6 Ways to Reduce Commuter Stress

Commuting has been found to be one of life’s least enjoyable activities and has been labeled “the stress that doesn’t pay”. Longer commutes are systematically associated with lower rates of well-being. As the summer approaches, many of you will be commuting to work, internships, and volunteer opportunities. And therefore, here’s an illustrated article on ways to reduce the commuting stress!

  • It is important to relax and try to be one with nature during travelling. Try to feel the wind and generate positive thoughts.

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  • Switching off mobile devices and just spending time with yourself will do you loads of good! It’ll allow you to gather positive energy, plan your day and reflect on life.

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  • Commutes can be productive too. Just bring your planner so you can go over meeting points, figure out what you’ll cook for dinner or make a shopping list! Those 10-20 minutes you get while commuting can serve as a good break where you can gather your thoughts.

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  • A lot of us are sleeping with open eyes during commuting! While being immersed in thoughts is acceptable, it is also necessary to pay attention to your body. Feel the rhythm of the moving vehicle, the sounds, sight and smells around you. Being more aware of your surroundings will make you feel alive.

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  • Everyone is late once in a while, but there’s always a great way to cover it up. Your co-workers will neglect your slip-up if you are already to throw yourself into work as soon as you reach the workplace. Instead of being frazzled, take control of the situation and show leadership!

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  • Sometimes, people travelling with you might cause troubles. Crying babies, loud music, and too much talking or just bad vibes. The reasons could be anything, but remember to be polite because you don’t want to start your day on a bad note.

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Thus, by taking a mindful approach to commuting, you’ll learn how to deal with stress effectively. It’ll provide you with a smooth and stress-free time, all to yourself, where you can grow as an individual.

Hope you found this article insightful!

-Nidhi

Source for all images: Auto Insurance Center

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Budget Travel

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Many travel blogs are written by the people who have travelled the entire world, sold everything to be a nomad, see everything in the world traveler. However, I do not believe in that idea. Also, I do not think you need an art history to appreciate great art.

When people see the places I have travelled on my Facebook page, some imagine I must have a lot of spare income or I must be a trust find baby. I am not one of those. I do not have a lump sum of money to spend on travel. All my travel has been due to the perks of a consulting job I was in.

People’s perception about travel needs to be changed. If you do some planning, some research, and prioritize travel in your life, it is quite affordable. This week’s blog is to give you a deep insight on how to make your travel affordable.

So here’s the deal:

Flights:

A flight ticket could be the only expensive purchase you are going to make in your entire trip. A coach round trip ticket from the US to Europe usually runs anywhere from $700-1200 on average, depending on the season. The trick is: don’t buy your ticket with actual money. Buy it with fake money called points or miles. The trick is to know which cards to open. These cards usually aren’t well advertised, so you’ll have to do your research. Usually Amex and British Airways Visa cards offer huge bonuses when you sign up.

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FrugalTravelGuy.com: This is a great blog for those interested in staying up to date on the latest frequent flyer news and credit card offers.

Flyertalk is another one which you might want to look at. It might seem to be quite intimidating if you’re a beginner, so I would recommend starting from the top and working your way down.

Rooms:

There are credit cards for this too which offer reward points to frequent travelers or some loyal customers to a certain brand of hotels. This might even earn them free stays.

Hostelworld.comThis room search and booking site will expand your idea of what a hostel can be. Often, you’ll find that smaller, inexpensive, and independent hotels will list rooms on Hostelworld even if they have a website and brand themselves as a hotel or bed & breakfast. You can search for rooms nearly anywhere in the world, filter by room type (most hostels have private bedrooms, some with private bathrooms and some with shared bathrooms), location (there’s a handy map view), price and more. It’s also low risk – you just pay a small 10% down payment when you book and the rest when you check in.

Airbnb.comI am a huge fan of this service. A major disruptor to the online travel booking industry, Airbnb offers you the ability to reserve a room in a private apartment directly through someone who lives and is local to the place you’re going. You can book entire apartments or just spare bedrooms, allowing you the choice between having a cozy place all to yourself. A few other perks can involve more amenities than a budget hostel or hotel may offer, such as the ability to wash your own laundry or cook your own food if you need to (it is an apartment, after all).

