An interesting article was posted on grist.org yesterday. It discussed a new Swedish study from Umeå University which show that a long commute increase the risk of divorce in married couples. Now this isn’t happy news, but it is easy to understand why it might be like that. A long commute can really be tiering. Early mornings, late nights, stress and just general bad mood can really put a strain on any relationship, especially if both are having long commutes. In other words, if you are commuting long distances, make sure to find something either relaxing or interesting to do. Preferable both. And to avoid the commute all together of course!
Our own dr Magnus Kuschel working on the commute!
First of all, why not take the breakfast to the morning train? Why waste time on it during morning, when you got some 40+ minutes of dead time half an hour later anyway? The newspaper is another such thing which can be brought and read on the train. That way you save some time during the stressful morning and you get something to do for the morning commute. Every morning you can see women putting their face on during the train ride. As long as that can be done in a hygienic manner, why not? What really matters is to keep occupying oneself with something that saves you time and which can help you get some more sleep or too stress off.
Another thing to do is to get your surfing done on the train ride. A smartphone or a laptop (notebook) or a wap phone gives some great opportunities and can cut time on those things during the evening when you want to spend time with each others. And you can adjust your Commute Greener! baseline while doing the surfing as well! Well, seriously, responding to mail, sending e-mails, facebooking, twittering and reading blogs or news of one kind or the other takes increasingly more time from us. That time won’t come out of our work time, or we get fired. It comes out of the evening. Why not get that out of the way and get cozy together with the one(s) you love and wind down instead?
Working from the train is another option, which can work out if you have the kind of job which let you do such a thing. Maybe you have reports to read and comment or write, power point presentations to make or check, information to take in etc. If you can work with that on the train it doesn’t always matter that you leave early, as you are still working. Just in another place. While on the move.
And then there is the telecommute option, if it is a possibility. If it is possible to work from home a couple of days/week, you not only save time and CO2, you can get the chance to sleep in a bit and get a rest from the daily journeys. Winding down and relaxing for a day/week can be a godsend, and make you more effective and less irritated, which in turn makes for a better relationship.
To summarize, a long commute can be a pain. With increased stress and irritation it can break relationships and make for a lot of negative things. So turn it around. Plan ahead. Make the commute into something positive, like getting out a bit earlier in the afternoon, surfing and doing “errands” on the computer/phone to neat you more time for relaxation later. Create time for yourself. It isn’t as good as shorten the commute, but it sure helps a great deal. At least in my opinion, and I used to commute some 220 km/day in total every day.