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De-stress Your Morning Commute with These 5 Ideas

woman driving a car

According to a recent survey, Tennesseans spend an average of about 24 minutes commuting to work. Endless construction has turned our roads into parking lots and crazy drivers (not you, of course) can add to the frustration.

Learning how to de-stress your commute can help you arrive at work feeling fresher and more positive, and may even save you time.

Plan Ahead

Does your mind race through the day’s tasks while traveling to work? Plan your schedule for the following week on Friday afternoon, and remember to build in some flextime for emergencies. That way you’ll have a solid plan to follow when you arrive at the office on Monday and the flexibility to handle unexpected issues as they crop up.

Learn more about managing stress.

Time Your Travel

When you’re late for work, stress activates the fight-or-flight response and floods the body with adrenaline. You want that response when you’re in danger, but it’s not helpful when you’re stuck in traffic. Getting stuck in traffic day after day can add up to chronic stress, which can lead to serious health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you frequently find yourself running late, either leave earlier or time your travel to avoid peak traffic. Try changing your gym membership so that it’s closer to work, and hit the gym before work. Or, ask your manager about flex-work options to help you avoid rush-hour traffic.

Know Before You Go

Bookmark Smartway Traffic on your mobile device. You can learn about traffic problems on major Tennessee roads in advance and view real-time, streaming video of the traffic flow on major roads.

Spice Up Your Commute

Many studies suggest that scents play a role in our responses. Cinnamon and peppermint aromas can reduce frustration, anxiety and fatigue while driving.

Place a few of drops of essential oil on a cotton ball, and secure it to an air vent.

Get Into Character

If you drive to work, consider listening to an audio book. Not only will immersing yourself in fictional adventures help pass the time, but new research suggests that people sometimes temporarily change their behavior and thoughts to match those of a fictional character. Try listening to books with a hero’s journey, like The Hobbit or The Golden Compass to inspire you to tackle your to-do list when you get to work.

Ask for a Flexible Schedule

Ask for flex hours or the option to work from home one day a week on a trial basis. Increase your productivity and you might be able to increase your work-from-home time.

If you have other tips for how to de-stress your commute, share them with us in a comment below!

WellTuned provides inspiration and practical advice for healthy living.
WellTuned does not offer medical advice. Any personal health questions should be addressed to your doctor.

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