If back to school (aka back to carpool line) has you dreading the longest part of the day, you’re not alone. For me, using every minute effectively counts during our busy days. This means sitting in park unable to do much of anything is driving me crazy. If you’re like me, you’re probably looking for a way to keep yourself entertained and feel productive (besides endlessly scrolling social media). Here are 10 easy ways to pass the time while waiting in the carpool line:
1. Add photos to contacts
It’s simple, but something I love is seeing the caller’s face pop up on my phone instead of just their name. Sometimes I intentionally set a photo from a funny memory we shared together, just to add a little smile to my face before I say, “Hello!”
2. File my nails
Back in my pre-pandemic days, I loved the way a gel manicure would keep me looking and feeling professional for weeks on end. These days, I’m still avoiding any indoor spaces, leaving my hands to resemble the claws on a wild sloth. Throwing a nail file and buffer into my center console helps me keep a natural french-manicure look going.
3. Reconsider all life choices and the meaning of life
Just kidding, don’t do that without a box of endless tissues. The carpool line is definitely not long enough for this. Or just see what is going on around town this month.
4. Think of blog post ideas (cough this post cough)
Anyone else have their best ideas in the shower or while actively driving? In hopes of not forgetting the most recent incredible idea I had, I love using the voice memo app on my phone to capture my thoughts on the go. Once in park, I just talk to myself while capturing more details than I could possibly scribble on the back of a napkin.
5. Car yoga
Who says you need a mat to achieve stretching self-care? A little twisting can make a big difference in your day! Check out this site for some helpful images to get started.
6. Mindfulness practice
Maybe in combination with car yoga or maybe on its own, take some time to reflect on your day. Noticing any feelings of tension, taking deep breaths, and helping align yourself to a more regulated state are a few important ways to take care of you. Here are some ways to focus on visualization, breathing regulation, and thought refocusing.
7. Sing!! Carpool Karaoke!
“Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear; just sing, sing a song.” Sesame Street summed up so much in those lyrics. Windows up or down, depending on your comfort level, singing can do so much for boosting your mood. Belt out one of your favorite songs and you just might find someone parked next to you singing along too!
8. Clean the car
Do you know how much better my car looks when I have a few minutes to stare at the fingerprints and dust looking back at me? I keep a Swiffer, portable Windex wipes, and portable car cleaning wipes in my glove compartment so I can make this space feel like-new wherever I am. Reuse a plastic bag to capture any random trash too.
9. 20 minute (or less) podcasts
I hope you aren’t sitting there for more than 20 minutes, but if so, just double up on a few of these. Combine your listening with cleaning the car or filing your nails for bonus points. Here’s what I’m listening to:
- This is Branchburg (new for me, the preview sounded hilarious)
- Everything Is Alive (new for me, inanimate objects tell their story)
- How To Do Everything (Yes, I would like to know how to do everything)
- First Day Back (new for me, people raved about season one— mom describes her tricky return to work after extended maternity leave
- News of the day options: Up First, Plant Money, News Story of the Day, World Story of the Day
- Life Kit (bits of info to help with every aspect of #adulting)
- Short Wave (random science facts explained simply)
- Stuff Mom Never Told You (funny random things my mom definitely never told me)
- Pop Culture Happy Hour (helps me pretend to sound more cultured than I really am)
- At Home with Sally (this is a recommendation from Courtney. She finds it encouraging to moms and has a Christian perspective)
10. Tell someone you love them
Whether by calling or praying, sitting in a quiet car is a great time to reconnect with someone you love. Honestly, the line isn’t long enough for me to get in all the funniness my grandma has to share and her conversations make time fly by.