Commuting may be one of your least favorite daily activities; don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions of daily commuters spend an average of 51 minutes each day getting to and from work. Not only can it feel like a big waste of time, but commuting can wreak havoc on your mental and physical well-being, particularly if you drive your own vehicle. However, for many commuters, driving their own car is the best and most direct option. Personal commuting can also make for some good time alone, but it’s often overshadowed by the stress that comes with daily commutes. Here are some ways to turn your daily commute into a sanctuary.
The next time you get behind the wheel of your car, consider these stress-busting tips to decrease the dread of your daily commute:
Get Enough Sleep
Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is good for your mind and body, but with busy lives and long commutes it’s hard to get a solid eight hours. Ditch your excuses and make sure you get enough sleep each night otherwise you may end up being a dangerous and drowsy driver, putting you at a greater risk of causing or being in a car accident during your commute.
According to the New York personal injury lawyers at David Resnick & Associates, people who work longer and travel farther from home to work and back again may be fatigued drivers. Fatigued driving, similar to impaired driving, is a contributing factor in collisions. Get enough sleep and your commute may be more bearable.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Commuters become even more stressed when they are rushing to get to their destinations. The best way to reduce the stress of rushing is to give yourself enough time to get to work. While this may mean a change in your routine, you’ll be happier in the long run. Reschedule appointments and meetings or try to leave before or after morning rush hour. If your schedule is flexible, make a pit-stop at a coffee shop or some place relaxing to get a quiet and reflective start to your morning.
Avoid All Distractions
Many commuters make the mistake of trying to make up for lost time while they’re at a standstill in gridlock. Don’t text, make a conference call, or attempt to answer emails while you’re commuting, even if you’re idling. Remember, cellphone use while driving is widely banned and limited across the U.S. If you try to multi-task during an already stressful situation (ie. commuting), you’re stress will only increase.
Make Your Car Your Sanctuary
It may seem ridiculous, but try to make your car a sanctuary, a place of calm. When you’re sitting at a stoplight or are stuck in stop and go traffic, try some simple neck stretching exercises that may reduce the tension that builds up in your shoulders and neck when you’re stressed. Consider relaxing scents such as lavender and keep the noise in your car to the quiet sounds of classical music (nothing too fast though). Avoid getting too warm in your car and always make sure you’re pleasantly full before your morning commute; an empty belly can increase your potential for feeling ragey.