Daily commutes are time consuming. Some drivers spend hours getting to and from work, due to nerve wracking gridlock. For some commuters, taking advantage of mass transit simply isn’t a convenient option, which leaves them to spend an average of 42 hours a year stuck in traffic, according to a report from Newsweek.
If you feel like you’ve grown accustomed to being stuck in gridlock, think again. How do you feel once you get to work? How do you feel before leaving the house or when you finally arrive home? If you say, “stressed”, then you’re not alone. While you can’t control the slow commute every morning, you can control how it affects you. Here are some tips for making your daily commute a little less stressful:
Get Ahead of Schedule
Whether it means going to bed or leaving for work one hour earlier, getting ahead of schedule may do wonders for your commuting stress. Think about your daily morning routine. Do you race around the house ironing a work shirt, making lunch for your kids, or finishing up a last minute work e-mail? Once you leave the house, you may already be running late, feeling frazzled, and hit traffic at the most congested part of the morning. Although it will take a little organization on your part at the end of an exhausting day, do things at night rather than in the morning. For instance, have your clothes ready, program the coffeemaker, and have all lunches prepared for the next day. Even if you end up leaving the house later than you intended, you’ll feel less stressed and more ready to face the commute.
During a slow morning commute, a smartphone can be a commuter’s best friend. Some drivers catch up on facebook, work e-mails, or do their daily crossword while moving slowly through stop and go traffic. If this is part of your commuting ritual, you may want to rethink your distractions. Even in gridlock, your full attention to the road and other motorists around you is needed. Rather than becoming immersed in the distraction of your smartphone, put your phone on silent and educate yourself by listening to an audiobook or better yet, enjoy the silence.
Your lengthy commute can make your body tense up and cause headaches and unnecessary stress before you even arrive at work. Sometimes the stress you feel while commuting can also affect your posture as you drive, such as slouching, gripping the wheel, or clenching your jaw. It may sound a little difficult, but by practicing some stretching moves (appropriate for your car), you may lower your stress and improve a relaxed state. Always use common sense when stretching in the car and only due it when your car is stopped. If the traffic is moving steadily and requires your attention, that is not the time to stretch out your neck or legs.