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How to Calm Your Mind as Commutes Commence Again

Woman riding transit listening to music

Commuting down the home hallway is coming to an end, and it's time to return to campus, be it on a full or part-time basis. Heading back after a significant amount of time away could make anyone feel anxious, but there are strategies for staying sane during your daily commute.

Whether you will be traveling to UCLA to start classes, or get back to the office, here are some tips to help you stress less along the way.

Plan Ahead

Have a stress-free morning and, start your day off on the right foot by preparing the night before. Lay your outfit out, plan your meals for the day, make sure your travel essentials are together (shoes, bag, keys, bus pass), and perhaps most importantly, get adequate rest each night. 

Eat Up

Don’t be hangry! Remember what the health experts say: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast gives you the energy you need to get things done, helping you focus at school or work.

Stress is also amplified by an empty stomach. Remember to pack healthy snacks to nosh on for the trip back home too.

Go Car-Free

Traffic congestion plus higher gas prices can equal aggravation out there on the road. Drive less and smile more with better alternatives to driving alone. Walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation to get to UCLA.

As an incentive to get campus commuters to hop on the bus or rail, there are new promotions on the university's public transit programs this fall — including a free quarterly pass offer! 

Incorporate Exercise

Get moving to manage stress. Exercise, like a walk or bike commute, has direct stress-busting benefits. It is meditation in motion. Physical activity pumps up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, improves mood, helps you relax, and lowers symptoms of depression and anxiety. Find bicycling to UCLA resources here

Distract Yourself

Groove to music to tame any frazzled nerves. Or listen to a podcast or audiobook. Either technique will direct your attention away from any negative feelings.

Turn your campus commute into contentment. Practice mindfulness, try breathing exercises or, tune in to guided meditations you can follow along with on your trip. 

Rethink Your Commute

Commuting does not have to be wasted time. A commute can be valuable “me” time. As many people realized this past year, a commute can serve as an important psychological transition and buffer between school or work and home. Research has shown that using commute time to enjoy simple activities can help reduce anxiety.

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