How to make the most of your long commute


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Taking public transportation can be a stressful endeavor when you’re traveling for pleasure, and downright painful every day when you have to do it for work. But if you have to endure a long commute via public transportation, make the time work for you. Self-care is essential to getting through your work day while maintaining some modicum of sanity, so pack some essentials and transform your commute from a nightmare to something you might actually look forward to. Well, something you won’t dread.


AmazonBreathe easy

Dealing with a train delay? Stuck in the traffic jam from hell? Gearing up to sit through a never-ending PowerPoint Presentation? It’s time to take a moment and catch your breath. An aromatherapy balm is great because it gives you a hit of stress-relieving scent without subjecting fellow commuters to your fragrance. Badger Aromatherapy Balms combine essential oils in a base of olive oil and beeswax. They are certified organic and come in a variety of blends to accommodate your commute needs. Focus ($10.48, Amazon), an energizing blend of lemon verbena, rosemary, grapefruit, cardamom and ginger, will help you gear up to face the day, while Headache Soother ($8.44, Amazon), uses a mix of citrus, mint and lavender to ease the throbbing in your head that is all too common when dealing with public transportation for an extended period of time.


Drink it all in

Even if you can stop in a café or deli for a cup of coffee or tea on your way to the office, you’re probably going to need some caffeine or a thirst quencher just to get you going on the way there. Likewise, if it’s going to be a while before you make it home, it’s nice to have a beverage with you for the ride. The Contigo AutoSeal Transit 16 oz. Stainless Steel Travel Mug ($24.99, Target) was specially designed for travel. This mug seals up like a charm, preventing spills and leaks, while the CleanGuard lid helps the spout stay clean. Also, your drinks will be as hot or cold as you need them to be until you reach your destination, thanks to the excellent insulation.


Barnes & NobleThe write stuff

If you start viewing your commute as uninterrupted time to get things done, you’ll really start seeing all the possibilities, especially if you’ve got a side hustle. This is a great time to chart goals, make notes on current projects, brainstorm, or even do a post-work brain dump so you can get home feeling less bogged down by the events of the day. A small notebook like the Pocket-Size Decomposition Notebook ($5, Barnes and Noble) fits into even small purses and is perfect for jotting quick notes in more congested situations. They’re like your good old composition books from grade school, but eco-friendly and with way better paper.

Moleskine notebooks have become the ubiquitous symbol of creative thinking at work, and this legendary brand has updated their famous notebooks for the digital age. If you’re a fan of Evernote, you’ll love the Moleskine Evernote Business Notebook with Smart Stickers ($32.95, store.moleskine.com). The paper in this book is designed to make whatever you write or draw easy to read with the Evernote page camera, so you can just snap a picture of your handiwork and file it into Evernote with the rest of your documents, using the smart stickers as tags. This super cool option is perfect for those who love the old-school feel of traditional notebooks but still want the convenience of digital organization.


Cozy up

Summer is here, and you know what that means: air-conditioning everywhere. A large, lightweight scarf is your best defense to ward off the chill and offers a bit of comfort in the early light of dawn or after a long, exhausting day at the office. It also dresses up your work gear if you’re heading out to a fancy lunch during the day. The Isaac Mizrahi Live! 28” x 72” Floral Printed Scarf ($28, qvc.com) is the print for summer, while the Solid Textured Scarf ($28, qvc.com) is great for those who want a bold hit of color. Just fold it up and throw it in your bag. When you get cold, wrap it around you for warmth without bulk.

Now you can have a commute that’s as relaxing — or as productive — as you wish.