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How to Start Your Morning Off the Right Way

feelings for my soul

feelings for my soul

How you feel in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. Establishing a routine—which starts the night before—can improve your mood and energy level throughout the workday. Wake up on the right side of the bed and arrive at UCLA happy, healthy and ready to work with these tips.

Sweet Dreams

Eliminate decision-making tasks and get a head start by picking an outfit, packing a lunch and getting your bag together ahead of time. Fewer decisions mean less stress.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Maintaining regular hours helps you get up happier and more refreshed.  Solid research indicates 7-9 hours of proper sleep is needed for optimal performance, health and weight management. Getting a good night’s sleep is tied to health benefits like clarity of thought, quicker reflexes, better memory and mood — all of which make for a more productive Bruin.girl in bed using mobile phone late night happy relaxed

Limit electronic use at night, especially 15 minutes before tucking in. Resist the urge to switch on the TV and check email or social media.

Don’t upset your gut. Keep it happy during the night by avoiding alcohol, sugar and caffeine, which can disturb sleep. If you need a snack, eat within an hour of sleep and look for foods that contain tryptophan, melatonin, or magnesium, which promote sleep.

Sufficient sleep happens with the absence and subsequent appearance of light. The bedroom should be dark and quiet at night, but in the morning, let the sunshine in. Natural light signals your brain to slow its melatonin production and boost your adrenaline, telling your body to wake up.

Rise and Shine

Wake up with the body’s “gold standard fluid”:  water to rehydrate, fuel your brain, fire up your metabolism and flush out toxins.Woman stretching in bed after wake up

Move on to stretching to increase blood flow and send oxygen to your tissues. Begin with your fingers, hands, wrists and arm, then your toes, feet, ankles and legs, and finish with your neck and back.

If you’re up for it, get the mood-boosting endorphins flowing with exercise. A quick workout can include crunches, lunges, squats, push-ups or weights.

Increase your sense of wakefulness with a tasty, nutritious breakfast like eggs, Greek yogurt, oatmeal or a healthy smoothie with veggies and fruit.Healthy breakfast yogurt, granola, strawberry bowl in woman's hands

Finally, take a few minutes to prepare your mind before you set off for UCLA by having a moment of reflection. Mediate, pray, express gratitude, repeat positive thoughts, or do a short yoga session. Opening your day with constructive reflection will put you in the right head space for a happy, productive day.

Hitting the Pavement

How you commute impacts your well-being. Choosing a smart and sustainable mode of transportation like sharing the ride, taking the bus, biking or walking is better for you and the environment. Reduced costs, less stress, improved health and cleaner air make every morning better.



Commit to This New Year’s Resolution in 2018

Image of empty highway with numbers 2018 toward an upward arrow on the end of road

Image of empty highway with numbers 2018 toward an upward arrow on the end of road

Start 2018 on the right (carbon) foot(print) by resolving to give a smarter, more sustainable commute option a go. Switching from solo commuting to alternative transportation actually makes it easier to achieve popular resolutions like saving money, reducing stress, improving mental and physical health, optimizing time management and helping the environment.

Here are the keys to keeping your resolutions shorter than that holiday shopping list and how to become healthier and happier along the way.

Public Transportation

Riding transit has substantial benefits: Public transportation users get more physical activity (30 minutes of exercise is recommended each day), and taking transit reduces stress levels, keeps the air cleaner and saves you money. Buses are also safer than individual vehicles.

Take advantage of the subsidized passes UCLA offers students and employees. First time riders can try transit for free for one quarter through the Bruin Commuter Transit Benefit. Once you board, you likely won’t hop back into that tension-inducing driver’s seat.


Out with the solo commuting and in with sharing the ride in the new year. The UCLA Vanpool program has added routes in Orange County, Mid-City, Antelope Valley, Ventura County and the San Gabriel Valley. In addition to driving less and smiling more, there are some extra incentives to joining a vanpool: Drivers receive a discount on the monthly fare, and there are programs that reward riders who refer a friend and new members who join select routes.

Carpooling offers convenience and flexibility and saves on the cost of vehicle wear and tear. Bruins get to split the price of a carpool parking permit which costs less than what a single occupancy vehicle driver pays.

