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Want to curb burnout and lengthen your lifespan in the hope that you will one day enjoy this elusive concept called the “work-life balance?” Stress is a dangerous thing, and much of it can come from our hectic lifestyles and environments. You put so much effort into waking up and getting to work on time that you may already feel ready to drop back into bed by the time you walk in the door. Maybe you’re still seething from that jerk who cut you off, or the super long red light that you’re blaming for your lateness. A solid mindfulness routine can really help you start your day off right. Here are a few ways to start your day off right with the perfect morning commute mindset.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Decision Fatigue


It’s worth the time to outline a to-do list and lay out your work clothes the night before. You stress less when you plan, and function more productively because you have less to think about. Factor out decision fatigue in advance — you can potentially face challenges at a more leisurely pace.

If you have less to stress about in the morning, you’ll also naturally get better quality sleep and wake up with more energy. So prep ahead of time so that you can shower, slip into your clothes, eat a healthy breakfast and feel ready to conquer the day.

Mindfulness Through Music

Earbuds make a decent defense mechanism against unwanted attention or conversation, but when you are more mindful of your music choices, it can set a tone for a great day ahead.

If you drive, it’s worthwhile to become a little more focused on what music you choose to listen to during your commute. Music can soothe your frustration and worry during your commute, and it can help you stay focused and motivated — similar to how you might use a workout playlist.

On average, folks spend 25 hours every week listening to music, and most of that is in the car. Did you know that choosing quieter music could help you make roughly 20 percent less driving mistakes? Eliminating that pesky fender bender before your workday will obviously make all the difference for your mindset. And why wouldn’t it? So think of your morning commute as a mini road trip. What’s on your playlist?

Brainstorm and Meditate


It’s natural to daydream when left alone with your thoughts. You shift your focus to what’s out the window or let your mind wander when you’re in the shower. The rolling of the wheels beneath you is part of your routine, and like meditation, if you allow yourself to remain present, you can fall into meditation.

Take traffic time to brainstorm new ideas for work and even your personal life. When you let go of stress and frustration, you release those highly-charged emotional storms that can give you headaches. Instead, you open yourself up to realizations and ideas — you may come up with the perfect idea for your next project.

Change What You Can Control

Don’t get upset over what you can’t change, such as the degree of traffic or other people’s bad driving. Focus on what you can shift to make your commute more pleasant and rewarding.

Try changing your mode of transportation. Take the side streets over the highway. Ride a bike or catch the bus. Maybe even walk!

Wake up earlier. Give yourself more time to ease into your day and commute if you have to deal with high traffic or other annoyances along the way.

Shift your schedule. Your boss may be more open to you arriving and leaving later than you think, as long as you work the same hours. If it means you feel happier and your productivity improves, your boss should see it as a win-win situation. Who knows? You may even get to work from home some days.

Make Commuting Mindful

Use these tips to make your commute more mindful and soothing. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the stress of the morning hustle and bustle, especially if you live in a city or other populous area where everyone else looks just as stressed out, tired and crabby.

Don’t fall victim to this way of living — every moment is special and can be seized for its benefits to your health and happiness. When you start your morning on the right note, the rest of your day flows more easily and peacefully, too.