4 Ways to Reduce Stress During Your Daily Commute

By Brooke Drake, September 22, 2014, News

4 Ways to Reduce Stress During your Daily Commute

Driver image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Picture this: you wake up and get ready for work, sit in traffic while commuting to your job, and then work all day – only to get back into the car and sit in traffic on your commute back home. If this daily routine sounds at all like yours, then chances are you’ve been stressed from time to time (if not every day). As you’ve probably heard before, stress isn’t good for you, especially chronic stress. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress lowers your immunity, causing you to get sick more often, and makes your digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems stop functioning normally just to name a few. With that in mind, here are 4 ways to reduce the stress in your life that comes from your daily commute.

1) Plan Your Day the Night Before

If you head to bed with everything done and organized for the morning, it allows you to fall asleep easier and be free of stress and anxiety in the morning. You leave the house in a calm state and on time, which is a great start to the day. No more mornings tearing around the house in a frenzy getting lunches packed, notes signed, or having to stop for gas before work.

Quick tip: I started making sandwiches for the week and freezing them. I take one out each morning and the kids can’t taste any difference. No more running around in the mornings like the house is on fire.

2) Music Can Dictate Your Mood

According to Today.com, studies show that music, especially classical music from great composers like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, can actually reduce stress and calm people down. If you’re like me and can’t get into classical music, then try a selection of calming songs. My faves are from artists like Enya, Jack Johnson and John Mayer – just make sure you don’t pick tunes that make you fall asleep!

Quick tip: I sing in the car. It gets my mind off of the chaos happening around me, and with Bluetooth these days, people just assume I’m on the phone (I hope).

4 Ways to Reduce Stress During your Daily Commute3) Make the Time about You

Turn the radio off, put the phone away (which should be done when driving anyway), and take some time for your own thoughts. Breathe deeply alternating with some neck stretches to really keep calm. There may be a lot going on at home or at work, so really take the commute time to decompress.

Quick tip: It’s not so much a tip, but I’ve tried this before, and it works! One morning, the commercials seemed like they were yelling at me, and I couldn’t find any music (which frustrated me beyond belief), so I turned the radio off. It was great! I walked into work peacefully and ready to start the day.

4) Find a Carpool Buddy.

Driving with someone else can be a great way to make the drive feel shorter and can actually be fun. Plus on the eco-friendly side, it’s one less car on the road, which saves on emissions and gas. You can also save money by driving half the time or splitting the cost of gas, and if there’s an HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane, you can ride in it, which cuts down on drive time too.

Do you have any tried-and-true recommendations for reducing stress during your daily commute to work? Share them in the comments!


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