6 ways to stay calm during an overly crowded commute

Here’s how to stay calm the next time you’re stuck in a tight space on your way to or from work during a commute from hell.

Photo: Diego Torres Silvestre via Flickr

Have you ever spent a longer-than-usual train ride without a seat, pressed against other commuters on all sides, and clenching a railing for so long that you started to lose feeling in your fingers?

Maybe it hasn’t played out exactly like this for you, but I already know that almost all of you have at some point been stuck without a seat for a long time.

I have too — in fact, you just read the exact details of what happened during my commute this morning, all because of a huge delay.

Here’s how to stay calm the next time you’re stuck in a tight space on your way to or from work.

Put your backpack on the floor

Don’t go through the whole experience with your backpack or bag on – it’ll only be more crowded and uncomfortable for you. Chances are, you might even get a few dirty looks from other commuters.

So put your bag on the floor and give your shoulders and back a rest, even if you can’t sit down. Your body will thank you later.

Make sure you have an external charger and a snack handy

These things can literally make or break you at a time like this.

You won’t always have service, but having access to more battery life can be a lifesaver the next time you do. Extra power could also prove essential for calling for help if you get stranded somewhere, or need to communicate to your manager that you’ll be late coming into work.

Water and a snack can also help you keep your energy up. After all, you never know how long a train delay will last.

Give yourself a break — get off the train

Even the least claustrophobic person could find it challenging to keep their head above water on the slowest, most uncomfortable commute ever.

Sometimes, you just have to get off the train. So give yourself a break and exit at the next stop. Either change cars completely for a change of pace, or take a breather on the platform and wait for a less packed train to eventually roll into the station.

Celebrate all the little wins

In this situation, every stop equals real progress, so give yourself something to look forward to.

Appreciate every moment the train inches forward to your destination — and that you’re not stopped on the train tracks because of a delay — or when someone pressed against you unexpectedly gets off at a stop.

Eventually, you’ll get to where you’re going.

Use mindfulness techniques

The practice of mindfulness can really help you on a horrible commute – do things like looking around without passing judgment, paying attention to what’s going on around you and using social media the right way.

Not familiar with this method? Practice mindfulness in your everyday life, and you might just have an easier time with it during a long delay.

Close your eyes

This could be a big plus! I tried this today and it helped me stop focusing on all the people around me, and tune into the movement of the train.

Just be sure that you’re holding onto a railing in case there’s an unexpected lurch forward.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.