For those of us living in the New York City metro area, a long commute may feel like the norm. According to a recent study from Geotab, New York City has the longest commute time via car and public transit, with those commuting into the city spending an average of 43 minutes traveling. New York City was also identified as America’s least reachable city, with only 4% of commuters able to travel into the city in 30 minutes or less.
So how exactly does a long commute affect us? Long commutes have been linked to a number of negative health outcomes, including poor sleep, increased stress levels, unhealthy weight and even a shorter life. Commutes over 20 minutes increase the risk of burnout and those over 35 minutes can leave people cynical about their job.
A long commute might be inevitable, but there are many different ways to combat these negative effects. Try implementing one or more of the following activities to find wellness on your commute!
Read a Book 📖 Take this time to read a new novel. It not only helps the time pass quickly, but daily reading has been shown to reduce stress, improve memory and focus, and strengthen analytical skills. Try out our current Book of the Month book, Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday.
Meditate 🧘♂️ Meditation involves silencing the mind and focusing your attention inwards. Whether it’s by reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus, or improving relationships, research shows mindfulness works. New to meditation? Try the HeadSpace app!
Try Some Breathing Exercises ⏳ Breathing exercises help to control anxiety and stress and allow you to moderate responses to external pressures. Try this: Inhale four counts, hold for two, and then exhale for four counts. Be careful though, breathing exercises have been shown to improve sleep and some proponents even claim that it helps them to fall asleep in 1 minute.
Work on your Business ✍️ Whether it’s your full-time job or a passionate side gig, the train ride could be a great time to focus on your business before you find yourself in meetings, paperwork and emails the rest of the day. What we mean here is take conscious time to plan, analyze and reflect on your business strategies and goals. It is just as important to work on building your business as it is to working in the day-to-day of it. And the morning ride and evening trips home could be just the dedicated time you need to get your business to the next level.
Unplug 🚫 As tempting as it may be to spend your entire commute playing Angry Birds or browsing social media, spending technology-free time can benefit both mental and physical health. Studies have shown that constant use of technology can zap productivity and focus, increase stress, disrupt sleep, and stunt creativity. Shut off your phone or put it on “Do Not Disturb” for some or all of our commute and take this quiet time to reflect and be more mindful.
Move Around 🤸♀️ If your commute is more than an hour, it can be tiring and uncomfortable to stay seated the entire time. Try taking a seat for the first half of the commute and then standing for the second half to stretch your legs and awaken your muscles. While standing, practice good posture or try some breathing exercises.
Post-Commute Cleanse 🛀 A commute can leave you with unwanted stress and germs. Take a warm shower and wash any shoes or personal belongings to enjoy some extra detox after being jammed on a crowded subway or train.
We’ve all had those days. Missing the train, purchasing the wrong ticket or sitting next to that loud, chatty person way too early in the morning. Here are a few insider tips to making conquering the MetroNorth and making your commute more convenient and enjoyable.
Never Buy Tickets on the Train 🎫 Buy your tickets at the station or through an app on your phone. Tickets on the train are always more expensive. Plus, if you are rushing to catch the train, the app is an easy way to avoid the lines.
Sit in the Quiet Car 🤫 Most people don’t realize that there is a quiet car close to the back of the train. If you would like to incorporate any of the wellness techniques mentioned above, such as reading or meditating, the quiet car is the perfect. It’s usually less crowded so you are more likely to get a seat, and possibly even a row to yourself. And yes, conductors do enforce the no noise policy!
Bring Your Dog Along for the Ride 🐕 Ok, so maybe this isn’t exactly a tip for conquering the MetroNorth, but it sure makes for a better ride! Most people don’t know that you can bring your dog on the train (no size restrictions!) as long as its leashed. We recommend standing in the handicap area for your dog’s comfort and as a courtesy to others. And best of all, dogs ride free!
Take the Express Train 🚄 Avoid the local trains at all costs when possible. You can save valuable time by planning your trip around the express commute, which goes straight into Grand Central with no stops in between.
The Harlem Line 🔵 This central line passes through the land-locked towns and villages of Westchester County, ending in Wassaic in Dutchess County. White Plains is the major express stop on this line, with 14 morning Peak trains that go express into Grand Central within 45 minutes. Towns with the second most express trains during Peak AM hours include Scarsdale, Crestwood and Mount Vernon West.
The Hudson Line ❎ This line serves the western communities along the Hudson River, with the last stop being Poughkeepsie. Commuters can enjoy scenic views of the Hudson River. During peak AM hours, Croton-Harmon has 10 express trains, the highest of any town. Other stops with the highest express and partial express trains include: seven partial express at Ossining, six express at Tarrytown, two express at Greystone, two express with two partial express at Yonkers.
The New Haven Line 🔴 This eastern line serves lower Westchester County along the Long Island Sound up to Fairfield County, CT. From Stamford, you can branch out into various towns within CT. Stamford has a total of 19 express trains into Grand Central during peak AM hours, which is by far the greatest express stop on this line. Other towns with express trains during peak AM hours include six at Greenwich, five at Rye, and five at Larchmont.
Now that you’re equipped with some tools to make your commute more relaxing and stress-free, hop on board and explore the best of Westchester, Connecticut and New York City!
Also check out these homes in Westchester County and Greenwich, CT that are within walking distance to the train station 🚆🚶♀️🏡