I recently started a new job that increased my commute a little bit. Since I spend more time in the car now, not only driving to work but also driving around as part of my job, I wanted to get creative in the ways that I spend my time in the car.
Not to say that you should ever drive distracted, but I do think there are better ways to spend that time rather than zoning out mindlessly to the radio. The radio kills me because of all the ads. Since I’m currently not shopping for unnecessary things, hearing advertisements constantly wears on my nerves a bit easier as I don’t need anything.
If you’re like me and are wanting to spend your drive time a little better, here are some options that I rotate between.
I will start with my favorite because I think the idea of audio books is AMAZING. As someone who loves to read but doesn’t always make the time for it, this has allowed me to get through so many books in such a short time. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve finished 8 books.
Now, that’s not JUST when I’m commuting. I also listen to them when I get home, when I cook dinner, while I grocery shop, etc. But this has allowed me to read things I have been wanting to read for a while and just haven’t yet. Arguably, you retain info better when it’s read to you than when you read it yourself. And the best part: it’s FREE!
I had Audible for a while a few years ago, and while it was great for new release options, I have found two apps that I use equally to find other options. The first is called Hoopla, and the second is called Libby. Both allow you to “borrow” audiobooks with a library card.
No library card? Don’t fret, I didn’t have one either. You can usually get one online from your lobal public library. I didn’t even have to go in person, I literally signed up on my phone with the Kansas City Public Library. It was that easy.
I use both apps because Libby is pretty popular and for some titles, there’s a waiting list. So while I wait, I listen to other things on Hoopla. So far, it’s been awesome.
HANDS FREE PHONE CALLS
Since I’m far away from my family, we talk on the phone a lot. We text daily, but there’s something about hearing someone’s voice that makes your day better.
When I’m in the car and know my mom or sister are free, I’ll call and chat with them to catch up on life or run an idea by them.
Now, to be clear, I never HOLD my phone while driving. That’s dangerous, don’t do it. But I have a hands-free device that I use to keep things safe.
If you haven’t talked to someone in a while, give them a call and catch up. Or return calls that you need to make for work. Either way, it’s productive.
When I’m not listening to a book, I’m listening to a podcast. Podcasts are awesome ways to stay informed about your favorite topics, learn something new, get tips for things, or pretty much anything else.
My husband gets credit for this one because he listens to podcasts all day at work, so he got me turned on to them. Although he listens to something entirely different than I do (he’s borderline obsessed with the Joe Rogan Experience), he gets so excited to tell me about the people and things he learns about while listening, so I had to look into the idea of podcasts a little further.
I personally love The Minimalists, An Uncluttered Life, The Goal Digger Podcast and The Influencer Podcast. Minimalism and crushing personal goals are practically the only things I care about in life right now. I’m also trying to find a great one for young Christian women that talk about business, goals, or simple living so if you know of one, please comment below and tell me about it!
MEDITATION – BE IN THE MOMENT
No, I don’t mean closing your eyes and zoning out. But there are really cool ways to just chill out while you drive to help you relieve some stress.
Listen to relaxing music (sounds are best, or classical if you’re into it). Something with no words that you can just feel. Let your mind relax and don’t overthink for a little bit.
Have you heard of the Calm app? I highly recommend it. It has a lot of sounds and music to listen to that will help you relax.
We spend so much time thinking about what’s next that we forget to enjoy being in the present moment. Relaxing and taking this time to yourself is so important! Especially if you’re a parent because it’s probably some of the only legit alone time you get.
You don’t need to worry so much about what meetings you have today or what you’re going to make for dinner. You need to actually RELAX for a few minutes and let your mind take a breather. We spend so much time focusing on the next thing and the thing after than we’re constantly stressed out and about to snap. Take this time alone to chill out.
You may think praying and meditating are the same thing, but I disagree. Meditation is more about clearing your mind and relaxing. Trying not to think about much of anything. Prayer is a conversation and actively talking to God.
Driving around is one of my favorite times to pray. I basically just talk to God and thank Him for all of the wonderful things in my life. When I’m really struggling and things are hard, I tend to talk out loud more. I find it more cathartic that way. Sometimes all we need is to talk it out, even if it’s just us and God.
Having quiet time to talk to God and pray is a wonderful way to start your day. By giving thanks and thinking about all of the good things you have going on, it will automatically put you in a better mood.
Even when things are hard, it’s so, so important to remember to give thanks for the good things. They may be harder to see, but they’re there. Your health, your family’s health, you have a job, a home, food to eat. Even if one thing is bad, you are still blessed in countless ways and saying thank you in the hard times is even more valuable in my opinion.
I recently read the book Uncluttered by Courtney Ellis and she quoted someone in the book who said her two most common prayers were “help me, help me, help me!” and “thank you, thank you, thank you!”. I laughed because this is extremely relateable . Sometimes we get to the end of our rope and we’re begging for help, then a break comes and we can feel the relief wash over us like water. Take some time on your car ride to be thankful for all you have and have a conversation with God.
What is your favorite way to enjoy your commute? If I missed something, please comment below and share your tips!