Timing and Trip Length:

Visiting a country in the right time of the year is very important. I intend to see the world, and I have to do it in 2 weeks per year. So, I compromise. It can be a little tiring, but I don’t take these trips necessarily to relax – I take them to recharge in other ways. Travel is my passion and I crave new cultural experiences. For those who’ve also been bitten by the travel bug, you get it. The rest of the world will go on thinking that we’re rich, and I suppose that’s fine.

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-Naman

(Photo source: author)

Loving Through the Distance

When an international student tells you that their college “struggle is real,” I advise you to listen to them. From culture shock and extreme climatic differences, to the sudden inflow of long-distance relationships, there is a lot that changes for internationals. How do you travel down these roads riddled with potholes in a Ferrari? Believe me, there’s a way to navigate this road of patchy Internet service and large time zone gaps without damaging the car.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. As someone in a long distance relationship this couldn’t be truer, but it’s not as easy as missing someone and realizing all the reasons you love them. When you can’t see the person you love regularly, the first challenge besides the inevitable one of communication is trust. How do you trust a person who you can’t see as often as you’d like? While that may be an aspect of every relationship, it is exaggerated with added distance. It’s very easy to become paranoid and over analyze every word of a text, to get to a point where for every minute “he” takes to reply you is a different “female” he is cheating with.

While I am no expert, the truth is while distance makes the heart grow fonder there are growing pains too. You’ll have to learn to fight through Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, or whatever your mode of communication is. You will both make sacrifices just to keep the relationship alive, whether that is sacrificing sleep because of large time zone gaps or food because the one hour you had for dinner is also the only time that your partner is free to talk. The worst part will be watching other happy couples walking around campus; while deep down you are happy for them, you are very bitter. Holidays and birthdays will be the worst. Trying to find gifts online is not as easy as it seems especially if your partner is very picky! Valentines Day will be the day you dread and all you’ll want to do is sleep through it all to avoid all the roses, kisses, cute surprises and gifts that could have been yours.

As depressing as all of this seems, there are ways around everything. Go out, make friends go have fun. Go to a party or two, laugh and enjoy your time apart knowing you’ll channel all the “I miss him/her” and the “If only we were together” into the time you will have when you are together again.

Enough about the mushy love stuff. All the struggles of a romantic relationship seem to pale when you think of the fact that you have to go through it all also with your friends and family. How do you get your mum who barely touches her phone except to answer the phone, to reply to your messages on WhatsApp or Viber because as the broke college kid that you are you simply cannot just call her? How do you politely tell her not to call you at 7am on a weekend just because it’s 5pm back home and she feels she’s waited long enough for you to wake up? In addition to all this, depending on where home is, the few times you get to Skype or WhatsApp call, the local Internet decides to make life difficult and become patchy, leading to lots of repetition and frustration.

Now, it really isn’t all doom and gloom, there is always the excitement of hearing your native language if you, like me, are the only Clarkie who speaks that language. That energy that bubbles over when you and your best friend are catching up on Skype, and you have so much to tell each other that you’re literally jumping with excitement. The love you feel when your mother notices that you’re sick, again, and she starts listing all the different home remedies and concoctions she would be making you if you were home. Endlessly planning all the things you and your friends are going to do when you are together again, all the food your mother is going to make you when you come home, all the shenanigans you and your siblings will get up to over the summer. All of those small moments make it all worth it.

Something I think we all do, some of us openly and others privately, is we plan trips we know we will never take. Trips to visit boyfriends, friends and family. We scout the Internet for the best flights, hotels and even down to the perfect dates to travel, knowing that we either don’t have the money to make that trip or that the timing is simply off. Spending hours describing to your friend this perfect trip of yours, knowing deep down it’s not going to happen but simply enjoying the ability to, for those few hours imagining being there, getting lost in our own imagination until you unfortunately have to come back to reality.

Loving through the distance is not in any way, shape or form easy. No matter the relationship whether it be romantic, familial or friendly, all the struggles you go through to keep the relationship alive make you first and foremost a very creative person and second, make the reunion all the more exciting. So as you battle through all your personal challenges, remember, these challenges are going to help you grow and will only make you stronger.

-Ashleigh

(Cover photo by artist Peniel Enchill, source: http://www.penielenchill.com/romance/) 

Note from the editor: Ashleigh is a first year Clarkie and this was her first article as a blogger for The Things That Matter. Welcome to the crew, Ashleigh! 🙂