By Madeline Klein on August 13, 2018.
No one likes being stuck in hours of traffic. And the worst is sitting in traffic after work. At that point you just want to be at home, starting dinner or relaxing while watching your newest Netflix obsession.
Unfortunately, rush hour traffic might be unavoidable for some people. So, we’ve gathered some tips for those rush hour drivers to stress less and relax more during their rush hour commute.
1. Practice your breathing
We want you to always put safety first on the road, but you’ve typically got a lot of downtime if you’re in stop and go traffic. Since you can’t go anywhere or do anything else, this is the perfect time to practice some calming breaths. Deep breathing is known to improve health and can help you relax during frustrating traffic. Take deep breaths in through your nose, hold, and then take the same amount of time to breathe out through your mouth. Your stress levels will thank you.
2. Listen to soothing music
While your first inclination may be to put on your latest jam that makes you want to dance every time you hear it, try turning on some soothing music instead. Drivers who listen to aggressive music or no music at all had an increased blood pressure while stuck in traffic, according to PsychologyToday. So next time you’re feeling stressed during rush hour, try turning off Kanye’s most recent album or the new Taylor Swift song and opt for a coffeehouse playlist instead.
3. Listen to driving-specific meditation
If you’re not feeling the soothing music, you can listen to some driving-specific meditation lessons. These lessons will talk you through how to relax while you’re on the road. Paying attention to your surroundings should be the top priority, but meditation can help you de-stress after a long work day and refocus before you get home. You may even start appreciating your rush-hour commute after a few days of meditation.
4. Power down your phone
Since you can’t be on your phone while you’re driving anyway, the drive home is a good time to test out unplugging. Unless you need it for your music, try turning off your phone completely. Even if you aren’t on it, it’s too easy to think about the emails piling up and the work waiting to be done. Not only is it a safe driving habit, but you’ll also feel the stress melt away.
5. Use an aromatherapy car freshener
Aromatherapy car fresheners can help you quickly de-stress during even the worst commute. There are so many options based on your mood. Lavender is known to help with anxiety, and peppermint is known to boost your energy. Peppermint can also clear your mind, and can potentially even improve your cognitive performance. Sounds like magic, right? Why wouldn’t you want to try it out on your next drive home.
6. Drink water
Everyone knows you’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day, but that goal always seems a little out of reach, right? Next time you leave the office, fill up a water bottle. Use your time sitting in traffic to help make a dent in your daily water goal. You’ve got nothing else to do while you’re sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, right?
It’s easy to dread your rush hour drive home from work, but hopefully, some of these tips help ease the anxiety just a little bit. Check out some of our other advice about surviving traffic here.