Collectively, Americans spend roughly 500,000 years stuck in traffic — nearly 4.2 billion hours. That’s a lot of time in the car! If you’re like most of us, you’ve found yourself frustrated while driving a time or two. Here are some tips to help you stay happy on your commute:
1. Leave a 5-10 minute cushion for yourself. Many people get anxious in the car because they get caught in traffic and end up being late for an appointment or meeting. Avoid feeling rushed by leaving yourself a little more time than you think is necessary.
2. Listen to great music. Turn on your favorite song and take time to enjoy it. You can even sing along if you want! I know I do.
3. Check the traffic. Avoid getting caught in traffic by looking at real-time traffic updates on a site like sigalert before you leave so you can plan your route accordingly.
4. Take another mode of transportation. Whenever you can, take another mode of transportation like the bus, train or your bike. Mixing it up will allow you to notice new things, decrease your stress and meet new people.
5. Practice an act of kindness. Help make someone else’s day a little smoother by practicing an act of kindness like letting a car merge into your lane. Even if you get to your destination 30 seconds later, you’ll feel better about your commute.
6. Take the scenic route. Stray away from your regular routine and go on a mountain road or drive along the beach. It’s hard to have road rage when you’re among beautiful scenery. Just to be sure to keep your eyes on the road :).
How much time do you think you spend in the car a day? What are your favorite songs to listen to?
As Happsters, we know that there is no greater joy than spreading happiness to others. It is particularly rewarding to spread happiness in places where happiness is usually spread thin. Where does the majority of the world spend their time and begrudgingly so? The workplace.
Kelli and I are lucky enough to work for IDEA Health and Fitness Association, a company that truly cares for the health and happiness of its employees. After all, there are countless studies correlating health and happiness, so as a health and fitness association we want to practice what we preach! I would like to share simple ways to improve your happiness and the happiness of your coworkers by creating a Wellness Program where you work.
It starts from the top.
First and foremost, enlist the backing of someone in charge. This person does not have to participate in the Wellness Program, he or she simply needs to make it known that the Program has the support of the management. This might appear to be a tall order but remember, doubt killed more dreams than failure ever would! Approach your boss with the idea of forming an internal wellness program and committee or simply creating some onsite health projects. He or she will be impressed by your initiative and willingness to improve company health. The rise in healthcare costs is so drastic that a company would be foolish not to enlist the help of willing employees to combat this growing issue. If you need help convincing your management team to start a wellness program, this list of “Top 10 reasons why your company needs an Employee Wellness Program”should help:http://www.wellnessquotes.com/top10-reasons-why-your-company-needs-an-employee-wellness-program.html.
Here are some suggestions for what you can do at your company to make the environment a healthier and happier place. The hope of having a Wellness Program is to not only improve employee health, but also start a shift in company culture toward a health-conscious population.
Your coworkers (or employees) are your greatest asset!
Start with square one: Ask your coworkers what would make them happier at work. What would be one thing they are willing to do to improve their health? At IDEA, we send out a yearly Happiness Survey to gage company morale and request suggestions for improving the work environment.
We also have a Wellness Committee that hosts biweekly meetings to plan wellness events, brainstorm ideas for improving company happiness and discuss the happenings in the subcommittees which are made up of Events, Celebrations and Recognitions, Tracking and Participation. All our subcommittees work on specific aspects of wellness that we share with the Committee as a whole.
Find out what skills and expertise you have in house.
At IDEA, we offer meditation, CORE, yoga and weight lifting classes, all taught by IDEA employees that share their passion for fitness with their fellow employees. You may not have fitness professionals on staff to teach classes, so another option that would be easy to introduce is what we like to call a “Wellness Walk”. These walks can become a staple of your day and company culture. Most likely there are groups of staff members that take a lunch break at the same time and it is well worth organizing a walk so that you can all go together. As little as 10-15 minutes will leave you refreshed, energized and with a good dose of vitamin D. It is also a great way to bring employees together that do not regularly have the opportunity to socialize and share ideas.
Vending Machines Out, Healthy Snacks In!
Petition to get the normally candy-filled vending machines removed and provide healthy snacks to keep employee brainpower churning out productivity instead! At IDEA, we offer nuts, granola bars, apples and yogurt to keep our minds sharp. The snacks are provided by IDEA and partially funded by employee donation.
Lunch n’ Learn
Lunch n’ Learns have been some of the most well attended activities the Wellness Program has provided. We can’t all be experts at everything, so enlist an expert! There are so many experts on happiness that can give an inspirational presentation. It also demonstrates to the employees that the company truly cares for their health and happiness.
Teach Your Passion
Every employee has a passion and most likely they want to share it. Next month, we will be launching our “Teach your Passion” series where employees share an interest with fellow employees.
We are hosting:
Vision Board Creation
Cooking Demo (Weekday Meal in 30 Minutes)
These are all suggestions from IDEA employees that want to share their passion. The list could be much longer depending on what your employees want to share. Each session will take no more than 45 minutes and they will be hosted during lunchtime.
The possibilities are endless! Teach Your Passion allows employees to be create at work, share something important in their lives and provides another opportunity to socialize with coworkers in a casual environment.
Spread the Word!
The Happsters are committed to spreading happiness everywhere we go because we know that health and happiness go hand in hand. If you’re interested in improving your company’s health, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. We are bursting with ideas and we’d love to hear yours!
Throughout the year, I will be contributing to the Happster blog on wellness in the workplace and all the challenges that go with it. I will highlight the events and project our Wellness Committee is tackling as well as current wellness trends. Feel free to contact me if there is a particular topic of interest you would like to read about or you want to share the successes of your own program!