Note: This blog originally published in February 2012.
How long is your commute? I have at minimum a 45 minute commute in the morning and the same in the evening. That is over 90 minutes in the car, five days a week and over 7 hours a week!
When I decided to take on this commute I didn’t really think about what else I could be doing instead of being in the car. I would listen to the radio, daydream and yes talk on my cell phone. (Please note a Bluetooth is recommended). I began to notice that by chatting I was actually saving myself time at home. I would use this time to make appointments, call my sister and mom and catch up with friends. The other advantage is that I had a time limit on phone calls. Those long 2 hour conversations where a thing of the past! When I arrived home I had connected and I could dedicate myself to home tasks and my family.
So, I thought – “what else could I do while commuting?” Here is a list of things I have tried:
1.) Exercise your kegels (exercise for pelvic muscles). To do Kegel exercises; squeeze your perianal muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then relax. Do at least 100 times per day.
2.) Listen to book on tape. Go to the library and reserve the best seller you have been meaning to get to, the self-help book your friend told you about or the bible. I never have had time to read the entire bible, but the commute afforded me the chance to hear it all.
3.) Stretch your neck by pushing my head back against the headrest. This is to help with the downward position that we have our heads in during the day and at a computer screen. Repeat 10 times each commute.
4.) Use your cell phone to record your “to-do” list for the day or the week. You can play it back and write it down or type it out later – or if you are really good your smart phone can add it directly to your notes.
5.) Meditate. Now this is not a deep mediation, but you can put your mind to a specific topic and stay on it for a certain amount of time.
6.) Talk to your fellow commuters, in my case this is my 2 year old son. I was amazed at what I can learn from a 2 year old.
7.) Play educational videos for your kids. I was opposed to a DVD player in the car, but I “gave in” and pretty soon my son could recognize his numbers 1-10 without any help from mom and dad.
8.) Decompress from your day. Working, driving kids to and from activities or running errands all take a toll on you. Relax and breathe.
9.) Breathing exercises. Fill your lungs full by breathing through your nose to the count of 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and then release through your mouth for the count of 7 seconds. Do this several times. (You can also use breathing as an energizing form by breathing quickly through your nose. Try using this to energize yourself on your way to work.)
10.) Make phone calls (use Bluetooth please!).
11.) Download podcasts (SheTaxi’s are great!) and listen while driving.