I spend a lot of time in the car these days, which really got me thinking about how it has affected my life. As I have said before, I am a pretty aggressive driver so I-75 can send my stress level through the roof… especially when the snowbirds are in town!
Since starting my new job last November I have formed some new habits that have helped ease the pain of a long commute:
1) Be prepared – Namely have plenty of gas. Don’t wait for the fuel light to come on. If you have to be at work real early or don’t have the extra time in the morning, fill up the night before if you know you are nearing the big E. Ultimately this will decrease stress in the long run, especially since there are many more unpredictable occurrences that can pop up along the road. If you hate pumping gas like I do start training someone to do it for you (it’s best to start them early, ideally in the period of engagement… maybe I can write it into our wedding vows ;)
2) Be Productive – So you may think that this sounds very difficult while manning the wheel but think about what you can listen to! I highly recommend audio books, podcasts and streaming youtube webinars or videos in the car. Many cars have the technology these days to sync with mobile devices or you may need a simple hook up. It really gives me peace of mind that I can catch up on nutrition, health and school related topics on the way to work. What else is there to do at 6 a.m. anyways? Check out Audible, first download is always free!
3) Think about posture – Sixty minutes is a long time to be cramped into the wrong position. Take time to make proper adjustments to the drivers seat and wheel. Use your core to sit up straight and relax the shoulders! Hopefully you drive better than my mom who is usually hunched over at the wheel… Which reminds me, if you need glasses for distance be sure to wear them as well!
4) Stay in touch – While 6 a.m. is not the ideal time to call your friend or even your mother, there is still the drive back home. I have found afternoons to be an ideal time to catch up with a friend or check in at home. Handsfree is the way to go… and if it is raining or there is a stressful situation on the road. you may want to pick a different time. Use voice commands with smart phones and keep your eyes on the road!
5) Use the trunk – I recommend keeping a spare pair of gym shoes and workout gear in the trunk. If you get stuck at work or traffic is bad you are still prepared to meet your running buddy, pop in the gym or get in the workout before the sun goes down. You never know when things will come up and running all the way home after work may not be an option.
6) Fuel yourself – If you arrive home ravenous every single day and battle with will power over snacking through the entire kitchen pantry, have a snack on the drive home! Drink a bottle of water and a planned healthy snack. Then you are more likely to have the energy to cook up a nutritious dinner as well! Contingency snacks like bars or protein powder are also a good idea to keep in the trunk with workout gear.
Let’s make commuting time as healthy and stressless as possible! Do you have any additional tips for driving?