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De-Stress Your Commute

Heal
car commute

wastesoul/Thinkstock

Five healthy ways to feel calm as you travel to and fro.

The time we spend in cars, creeping along with traffic on the way to work, keeps increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Americans spend nearly 30 minutes just on the way in to work, with congested metropolitan areas showing even longer commute times. The frustration of sitting, powerless, can lead to serious health problems, both personal and public. For example, The New York Times recently reported that stress from the road (AKA road rage) is linked to upticks in domestic violence. I went in search of ways to de-stress the daily commute.

  1. Reframe. You could see time spent commuting as “wasted,” and you’ll likely feel your blood pressure rise. Or, you can start to see this as “me time,” when you get a bit of cocooning and transition, or space to brainstorm. Same experience, different mindset.
  2. Roll with the stones. At a dead stop in traffic? Use a crystal massage wand on your shoulders and neck. These tools are rounded on one side, pointy on the other, and release muscle tension. Different types of stones purportedly have different energetic qualities. Agate promotes inner stability, for example; jasper, endurance.
  3. Turn on a portable oil diffuser. Chill out with essential oils like lavender or uplift your mood with citrus-based oils. Pick a diffuser made especially for use in automobiles, such as one that plugs into the car charger, fits into a cup holder, or uses no (spillable) water.
  4. Practice a mantra. Download a soothing or uplifting mantra and have it at the ready to sing along, or, keep it simple and do positive affirmations like “Today is an amazing journey.”  
  5. Catch up on sleep. For those of you who commute on public transportation, snoozing is an option. There are some truly innovative styles out there, from the NapAnywhere pillow, which looks like a shelf for your head, to the relief of a neck support model, like the Cabeau Evolution Cool Travel Pillow.

Kathryn Drury Wagner

Kathryn Drury Wagner is a wellness writer based in Savannah. She's been a contributor to Spirituality & Health for many years, and she loves sharing ways to build a healthy, mindful, and sustainable lifestyle. 

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