Why Are Long Commutes So Stressful?

As if the struggle to find the perfect balance between work and social life wasn’t bad enough, long commutes are making people miserable by the day.

On average, a person spends around 2 hours commuting to and from work every day.

And this is definitely a contributing factor to the increase in their stress levels during long commutes.

So, why are long commutes so stressful? Read ahead to find out more!

7 Reasons Why Long Commutes Are Stressful

Here are 7 reasons why we think long commutes are stressful:


The lesser calories you burn, the more weight you gain. If you have a desk job, chances are that you mostly sit around and work the entire day.

Yes, you may take breaks in between but the strict work schedule and pressure can only give you so much time to walk around or get in some physical movement. Moreover, if the commute from your work to home is long, you can count two more hours spent being inactive throughout the day.

Therefore, due to the lack of calories being burnt in your body, you can start to gain weight. And the excess weight can be difficult to get rid of, especially if you do not have the time to exercise.

Besides, we are all aware of the health hazards that obesity brings about. Beginning from diabetes to other heart-related diseases, you might be at the risk of it all if you are overweight.


A sedentary life is actually pretty harmful to people. The less you move around, the more complications you begin to see in your physical and mental health.

Our jobs alone can keep us glued to our chairs for as long as 6-10 hours a day. So when we spend hours stuck in traffic on our way to or from work, it can add to the already existing joint or muscle pain.

Studies show that people who have longer commutes after a day’s work in the office do not have the willpower to put in even the slightest bit of exercise in their daily routine. And even if they somehow manage to have the willpower, the lack of energy to work out prevents them from making an effort at it.

Therefore, if you were wondering why you are not being able to put off weight regardless of following a strict diet, it may be because of the lack of bodily movement.

Job Satisfaction

One thing that people often forget to take into consideration while determining their overall job satisfaction is the commute.

Believe it or not, but every employee has a different experience with their day’s commute to or from the office. While one may use public transport, others may use self-driven or personal cars with designated chauffeurs to bring them to work.

Additionally, regardless of how they get to work, all of these people spend different hours in commute every day. Extensive research work on this subject matter has shown that in case you are spending long periods of time in commutes, chances are that your job satisfaction levels will decrease.

Yes, you will without a doubt take your wage, employee management and other factors into account. However, you must also take the commute into consideration as it has a significant impact on your job performance.

Waking Up Early

The longer hours you have to spend in traffic, the earlier you have to get up for work every day. In order to avoid as much traffic commotion as possible, more and more people opt for waking up early to show up for work.

However, what this essentially means is that for this to successfully work out, people have to go to sleep earlier. Meaning that you are basically having to sleep early to wake up early.

This would have been a healthy lifestyle choice had you not spent the early hours during the morning commuting or getting ready for work.

Negative Feelings

No one likes being stuck in traffic for hours. Recent studies have shown that people who have to spend long hours in commute are more prone to increased levels of chronic stress. And this is often the leading cause of hypertension.

Not to mention, the uncertainty of when you will reach your office every day itself is very stressful. As per experts, it is the unpredictability of the nature of the commute which causes people to worry so much.

For example, you may be stuck in traffic for hours, frustrated over the lack of control you have over the situation. Mostly upset because you have no idea when you will be reaching work.

Furthermore, sitting in traffic with absolutely nothing to do can make you extremely frustrated. This in turn can impact your overall mood at work and affect your performance. Additionally, it might also cause you to be upset with your relationships outside of work, causing more stress.

Thus, all of these negative feelings combined can cause you to feel genuinely unhappy in life.

Lack of Sleep

A study conducted in Sweden has shown that people who have to commute for longer periods of time tend to sleep a lot less.

Commuting causes exhaustion. So when you are already worn out by work, the added exhaustion from commute can affect your sleep. And lack of sleep can make you irritated to get through the next day. Which in turn affects the quality and performance of your work.

Ordering In

Since so many hours are spent in exhaustion and frustration while commuting, there is barely any energy left for people to cook for themselves. And as health experts suggest, ordering in all the time can be very unhealthy.

This deprives people of the healthy eating habits they could have otherwise adopted.


As you can see, it is always wise to opt for jobs which are closer to your house. This eliminates long hours of commute and promotes efficiency at work. You can even propose working from home at least once a week so that you don’t entirely wear yourself out.

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *