For many adults, the worst part of the day is the time spent traveling to and from work. A stressful daily commute can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping and tension with loved ones. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your commute, here are some tips to make it more manageable.
Change the Way You Get to Work
Many people find commuting stressful because they feel as though they have little or no control over circumstances. It’s true that you can’t control the number of cars on the road or whether there’s an accident, but you can control things such as the route you take and the mode of transportation you use.
If your current ride to work takes too long because of traffic, look for a different route. It could add a few extra miles to the trip, but you might find that it shortens your time in the car by helping you avoid gridlock. You can consider other options, such as carpooling, biking or taking public transportation. Your boss might also be willing to let you modify your work schedule to avoid rush hour traffic.
Change Your Mindset
Reframe the way you think about your commute. If you drive alone, look at it as an opportunity to gather your thoughts and prepare for the day. Listen to an audiobook or soothing music. If you take public transportation, use the time to read a book, talk to a fellow passenger or catch up on a little extra sleep.
If you find yourself getting stressed out, take a series of slow, deep breaths. Pay attention to the sights and sounds around you. Look for something interesting that you have not noticed before.
A great deal of the stress of commuting comes from the fact that so many people are frustrated and annoyed. Remember that everyone is in the same boat. You’re all trying to get somewhere on time. Be patient and courteous to your fellow commuters. Letting another driver merge into your lane or making eye contact and saying hello to a fellow passenger on public transportation can make things a little less stressful for everyone.
Prepare for Your Day
Do as much as you can to prepare for your workday the night before. Decide what you’ll wear and make sure your clothes and shoes are ready. If you have children, set aside their clothes in advance. If you or your kids take your lunches to work or school, make them in the evening. Fill your gas tank after work and before you return home so that you don’t need to make a stop the following morning.
Commuting Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming
A stressful commute can have significant effects on your health and relationships with your family. Look for ways to minimize the stress of your trips to and from work by changing the way you travel, the way you think about your commute and how you spend your time.