Do you find yourself defensive, tensed up, and aggressive by the time you get to work? Consider whether your commute stress is starting to bleed into your job performance; if so, you can take steps to reduce the stress of a long commute and make sure you are relaxed, happy, and ready for the work day before you arrive at the office.
One of the top sources of stress is trying to get everything ready at the last minute. Grabbing a lunch, wolfing down breakfast and bolting for the car is a sure way to elevate your stress levels before you even reach the car. Make sure you are ready for the morning the night before by preparing a lunch, getting an outfit together, setting your alarm clock for earlier than you absolutely have to be up, and perhaps even sticking a checklist of things to do by your door so you can check it every time you leave. If you’re ready ahead of time, you will be less stressed. Better yet, if you can leave early and avoid some of the early-morning traffic, you’re a step ahead of the game.
Once you’re ready for the morning, get enough sleep that night. Most adults need eight hours of sleep, so if you have to get up early, go to bed early. This will ensure you have enough energy to function well the next day and you won’t be tired and cranky or fighting the urge to sleep during the drive.
Watch your mindset as you drive. If you have a defensive or aggressive mindset that assumes every other driver is an idiot and out to get you, this will taint your emotions and make you even more stressed. Instead, realize that all the other drivers are just trying to get to work on time too, and doing the best they can. If you get cut off, don’t scream and make rude gestures – honk to embarrass the other driver if they were particularly aggressive, but just realize that they are only saving a few milliseconds of commute time for the increased stress of cutting people off.
Play relaxing music if possible, or listen to audiobooks. You can take advantage of traffic jams and learn another language or skill, enjoy classic fiction, or relax to your favorite music.
If the commute is really bad, try to change your hours or location. Maybe you can go to work an hour early and get home an hour early to avoid the main rush-hour, or if this isn’t possible, you can even consider working from home if your job allows you to do this.
As a last resort, consider changing your job. The stress of a long, hard commute will add up the longer you are at your job. Try to look for a job that’s closer to your home, or consider going part-time at your job and freelancing from home the other days of the week, if possible.
The stress of a commute doesn’t have to impact your quality of life and career. Follow these tips and you may find your commute stress decreasing.
Tags: Reduce commute stress