Do you remember when driving was fun? From studying to get your permit by taking practice tests to begging mom or dad to take you driving, you just couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel when you were just learning how to drive!
That changes for most of us when we get older. Especially since many of us take the same route to and from work every day for years on end. Spending all that time in the car can feel frustrating, and it can be made even more frustrating when you have to deal with bad drivers on the road.
Instead of letting your commute to and from work create more stress in your life, you can use your time in the car to promote a sense of calm. Here are a few tips that will transform your commute. You may even start looking forward to your time spent in the car!
Listen to a Guided Meditation
Meditating in the car sounds dangerous. It definitely would be dangerous if you meditated the traditional way. Sitting in the lotus position and closing your eyes while driving will surely cause an accident!
That doesn’t mean all meditations are off-limits. You can meditate while driving, as long as you find the right guided meditations. You can find guided meditations online just for the car that encourage you to focus on your breathing while encouraging you to continue paying attention to the road.
You can also look for general meditations that focus on awareness and mindfulness. These types of meditations force you to take a closer look at your surroundings and focus on the moment, which can enhance your attention behind the wheel while busting stress at the same time.
Listen to Music You Love
If meditating isn’t really your thing, you can listen to music you love instead. You probably won’t find your favorite tunes on the radio, and flipping between stations can be just as stressful as listening to music you don’t like. Instead, plan ahead and bring along the music you want to listen to during your commute.
You can bring music the old-fashioned way with CDs, or you can plug in your phone to listen to your favorite playlists online.
If you really want to promote feelings of calm, you can choose music that you might not normally listen to. Classical music is a favorite, but there are a lot of modern musicians creating relaxing music. You just may discover a new musician you love!
Do a Little Yoga
Yoga is known for asking you to contort your body into interesting positions. How can you possibly do any of those poses in the car!
It’s true that you won’t be doing a downward dog or the tree pose behind the wheel, but there are plenty of other yoga poses you can do in the car.
Just a few ideas include:
• Rotate your wrists and shake out your hands to eliminate strain on the steering wheel.
• Practice your posture and engage your core muscles to keep your body upright.
• Roll your shoulders and do seated spinal twists.
Don’t Touch Your Phone
It’s true that your phone can be a great way to kill time spent in traffic. However, it’s also true that spending time on your phone behind the wheel can be dangerous. It also happens to be the case that excessive smartphone use can create anxiety. Anxiety isn’t something you need help with when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic!
Instead of reaching for your phone and browsing social media or calling someone, keep your phone out of reach. Turn it on silent and place it in the backseat. Instead, try and focus on what you see out the windshield. It’s the perfect time to discover something new about the route you take to work every day, and it can also provide you with an opportunity to think through a problem or do a little daydreaming.
Aromatherapy is a great tool to use when reducing stress and anxiety, and it’s something you can do anywhere at any time, as long as you’re prepared!
You can pack essential oils into the car and smell them when you’re feeling a little stressed, or you can use a diffuser or air fresher in the car. Dried herbs can also be a great way to make the car smell good.
A few scents that are perfect for stressful traffic include:
• Citrus bergamot
• Clary sage
Using scented products in the car can help beat stress too. For example, a lavender lotion can be rubbed on your hands while you’re waiting at a stop light, while a citrus scented lip balm can provide you with positive energy on the way to work.
Practice Some Self-Care
Self-care is extremely important, but it’s something that many of us don’t have a lot of time for. You have even less time to soak in a warm bath or pour yourself a glass of wine if you spend so much time in rush hour traffic!
If you’re finding that you don’t have time for self-care, it may be time to adjust your personal definition of what personal care means. For example, many people consider a little time alone the perfect self-care activity. That’s exactly what you do on the way to and from work every day!
Adjust your opinion of time spent in rush hour traffic. Instead of considering it a nuisance, think of it as a way to spend some quiet time alone. Refresh your makeup at a stop light, spray on a little perfume, or give yourself a hand massage. A heated or massage seat is also a great way to pamper yourself while you’re behind the wheel!
Few things are as stressful as rush hour traffic, especially if it’s something you deal with on a daily basis. Instead of letting traffic get you stressed, follow the tips on this list to transform your trip into a tranquil experience.