Thursday, January 19, 2017

The One Small Change I've Made to My Commute

The other night, after work, I had my gym gear in my bag and was signed up for the HIIT bootcamp class near my house. But as the evening progressed, I was convinced that I felt "under the weather" and that I was too tired to do a bazillion jumping jacks in front of a roomful of women I didn't know to a blaring soundtrack of the Top 40 chart.

Ten minutes later, squashed between a man's armpit and a girl who wouldn't give up reading her magazine in favor of holding on to a rail so she leaned on me instead, I tumbled out of the tube's unbearably busy Central line and was filled with a rage so deep-seated, I couldn't wait to do a bazillion jumping jacks in front of a roomful of women I didn't know to a blaring soundtrack of the Top 40 chart.

I think I practically ran to class that night. And, luckily for me, the warm-up for class that evening involved a lot of air-punching.

Let's just say that I got a great workout.

I live about 20 minutes away from the closest underground station (and about 8 minutes from the Overground) and, prior to the beginning of the year, didn't think twice about hopping on the bus to get to the tube, since the stop was just 30 seconds from my front door.

But. I recently started walking to the station instead - rain or shine - and my goodness. It's made such a big, big difference to my day and my overall mental health. Getting that fresh air first thing in the morning and walking at a brisk pace (because I swear I'm London's fastest walker - ask any of my friends/family and they'll tell you so) makes me arrive at work awake, alert, and refreshed.

In fact, since I've been walking (it's been about 3 weeks now), I've noticed I'm less anxious when I'm in stressful situations (the tube repeatedly stopped in a tunnel for eight minutes at a time the other day and, while two people around me had panic attacks, I was able to stay calm) and I generally feel a little more ... positive.

Another plus? I've been getting to work earlier, which is blissful when you're someone who values "settling in" to her workspace every day before everyone else arrives.

I've also traded out my sugary snacks for apples, oatcakes and cashew nut butter (but who am I kidding - let's see how long that lasts!), which has helped stabilize my blood sugar levels so I don't crash and end up eating anything sweet within reach.

I had no idea something so simple (and, I'll admit, something John had been suggesting to me for ages) would make such a huge difference.

What is your commute like? Do you drive? Walk? Take public transport? Let me know!


  1. This is great! I start my new job next week and I've been trying to work out if I should walk the 20-30 minutes or drive. Walking would be a good way to get exercise in (if it's not too hot!).

    1. Yay, how exciting, Jane! I bet it'd be a nice walk too, where you are (though perhaps a bit hot). I guess it depends on what time you'd start in the morning, but if you started earlier, maybe it'll be cooler? Jealous of your warm weather right now! Let me know if you decide to walk your commute!

  2. Ahh I feel you the daily pain of commuting Jaime, every morning my train is jam packed and there isn't enough room to open up my book. For the last few days I've been listening to podcasts to zone out and not be presence in the uncomfortable tube journey, it really helps!

    I love walking too, I've glad you've found a way to relax and get some fresh air everyday!

    P.S I'm going to Amsterdam soon so going to read your posts :)

    Hanh | hanhabelle

    1. Hanh! Firstly, I am SO excited that you're going to Amsterdam! How long are you going for and where will you be staying? I can't wait to see your photos. I LOVED following your trip to Vietnam!

      Podcasts are such a great idea ... I never got into them because I couldn't really concentrate on the content, but I'm thinking it will be nice to listen to on my walk!! Any you'd recommend? xo

  3. This is so great to read - especially after my recent horrific 3 hour commute. My biggest fear of ever moving to London in the future is the commute!!! So it's good to hear just 20 mins of walking can improve it! If I could, I'd have a walking commute forever - my commute last year involved 40 minutes of walking each way but even in pouring rain it was SO much better for my mental health to get that fresh air and vitamin D!

  4. I would love to be able to walk to work, but I always have to get the train because of the distance. However, because I work shifts it's usually not so rammed with commuters, and it means I get a seat, some personal space and a view out of the window, which is half the stress gone! I tend to read and listen to podcasts*, which helps keep me sane and switch off before and after work. But I am very jealous of your walking and HIIT sessions!

    (*Currently listening to the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno - it's one of the funniest, if crudest/cringiest, things I've ever heard! I so recommend...)

  5. So wonderful that you saw so many good changes! I am the laziest person in the world. My work is within 15-min WALK from my house and I still have Justin drive me every morning. Bad, very bad. You got me thinking I should put stop to it and start moving more, even short walk like that to/from work could definitely bring benefits. I did start eating healthier though (bringing my own lunch so that I am not tempted to buy a burger for lunch), and workout 3-5 times a week.


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