7 Essential Tips to Support Every Commuter’s Health and Wellbeing

Brandi Smith, Marketing Director

There are many aspects of our working day that can impact our sense of well-being and cause stress, but one factor that commonly goes overlooked is the impact of commuting.

The average commuter spends 42 hours per year — a full work week — driving to and from work. This is a normal part of everyday life for the majority of us, especially as we commute from the suburbs into major metropolitan areas. For cities with minimal transit options and rapidly expanding populations, it leaves you stranded in your car for what can be hours on end. It’s creating an ever-increasing chaos leaving drivers irritated and deflated.

Studies show that people with long commutes pay more for gas and suffer from reduced mental well-being and suffer from negative health impacts including increased stress, higher blood pressure and BMI, and reduced time available for health-promoting activities such as cooking, exercising and sleeping. A rotten commute also frames the workday with the potential to set the tone of an individual’s day at work and impact their behavior elsewhere.

There are a lot of things a commuter can do to make their trek into work more enjoyable and improve their physical and mental state, however — from exercise, stretching and mental tricks to avoid giving into road rage. 

1. Kickstart your day with a good stretch routine

The angst and anxiety of a commute, or sitting at a desk all day, can result in tense, tight muscles throughout your body, particularly your shoulders and back, while lower body movement decreases blood circulation in your legs. Doing one to two sets of the below stretch routine in the morning and/or evening can loosen those tight muscles, increase blood flow and help you better cope with the stress ahead or at the end of the day.

Prepare healthy meals and snacks in advance

Too many people forget about good nutrition but eating the right foods can help give you the energy you need to get though a draining commute and the day. Prepare easy grab-and-go meals and snacks on a Sunday afternoon, portion them out in containers and grab them as you head out for the day. Breakfast can be hard boiled eggs, fruit, low-fat cottage cheese or even a raw, high-fibre, high-protein bar. If you're a coffee drinker, have plain, black coffee to avoid the extra additives, calories and fat of "coffee drinks." Lastly, avoid that after-work energy slump by carrying high-energy snacks, like nuts, eggs and Greek yogurt in your bag.

Build activity into your day or at the office

Just because you’re cooped up in your car or in an office all day doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to move. We should all aim to get 30 minutes of activity in a day. It doesn’t have to be all at once. You can break it up into 10-minute increments — whatever suits your schedule. Here are some ways you can build activity in:

  1. Park away from your office to rack up extra steps
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  3. Do chair squats or incline push-ups on your desk
  4. Walk to talk to your co-worker instead of calling or emailing them

You can also try waking up 20 minutes earlier to do a quick workout in the morning. You can walk, jog, do yoga or some high intensity internal training (HIIT). The more active you are, including short HIIT spurts, the more calories you burn while sitting during your long commute.

Breakup your commute with a delivery, or two!

Why not tap into the time you’re already on the road and earn an extra income, save the planet and reduce traffic congestion? It’s possible to do all three by adding a side gig that doesn’t require a significant time or energy investment — becoming a ShipperBee driver.

With ShipperBee, you can earn while commuting to and from work by leveraging your unused vehicle space to transfer parcels across our Hive network. It’s simple too. Go to a gas and convenience location close to home, grab a few parcels from our Hive and deliver them to another Hive close to work.

By leveraging your unused vehicle space, you can help us reduce carbon emissions by up to 70+% per parcel and eliminate the number of large trucks on the road. Such a simple shift in how we deliver parcels at a local level will make a big impact on our environment, road congestion and future.  

Not convinced? Check out our blogs, The Ultimate Side Gig: A Side Hustle Without Hustle and The Future of Shipping.

Play phone catch up — handsfree of course!

Your commute time can be the perfect opportunity to catchup on voicemail messages or connect with family, friends, colleagues or clients you can’t connect with during the regular workday. Of course, if you’re on the road, always prioritize auto safety by keeping your calls and actions hands-free by using your Bluetooth connection or headset.

Catching up with those that matter most or that reduce your after-hours workload can be a great distraction from the frustration of stop and go traffic. And don’t forget to inform those you call that you’re driving, that you don’t have access to notes or schedules, and that you could abruptly lose signal if you go through a spotty area for cellular coverage.  

Put on your favourite playlist, podcast or audiobook

Speaking of good distractions while on your way, create a playlist of your favorite tunes that uplift your spirit, turn up your favorite podcast or select a new audiobook to listen to. Taking the opportunity to learn something new every day is a good success habit for us all to form. What better time to do it than when commuting and maximizing the time that feels wasted sitting in your car?  

Whatever your interest, odds are there is a podcast or audiobook about it. Depending on the podcast you choose, you can learn a new language, think about niche subjects or hear heartwarming anecdotes. Audiobooks will allow you the opportunity commute time to positive use which will boost your intelligence, happiness and productivity. Even better, you’ll get wrapped up in what you’re listening to and arrive at your destination before you know it.  

Many of us here at ShipperBee do this and we call it the Power of While. You can read more about it here.

Diffuse essential oils in your car

Many of us use essential oil diffusers in our homes, but have you ever considered using one in your car? They serve so many different purposes. You can diffuse them to feel calmer, keep germs at bay or simply revel in the pleasant smells from them. Chances are the company who manufactured your home diffuser also manufactures a car diffuser. Instead of adding water, you simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a felt pad inside and voila!  

Want to stay alert or need an energy boost? Try peppermint oil. If you want to fight germs, allergens and other unsavory characters that may be floating around the air inside your car, there are defend blends available. To reduce your frustration and road rage, try lemon or spruce oil.

Car diffuser essential oil is a better alternative to commercial car scents. Some fragrance diffusers out there use chemicals which are bad for your health. Especially the ones that come in a semi-solid form that sublimates into the air. Just imagine those particles settling in your lungs. Avoid inorganic car fragrances and go for the healthier option with essential oils.

The bottom line? Commuting is challenging, but it's not a reason to ditch a lifestyle that's healthy for both mind and body. Follow these tips and you can beat becoming a research statistic. And don’t limit yourself to only these seven suggestions. Never stop looking for ways to reclaim your commute time so you can stay productive and happy.

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