading), is 'A mindfulness guide for the frazzled' A book written by the witty Ruby Wax which goes into her personal struggles, the history of stress, and helpful mindfulness cognitive therapy based aids developed with Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University. So far I've found the book to be really insightful into the idea of stress itself and a seriously witty read.

Lastly one book I have heard of and would like to try is 'Calm' by Fearne Cotton, and is the follow up book to her Sunday Times Bestselling book 'Happy'. I like the idea that the book features short snippets of advices, ideas and exercises (perfect for my short attention span!), and from reading some reviews it sounds like it could be the perfect quick starter guide for someone who wants to know more about mindfulness, quickly and easily. Perfect for the tube!

Whats your commuter de-stress tipple?

What I wore

Hoop Earrings - Pretty Little Thing
Cateye Glasses - Glasses Direct
Red zip top - Forever 21
Leather Jacket - DKNY
Red bandana print tote - Disney x Coach
Jeggings - Matalan
Heeled boots - Sorel


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(Disclaimer - Any post stared with an asterisk (*) contains either an item that has been gifted to me in consideration for a blog review or is a collaborative/branded post. All opinions made on this blog are my own and not that of any brand or company I have connections with. For my full disclaimer please click here.)

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