The daily grind of commuting by tube or metro to work or college can make even the sprightliest of souls weary. Today I started a new job in the city and face a one hour journey on the tube to reach my new office. I had forgotten how much people push and shove, fighting to get seats, our basic survival instincts kicking in to help us endure the journey. But do not panic fellow commuters – rather than focusing on the journey, dream of the destination. Here are my top survival tips for those commuting by tube or metro.
1. Comfortable Footwear
If you are like me, the chances of regularly getting a seat on your commute are slim to none. Therefore it is important to put some thought in your choice of footwear – opting for either flat shoes, boots or trainers. I have seen many girls opt to wear converse trainers with their work gear, sensibly changing into their heels once they arrive at the office. Comfortable footwear is a must have for those commuting by tube or metro on a daily basis.
2. Get Reading
Your body may be sedentary, but your mind can be mobile. Choose to read a good book, catch up with current affairs reading the paper or start studying for your next test. Rather than seeing a commute as wasted time, use this hour to indulge in brain food. I am an avid reader so I love getting a whole hour to lose my brain in literature. Although I don’t own a kindle, they look a lot easier to read from when in a packed tube with little room to turn a page. And let’s not forget if you are lucky to be on an overground train you can always catch up with the latest posts on AllWomenStalk.
3. Change Your Commute
If your commute to work is really getting you down, you might want to consider an alternative route into town. Perhaps include a longer walk before you take the tube or try out different routes which could be slower but might be less crowded. Other options in London include getting the Clipper Boat, cycling or taking an overground train. Finally a very drastic solution - perhaps consider changing where you work in proximity to where you live or vice versa.
4. Tune out the Noise
Often when I am too tired to read or I am stressed out from a busy day at work, the easiest solution to cope with the commute is to listen to soothing music on my phone. Music is proven to boost your mood and can really help you tune out the noise and bustle of the tube. You could also preload your device with a talking book or language lessons if you wanted to mix up your selection of easy listening.
5. Location, Location, Location
Get location savvy on your commute. I am 5'3" tall which is great because often when a tube is packed there is still room for me to fit on, less so for much taller, bigger men. However the flipside is that unfortunately I am arm pit height. On a hot summer’s day being arm pit height is not a pleasant thing. Therefore when you wait to board the train consider the best places for you to stand or sit, that could slightly enhance your journey. Small changes to your tube strategy could make you a lot more comfortable.
6. Be Productive
Try and use your commuting time constructively. Use this time to think about projects at work, so that when you arrive you are full of ideas and busting to get started. Alternatively work on some personal hobbies such as knitting, crosswords or online blogs. You will feel so much better if you achieve something on your commute rather than just playing endless levels of CandyCrush.
7. Smile and Be Happy
Rather than staring avidly at your phone and sending endless text messages use this hour to relax and let your mind simply rest, without any thoughts of worries. Smile at the other commuters, be happy in your life and be thankful for another great day. A positive attitude can overcome most perils and chores in life and I think with commuting, accepting the circumstances and embracing the journey with a positive outlook can make an incredible difference.
The most important thing about commuting is to remember the journey is taking you to somewhere you want to be; helping you achieve other goals in your life. Don’t begrudge the commute, but instead consider solutions to make this part of your life easier. I really do think that some soothing music and positive outlook can make all the difference to your day. Start the right way and make sure that you survive your journeys with minimal disruptions. What advice would you give to others commuting by Tube or Metro?