Sharing the ride means fewer cars on the road, resulting in less traffic congestion and pollution, which helps everyone and planet Earth.

Biking and Walking

Active commute alternatives allow you to exercise during your workday, leading to not just improved health but also economic, social and environmental benefits.

Ready to give up that parking permit as a New Year’s goal? Our Earn-A-Bike program geared toward employees and graduate students offers a free $400 bicycle package, including a hybrid or mountain bike, if you commit to not having a parking permit for two years.

Coming in 2018, Bruin Bike Share will connect with the Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood bike share systems. This means expanded mobility for the campus community. You’ll be able to take a bike share bicycle from a campus or Westwood Village hub and return it to one of the regional stations.

Walking to work is more than just good exercise. Walkers experience a greater sense of well-being and lower their risk of chronic conditions. Every step provides an opportunity to be outdoors and get some creative thinking time in as well.

If distance is getting between you and biking or walking, consider multi-modal commuting, and ride the bus or rail to make up the extra miles.

A new year is the perfect time to try something different, and our services and programs provide a perfect solution for the commuting resolution.

May your days on and off the road be merry and bright!




7 Free Commute Friendly Apps That Don’t Require Data

Whether you're on a bus, a plane or a subway, you can always anticipate that connectivity may be a problem. And even if your data connection is fine, there is still the fear of exceeding your monthly data usage, on top of the always-creeping anxiety that an emergency may occur during the worst possible time—like your commute.

Luckily for us, there are a handful of apps out there that can bring some excitement to your commute, with or without a wireless connection.

Here are 7 free apps that work off the grid so that you don’t have to.

  1. Spotify / iOS, Android

With the offline tool, Spotify allows all customers with an active subscription to play all their favorite tunes, without the need of a data connection. Here’s how:

When connected to WiFi, go to your music library and click on the Download switch at the top of the page, located right under the Image result for spotifyShuffle Play tool. Make sure the switch turns completely green.

Once you’ve turned on that switch, in a matter of seconds, all of your music should now appear with a small green, downwards pointing arrow, indicating that you have successfully downloaded all of you music. Now you can listen to all your favorite artists without the hassle of needing good connectivity!

  1. CityMaps2Go & Google Maps / iOS, Android

CityMaps2Go and Google Maps are your ultimate go-to apps for any kind of map directory assistance. Even if you're offline, these two apps enable you to plan ahead. You can download all the mapsImage result for citymaps2go of cities, provinces or villages that you may need to arrive at your final destination, all at just the tap of a button.

Heading somewhere obscure? No problem. Both CityMaps2Go and Google Maps have over thousands of directories to choose from!

  1. Google Drive / iOS, Android

Itching to put those finishing touches on that memo you've been working on? Need to start brainstorming for your next presentation? Then this app is sure to make your life that much easier.

When connected to WiFi at home, select a document from your Drive, tap the ellipses in the pop-up menu, and select Available offline. Google Drive will save the changes you’ve made locally andImage result for podcasts then sync them to your cloud once you’ve regained connectivity!

  1. Podcasts (iOS)

This free app allows you to fill in those boring moments on the subway with audio from all your favorite podcasts anytime, any place. From comedic offerings to local news, drama series and everything else in between, this app offers a plethora of podcasts that will soon make your daily commute something to look forward to. Simply download all your podcast when you're connected to WiFi, and then embark on your trip, now armed with hours of non-stop entertainment.

  1. Instapaper or Pocket / iOS, AndroidImage result for pocket

If you're the kind of person who loves to stay up-to-date on all the big headlines and breaking news, Instapaper and Pocket are the perfect apps for you. When planning ahead, simply click a “bookmarklet” in your open browser, and both apps will automatically save all those juicy long reads for offline devouring.

  1. Cut The Rope / iOS, Android

After a long day at work or class, make sure to ease your mind by playing a fun, yet extremely addictive game like Cut The Rope! Brought to you by the same company that invented the iconic Image result for cut the ropeAngry Birds, Cut The Rope is a pretty perplexing puzzle game that keeps you glued to your screen with its vibrant and colorful cartoon illustrations. Try it out for yourself. You may be able to post an impressive high score!

  1. Free WiFi Finder / iOS, Android

In our ever-so-connected world, sometimes there are emergencies that really do require decent connectivity. Luckily, the Free WiFi Finder, available for both Android and iOS, will help you pinpoint the nearest hot spot during those emergency situations.

