Now that the world is starting to slowly open back up, many people are going back into the office which means they are getting back in the car and commuting to work. Being in the car, for any amount of time, can be very stressful. Life is stressful enough, so it is important to figure out what works for you to relieve stress while driving because you could potentially get into a dangerous situation. You want to be alert but also comfortable. Stress driving isn’t good for anyone!
Here are 9 stress relief techniques you can try while driving…
- Take deep breaths. Taking deep breaths naturally lowers your heart rate and blood pressure which helps to calm your parasympathetic nervous system. Try a 4-7-8 breath where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Try this 4 times and see how you feel.
- Listen to music, a book on tape, or podcast. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it is something you find relaxing.
- Adjust your position. Most people tend to tense up while driving, oftentimes without even noticing it. Common place we hold tension while driving include neck, shoulders, low back, hands, jaw, and pelvic floor. Try to pay attention to your muscles and how your body feels while driving and try to relax where you feel tension. This can help prevent muscle discomfort, back pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Try out different seat and mirror positions to help promote better body mechanics.
- Leave extra space. If you’re feeling stressed on your drive, leaving a car length of space between you and other cars around you can help ease the fear of getting in a wreck and keep you and others safe.
- Allow extra time. Allow yourself some extra time to commute if you are feeling overly stressed about getting to work on time.
- Pull over. If you are driving and feeling stressed, pull off to the side when it is safe to do so and stay there as long as you need.
- Maintain your car. If your car is flashing lights at you and likely causing you to feel overwhelmed, it is time to get it checked! You can also help alleviate stress by making sure you always have plenty of gas. Not letting your gas tank get below half tank can help avoid those last minute realizations that you need gas and are running late. Finally, keeping your car clean and tidy can help promote a space free of stress.
- Take the scenic route. If you have time and a few alternative scenic routes to work, then work them into your weekly commuting routine. Highways, in particular, are stressful, so opt for side roads if possible.
- Turn your phone on do not disturb. Now that most states have gone hands free while driving, it is time to take this law seriously if you aren’t doing so already. Even hearing that you got an email or text can cause you to feel stressed or distracted. It is better not to be tempted to look while you are behind the wheel. When you can, keep your phone on DND until you are parked and at your destination, or try silencing notifications like texts and emails.
I hope these techniques will come in handy the next time you find yourself stressed behind the wheel. Figure out what works for you!
If you would like more ideas, I would love to meet with you! You can book a session here.