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10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress


10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

Are you experiencing unpleasant physical symptoms such as a queasy stomach, a headache, and high blood pressure when you get out of your car? If so, it's possible that the stress of commuting is the cause. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine conducted a study which revealed that commuting stress can have a significant negative impact on health. According to the study, this stress can lead to an increase in blood pressure and the release of stress hormones in the body. Additionally, long commutes (over 18 miles one way) may also contribute to an increased risk of heart attack, as they expose individuals to high levels of air pollutants, a known risk factor for heart disease.

10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress
 10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

While there may not be a solution to alleviate the stress of commuting, there are numerous approaches to ward off the draining effects. Here are some tips on how to excel during your time on the road.

1. Prepare in advance

To reduce the stress of road rage, a great approach is to get everything ready the night before. This includes organizing your clothes, important papers, work bags, and even preparing your lunch in advance to avoid rushing in the morning. By having everything in order, you will have more time to go about your morning routine, savor a good breakfast, and cherish precious moments with your family. The added advantage is that you can easily drive on the highway without encountering any traffic jams.

10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress
 10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

2. Sleep well and wake up early

Having a restful night's sleep can reinvigorate your physical well-being. It is important to establish a routine of getting enough sleep and waking up early. If you fail to properly rest when already experiencing stress, the resulting insufficient repose will compound the cumulative effects of stress in both your professional and personal life. Ultimately, this will lead to increased levels of frustration at work, impaired cognitive abilities, and a deteriorating mood at home. Consequently, you will lack the energy necessary to fully enjoy life.

3. Juggle your work hours

Why crowd the highways with the rest of the 9-to-5 workers when you can consider working a ten-to-six or an eight-to-four schedule? Depending on your company's policies, explore other shift options that suit your lifestyle. Opt for a schedule that can alleviate the draining stress and help mitigate your commuting troubles.

10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress
 10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

4. Share your ride

Coordinating your arrival and departure with others may seem troublesome, but the benefits of carpooling make it worthwhile. Research indicates that ridesharing considerably reduces commuter stress. By carpooling, not only do we contribute to reducing air and noise pollution, but we also experience less traffic congestion and get the opportunity to relax while someone else takes care of driving.

5. "Cocoon" in your car

Instead of becoming frustrated when stuck in traffic, make good use of your time. Distract yourself from the stop-and-go driving and traffic congestion by listening to the radio or playing music tapes. If you enjoy reading but don't have the opportunity to flip through a physical book, consider borrowing books in cassette format from libraries. Many libraries offer complete books on tape, as well as shorter versions. Additionally, you can use this time to learn a new language or engage in exercises like shoulder rolls, neck extensions, and abdominal exercises to help you stay alert and unwind.

6. Pillow your back and squirm

When you stand, the lower part of your spine naturally curves inward towards your abdomen. However, when you sit, it tends to bend outward, which puts pressure on your spinal disks. Back expert Malcolm Pope suggests placing a rolled towel or pillow in the lower section of your back to provide support. If you are going on a long drive, it is important to make adjustments to ensure a comfortable ride, as sitting in one position for more than 15 minutes can cause stiffness. For example, you can shift your weight from one buttock to the other or change the position of your seat. You can also try sliding down in your seat and then sitting up again for fun.

10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress
 10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

7. Work out after work

Because the fatigue experienced during the evening rush is more intense due to the accumulation of tiredness from the workday, it is advisable to wait until traffic dies down. To reduce stress, consider working out at a gym close to your workplace or attending meditation classes. If you have plans to dine out, watch a movie, or go shopping, it is recommended to do these activities near your office, delaying your departure in order to avoid the aggravating rush.

8. Give yourself a break

Taking a day off from work could be beneficial and a wise choice. Nowadays, numerous companies provide flexibility in schedules, such as condensed working hours or extended workdays, allowing for additional days off to relax and destress.

9. Move your office

If you have to commute a long distance to work every day, consider asking your employer if they would be open to letting you work from home for a few days each week or if you can work closer to your home. Having a different work schedule would help you feel more relaxed and in charge, ultimately decreasing your stress levels.

10. Occasionally change your routine

It may be a good idea to shake up your usual way of commuting every now and then. Give walking or biking a try occasionally for a refreshing change. Walking can be a great way to relax and relieve stress, especially when it means avoiding the frustration of rush hour traffic in your car.

By reducing the pressure of commuting to work, you are saving a significant amount of energy that would otherwise be wasted in stressful travel. This not only leaves you with more energy to perform your job and increase your productivity, but it also improves your well-being and provides a positive motivation for starting each day on a positive note.


If you experience nausea, a headache, and high blood pressure when exiting your car, it is possible that stress, the energy-eating creature, has caused your heart rate to soar.

Keywords: stress, commuting, stress-management