For the last two years, my daily commute has averaged from 45 minutes to 60 minutes one way to work. In these last two years, I’ve learned something from that almost daily experience – as long as I am in my current occupation and must endure a 90-minute round-trip foray in traffic every day, I better learn ways to relieve stress during my commute.
Of course, keeping calm, cool, and collected behind the wheel when I’m moving at a snail’s pace through morning traffic is sometimes easier said than done. But, who promised relieving commuting stress would always be easy?
In the more than 750 hours I have spent alone, in my car, on my way to or from my current job, I have figured out that on those days when I can isolate myself from stressors and think positively during my morning drive, I am even able to help avoid job fatigue.
While some mornings may be more difficult than others, finding my way to inner peace while grinding out my commute is worth it – even if I have to dig pretty deep to find that sense of serenity in my car during those arduous drives.
So, how do I keep my cool during my commute? Here are the 5 ways I relieve stress during my commute:
#1 – Listening to music is one of the best ways to relieve stress on your commute!
I’ve determined there must be one reason automakers put stereos in cars – to keep drivers from going insane. If not for music, life could be absolute misery sometimes, and without music playing in the car, so, too, would my commute.
I like to crank the radio up in the morning (not too loud, though!) and listen to music, the news, or whatever I feel will keep me chipper. Or, if I want to enjoy something I know, I’ll plop a CD into the stereo and jam out to my favorite songs.
#2 – Singing a song is one of the noisier ways to relieve stress… and it works!
I’ve got music in my soul, so it’s pretty hard to sit still when I’ve got that music playing on the car stereo. In fact, I simply can’t help but sing (even if I’m not always that great).
Interestingly, I soon found that the world seemed like an even greater place to be on the days that I belted out some tunes on the way to work.
#3 – Sipping a morning cup of Joe is one of the tastiest ways to relieve stress on the way to work.
My drive consists of about 18 quadrillion starts and stops, which gives me plenty of time to enjoy one of my favorite drinks: coffee. Of course, coffee isn’t for everyone, so why not prepare (or get on the go) your favorite beverage to keep handy on your way to work.
As you might imagine, this suggestion excludes any drink that is measured by the pint or the shot glass!
#4 – Avoiding the cell phone during your commute is one of the greatest ways to relieve stress… and avoid an accident!
Is there any connection between stressed-out drivers and cell phone usage? I don’t know, but what I do know is that playing around with the cell while in traffic is not only dangerous, it is downright agonizing on a personal level.
In Florida, where I live, there is currently no ban on either texting or using a cell phone on the road, and this unfortunately leads to many people using their commute to or from work as a time to connect with family, friends, and coworkers. While driving to work may seem like a convenient time to reach out and touch someone you know, it’s better if you pay attention to the road and focus on thinking calm thoughts while wading through the sea of cars.
#5 – Opening the car windows for circulation is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress on the road.
When I’m driving to the office, I’m pretty cognizant of the fact that I’m about to spend the next nine hours hunkered down in a cubicle while breathing recirculated air.
So, when the temperatures hover at 50 degrees or above, that’s when my car windows roll down and I breathe in sweet, outdoor air. OK, the air may be mildly polluted with carbon monoxide chugging out of the tailpipes in front of me. But, I don’t care. The wind blowing through my hair and against my face in the morning helps me to stay awake, feel alive, and buoy my spirits during my commute.
As you read my personal list of ways that I relieve stress while driving to and from work, you have probably already thought of a few things of your own that could make the morning commute feel a little less stressful. Perhaps it might involve listening to CDs from motivational speakers, or carpooling with some friends who will keep you entertained while you’re darting through the morning traffic.
No matter what ways you relieve your stress on the way to your job, remember that keeping your cool during the commute can only make for a better day at the office, and just about nothing beats a good day at work!