It even has service in more than 50 countries around the world! Now that’s definitely a tool you want to keep in your pocket.


6 Signs Your Commute is Making You Sick

Frustrated girl in the traffic

Frustrated girl in the trafficAs the average American commute lengthens (it's now a 26-minute drive to work, up 20% since 1980), it is important to consider the adverse effects this traveling can have on your health.

Here are six ways to tell if your commute is negatively impacting your well-being:

1. You're coming down with a cold more often. This due to the fact that you are exposed to many bacteria and viruses in an environment as small and as public as a bus or train.

2. You keep having to set your alarm earlier and earlier. If you’ve ever set your alarm a half-an-hour, an hour, two hours earlier than usual just to “beat traffic”, then you know the taxing weight of sleep deprivation that seems to come with the job. What you may not realize is that sleep deprivation is more than just a nuisance that makes you tired all the time; it can pose serious health risks. LA sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD, warns that sleep deprivation “slows our reaction time, and that driving when tired or drowsy is like driving when drunk.” Sleep deprivation also leads to slowed cognition and chronic anxiety.

3. You have a bit of road rage. Sitting in traffic for long periods of time can really grind your gears, which can lead to anxiety. This will also raise your stress levels and, hence, blood pressure, possibly culminating in the development of serious heart issues such as heart attacks and heart disease.

4. The left side of your face is aging faster. Something that may not have crossed your mind before is the fact that while driving, the left side of your face is hit more directly by the sun’s rays than your right side, causing it to age faster. Imagine having wrinkles and dark spots only on the left side of your face.

5. Your commute feels just as long as your work day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause deep venous thrombosis, heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. It is advised to “get off of the train a stop or two early to get blood flowing, take a walk at lunch, or if you have a desk job, get up and walk to tell a colleague something instead of sending an email," according to personal trainer Ivica Marc. Follow these steps to help your body recover from sitting all day.

6. Your bicycle has emboldened you. The number of people use bike to work has increased by 64% from 2000 to 2013. That's great news, but it also means an increased risk of accidents and injuries. To minimize this risk, pay attention to the rules of the road and follow them; if you are unfamiliar with them, we encourage you to look them up. And of course, wear the proper safety equipment. Whether you are traveling in your car, by bus, train, or bicycle, we urge you to use your common sense and stay safe.



America’s Most Transit-Friendly Cities

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CA

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CALos Angeles is an amazing city, famous for its near perfect weather, outdoor activities and its close proximity to famed beaches. In fact, Los Angeles might be considered America’s most perfect city if it weren’t for its notorious traffic.

But is the traffic really that bad? Not so, says a recent Trulia article, Driving vs. Public Transit: The Search for a Better Commute. According to data analysis, the average driver’s commute was just 28 minutes, placing Los Angeles in 14th place among the nation’s largest cities.

Additionally, the research shows that the average transit commute was a modest 49 minutes. While transit commutes may take a bit longer, transit users enjoy the freedom to read, work or nap during their commute to work, a luxury not afforded to drivers stuck behind the wheel of a car. And, with less cars on the road, less pollutants are going into the atmosphere each day, making transit commuters green commuters.

The City of Los Angeles recently opened several new transit stations, and many more are planned over the next few years. Neighborhoods near these stations are growing in popularity and rental rates in these neighborhoods have increased. But consider the savings of fuel, vehicle repairs, parking fees and the planet.

While apartment homes situated right next to transit stations may charge higher rental rates, moderately-priced apartments within a half mile of transit stations are readily available in neighborhoods such as:

Westwood - A well-trafficked neighborhood, best known for the Geffen Playhouse and UCLA.

Palms - Dubbed as one of the best neighborhoods for Millennials, located on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Greater Wilshire - A densely populated, middle-class neighborhood, surrounded by museums, multi-cultural influences and historic sites.

Residents of these popular neighborhoods enjoy a less than 30-minute commute into the heart of LA each day.

So which cities are the most transit-friendly? Portlant, St. Louis and Chicago topped the rankings, followed by New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The least transit-friendly markets were Baltimore, Oakland and Riverside.

More information about the transit study, click here.