How to Handle the Work Commute Stress

One thing I noticed about long commutes was that they tended to take all my energy away. By the time I got to work my coffee was gone and I was tired again, I had wasted precious energy on 40 minutes or more of car-dancing, I had already talked to seven people at red lights, and I had panicked about traffic as well as mostly everything in the world.

I couldn’t sustain this any longer and I knew I had to do something. I’ve kind of narrowed it down into four basic strategies:

1. Wake Up Early and Leave Early
The classic mistake: wake up late, leave late, freak out for an hour in the car, get to work late. It’s true that the initial moment of getting out of bed is close to impossible, but when I wake up early, stretch, and drink a little water, I’m eternally grateful for the extra few minutes. I can leave earlier, too. And then in the car when I have to stop and let a pedestrian cross the road, instead of shouting “WHY IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?” I can let the pedestrian go in a pleasant manner.

2. Pace Yourself
I’ve started trying different things to conserve my energy in the mornings. The first thing I realized is that, as much as I may want to listen to energetic rock-and-roll while chugging espresso at 7 a.m., it helps a lot to put on some soothing music and just calmly zone out during the car or bus ride. It saves my energy for when I get to work and keeps me in the right mood for it. The other thing that helps is to get your lunch and/or breakfast ready at night, so you can just grab it without rushing on your way out.

3. Or, Don’t
Feel free to get excited on your way to work. Car rides can be fun if you have the right tunes, the right weather, and the right mood. Roll down your window, drink your espresso drink (or your green tea), and think happy thoughts.

4. For Goodness Sake, Talk Yourself Out of It
As the cars creep inch by inch down the highway, stopping short just so, it helps to keep reminding yourself: I will not stress. It’s okay. I will not stress. This is not the end of the world. This also has to do with pacing yourself. What’s the point of wasting all that energy so early on? I ask myself all the time: Is this situation really worth feeling pure terror over? If not, just relax. Breathe. It’s going to be all right. Calm yourself with words.

Going nuts in the morning is no fun. But when I wake up early, pace my energy (or don’t), and remain composed in the face of unfortunate driving conditions, I find that the long morning commute is totally manageable and even a good chance to start your morning off right.

How to Watch What You Eat At Work

Do you eat like a gem on the weekends and then, at work, find yourself torn between the cheeseburger and the $3 mozzarella sticks?

It can be difficult to maintain your diet during the week, but I’ve found that a few things work really well for me:

Fruits with skins are cheap, healthy, and easy to bring to work because you don’t even have to worry about keeping them on a clean surface. As a germaphobe I am particularly into bananas, kiwis, oranges, and grapefruit and it’s fun to just have them rolling around on your desk, waiting to be eaten.

Easy Sandwiches
There’s a lot you can do with just some bread, arugula, already-cooked chicken sausage, a piece of cheese, and a microwave. Just saying.

This is probably the holy grail of maintaining your diet at work. If you just muster up the mental willpower when you get home at night to cook a big dinner, you can bring your leftovers the next day. You won’t even have to consider the $1.25 Cup ‘O Noodles.

Raw Veggies
This is for the go-hards… A Tupperware of raw veggies never hurt anyone. Just eat them along with your granola bar and your easy sandwich. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, even cucumber (although you’ll have to slice that up and at that point you might as well make a salad). Also—if you do bring a salad, pack your dressing separately. Salads aren’t gross, wet mushy salads are gross.

Be patient with yourself and try to bring one healthy thing a day. Or, at the cafeteria, buy one healthy thing instead of one unhealthy thing. It’s easy to eat healthy on the weekends, when you’ve got time and the willingness to spend a bit more money, but it’s important not to let work get in the way of a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Birthday Decorations To Surprise A Co-Worker

Well, let’s get started! So you want to have a nice surprise celebration for a co-worker and make birthday decorations to hang around the office. That’s a great idea.


The first place you should decorate is his or her desk or cubicle.

  1. One great decoration is Garland. Now you know you have a great deal of paper around the office so make that your primary object to use. You can begin with cutting an 8-1/2” x 11” sheet in half width wise and cut as many of those as needed to print Happy Birthday, one letter on each half sheet and the person’s name on the paper also. If you have any string or ribbon around the office use that for hanging the garland. Use a hole punch to make holes in the paper and thread the string or ribbon through the holes to hang the garland. If you do not have string or ribbon, you can make a paperclip chain and attach the paper to the paperclips to hang the garland. Find some markers and write Happy Birthday or other nice things about the person on the paper and use colored paper wherever possible. Makes it bright!
  2. Their Chair! Hang a Happy Birthday sign down the back of their chair in a vertical position. If you can get some netting or lightweight fabric, it is fun to make a large bow and put that on the back of the chair also.
  3. Necklace! Works for either a man or a woman. Make a chain necklace with paperclips and hang little paper “charms” on the paperclips. These could be pictures or drawings or something nice written about the birthday person. Then hang them around the paperclip necklace and after you all yell SURPRISE you can put this around the person’s neck.
  4. Make a banner with a birthday cake on it and happy birthday typed out from your computer. You can usually find some free clipart online to copy and blow up and print it tiled on your computer. Use a glue stick and glue the pages together to make the banner. Hang the banner on the table you will use to serve the cake or goodies everyone will be bring to eat!
  5. And last, the birthday card. Find some cardboard or more colored paper and make a great big birthday card!  Now if someone in the office is talented enough to draw the front of the card, Great!  If not, go back into that free clipart file on the computer and print something funny out and glue stick it to the paper or cardboard. Make sure everyone signs the card and stand it up in the birthday person’s cubicle.
  6. If there are gifts given to this person, pile them up nicely on their desk and make the cubicle look festive.

Walla!!!! You have made a great and bright and festive area to celebrate that co-worker’s birthday with everyone in the office. And the decorations didn’t you cost anything at all!

Hope it’s a great celebration!