Long commutes are quite common in the UAE, with many people travelling daily to Dubai from Sharjah or Ajman, or from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, or vice versa. This means a minimum of 2-3 hours of drive or travel time per day, which can take a toll on your health in the long run, unless you practise self-care.
Here’s how you can transform your commute into something you look forward to every day:
• Stretch - If you have a desk job, find some time to stretch a little, either by walking around your workplace or by doing simple yoga poses near your workstation. Avoid going directly from sitting at your desk to sitting in a car or bus.
• Hydrate - Drink water before and during the journey, especially during the summer season.
• Take a mental break - Treat your commute as a transition from your work to your personal life, letting go of any stress and worries about projects, deadlines, etc. Avoid checking work messages and emails unless you really have to.
• Watch people - If you are using the bus or metro, you can focus on your surroundings and observe fellow commuters and even chat with them or at least make eye contact, instead of obsessing over how much time is left for you to reach your destination. This will also help you build empathy for others who have to experience the same commute as you.
• Listen to music - Maintain a playlist on your phone, which helps lift your spirit or listen to a fun radio station that does not require you to use your grey cells too much.
• Read - Catch up on your reading. A physical book or magazine is preferable so that you can cut down on screen time. If you are driving, you can listen to an interesting audiobook, provided that this does not distract you from the road.
• Call a friend - This might be the best time to call friends you haven’t been able to be in touch with or loved ones in your home country.
If you’re one of the many, many people that has to endure a long commute in the UAE just to get back and forth from work every day, make sure that your daily routine prioritizes your health. Lack of sleep, heightened stress, and fatigue from sitting down for hours on end can all have serious consequences on your wellbeing. Be sure to follow these tips to ensure your self care!