How to make the most of your daily commute

Taryn Davies
Published: April 20, 2018

The daily commute might not be our favourite time of the day but it’s a means to an end, and whilst there are aspects of the working day that can cause stress, there’s no reason that the commute should be part of that.

Recent research revealed that one in seven commuters spend two hours or more travelling to and from work each day, and just a small increase in commuting time like 20 minutes can have a negative impact on job satisfaction.

The impact commuting has on stress and wellbeing

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found a correlation between longer commutes and lower feelings of happiness and life satisfaction, as well as higher levels of anxiety compared to those who don’t commute.

The type of travel also impacts wellbeing too, with bus and coach journeys having the worst effect.

What’s more, it can also affect your sleep, there have been other studies that show commuting for more than 45 minutes each way can reduce the amount the quality of your sleep when compared with those who have a shorter commute.

Whilst it might be difficult to get out of the daily commute, there are things that you can do to help boost your mood whilst you travel. Wellbeing experts at CABA share eight activities that will have a positive impact on your commute.

8 things you can do to make more of your commute

Productive things to do on the daily commute

Listen to audiobooks or podcasts

If you want to unwind and switch off on the commute then choosing an audiobook can provide a great relief on your mood. Podcasts are getting more and more varied too, so no matter what your interests there’s something for every niche to keep your mind occupied.

Sketch or colour

Adult colouring books have definitely seen a surge in popularity in recent years and it’s for a good reason too. They can have a big impact on mental health and emotional issues. If you sketch this can also help you with exploring feelings, reducing anxiety, increasing self-esteem and reconciling emotional conflicts.

Appreciate the surroundings

When you’re constantly on the go and thinking about the millions of things you need to get done, it’s easy to forget to appreciate what’s around you. Taking the time on your commute to relax and value your environment is important in achieving mindfulness and reduce any feelings of anxiety.

When you’re on the bus or the train take a moment to notice the small things in life, such as the things in nature, research has shown that when we develop gratitude we increase our overall wellbeing.


Whilst social media can be great in some aspects, research has shown that when we use Facebook one in three people feel worse about their own lives. Whilst it can be easy to pick up our phones whilst we kill time on the commute, it could be a better option for your mental health to completely switch off and disconnect from those stresses. Turn off your phone, or switch it to flight mode, whilst you commute and use that time to think and reflect on your life.

Learn a language

When you tot up just how much time you spend commuting each week, month or year, it can be quite a huge chunk of your life, which could be spent learning something new. There are huge benefits to learning a new language, such as the feeling of accomplishment and advancing your cognitive abilities. Not only that, but research has shown that those who learn to speak a second language can multitask more naturally and their attention span also improves.

Play games and sharpen your mind

There have been reports that suggest using our phones too much can have a draining effect on the brain which is reducing our attention span and intelligence too. What’s ironic, our phones can actually help counteract this. There are a huge number of brain-training apps that you can use on the commute. When you use them on your way to work you’ll be waking your brain up and ensure you’re ready to tackle the days tasks when you get into the office.

Reconnect with friends and family

Using your commute as the time when you reconnect with your friends and family can have a big impact on your mental health. There have been studies to show that your mother’s voice can calm your nerves, and even a telephone call can give you the same feelings as a hug can.

Put together a to-do list

Every day on your way into work you can create a to-do list, involve both work tasks and life admin you need to complete. Then on your way home you can reflect on just how many of the tasks that you’ve done in that day. It can be easy to discount just how much work we do, but seeing the tasks you’ve completed can be therapeutic. Plus writing these lists will create order and make you feel more productive.