Finding a job in the city will most likely require you to sit for hours in traffic.
While it might be frustrating, at least you have your own vehicle where you can make use of those hours doing something productive. Traffic time is precious and should not be wasted. Sure, you might not be able to leave your seat but it’s possible to make way for some de-stressing movements and make driving part of your wellness routine. Here are a few tips on how to maximise your time in the car:
- Find your zen zone
Before you can begin to feel relaxed in your car, you need to find your own zen. Find what makes you relax and zone in on that feeling before you can commence with any activities. If you are already a stressful or anxious driver, learning how to be comfortable in your car, used or new, and how to identify your anxiety trigger points will help you to control those moments internally and respond accordingly. It’s extremely important to learn how to switch certain feelings off in your mind when you’re feeling anxious.
- Focus on your breathing
No matter where you are, the correct breathing patterns can play an important role in your body’s response to stressful situations. Once you learn how to breathe properly, you will be able to focus your energy on stretching other areas such as your shoulders, rolling them back while breathing to release any tension. If you’ve had a stressful day at the office, you can unwind by taking deep breaths from your stomach. Place one hand over your stomach, breathe in deeply through your nose and expand your stomach at the same time. When you release, exhale through your mouth. Repeat this at least five times.
- Stretch what you can
If your traffic has come to a standstill, try and stretch the muscles that you can. For example, keep your foot on the brake and bring your ear to your shoulder. Stretch both sides from side to side as well as circle your neck around for a few times. Also, try and stretch your muscles in your face by smiling, frowning and opening the jaw. Once you start to focus on these movements, you will quickly calm down.
- Release your grip
Frustration and anger are only a few of the emotions you experience during traffic. Often times, you sit in traffic and stress because you’re going to be late for work and your next meeting or the fact that you feel unsafe in your vehicle. You know you need to look at used cars available for sale, with better safety features, the minute you arrive at the office. As horrible as it is, you need to come to terms with the fact that you can’t do anything about it in the moment. To destress, release your grip. There is so much energy that goes into holding the steering wheel tightly, and just by taking the time to remove one hand at a time to shake it out, you will provide yourself with a sense of relief. When your arms are clenched, you’re trapping stress which may lead to your arms tensing up and becoming stiff. Keep one hand on the wheel, and slowly relax each arm.
- Think about connecting with your core
Most people tend to rely on their arms and legs to support their body weight without thinking about the importance of their core muscles. Slouching at your desk, while you walk or during traffic jams is especially bad for your body’s posture. It doesn’t allow you to draw strength from your body’s core. During your commute to work, pay attention to your core and try to hold your body upright by using those muscles. When you start to strengthen your core, you learn to be conscious about using your upper body.
- Keep good posture. Always.
Good posture, in any instance, helps you to feel more confident, motivated and less stressed about your day. Especially in the car, if you feel that you’re starting to panic about the time or become frustrated with the cars around you, try to sit up straight and perform the correct breathing techniques. When you align your spine, it helps you to block out any negative energy and focus on the positive emotions. Good posture will allow you to increase your oxygen intake as you’re no longer restricting the airflow by slouching. This movement will help you to destress in the traffic, as well as boost your energy levels.
- Practice patience
Patience is one skill that will help you to feel a lot more relaxed in situations when you feel that you’re starting to become wound up. If you’re driving passengers around in your used car, it’s important to be careful and act in a way that makes them feel at ease in your presence. Another tip is to eliminate any distractions when you start to feel anxious. Simply by breathing properly and paying attention to details around you, it will help you to relax your mind and calm down faster.
Sitting in traffic is already a struggle, so why not try and turn a negative into a positive and change the way you feel about those dreaded morning commutes. Perhaps your anxiety stems from the fact that you feel unsafe in your unpredictable car. Whatever it is, do what you need to do to make it better. Invest in one of the many used cars available in South Africa and make a change for a healthier life. Constant stress is not good for your well-being, so before you can maximise your traffic time and do what makes you happy, you need to feel comfortable in your environment and surroundings.