Do you find yourself dreading your daily drive? Does it feel like you’re wasting time when you’re behind the wheel? It doesn’t have to be that way. With a few small lifestyle changes, you can turn travel time into a treat — or at least make it a little less troublesome. Here are eight tips to help you de-stress while driving.
Pick a relaxing playlist
Researchers at the London Metropolitan University found that different music genres can change the way you drive. They observed that fast-paced songs with intense beats led to aggressive driving, while slower, softer songs resulted in more conscientious behavior. So when you pick a playlist, stick to tranquil tunes for a relaxing ride.
Podcasts and audiobooks
Turn that time on the road into an opportunity to laugh, learn or lose yourself in a gripping story. You can find a podcast for almost any niche subject you can imagine, along with popular topics like video games, science, politics and comedy. Audiobooks can also open up a whole new world of entertainment, allowing you to take in tales or learn lessons while you commute.
Wear comfortable shoes
If you have to wear dress shoes at work, consider packing a pair of sneakers in your car. Wearing comfortable shoes while driving can make your commute a little more pleasant. Once you arrive, you can swap them for formal footwear.
Plan your route
If you’re going someplace new, take time before your journey to study a map of the area. Consider where you could park and if you’ll have to pay fees. If your navigation system offers live updates on traffic conditions, consider opting in to receive warnings about congestion, so you can take a detour and avoid getting stuck in a traffic jam.
Allow for extra time
Sometimes you just can’t avoid unexpected road closures, backed-up traffic or hitting every red light on your way to work. To account for these hiccups in your schedule, try leaving just 10 minutes earlier. You may find that with a little wiggle room, you’re less inclined to drive aggressively. As a bonus, if you arrive at your destination early, you just might find a better parking spot.
Entertain your passengers
If you drive with kids, cut down on stress by giving them entertainment options. Whether it’s a coloring book, a headrest-mounted DVD player, or your vehicle’s built-in Wi-Fi® hotspot, a little entertainment can go a long way to cut down on bickering and make your drive more enjoyable for all of your passengers.
Take advantage of technology
Modern vehicles are equipped with stress-busting technology — don’t hesitate to take advantage of these functions to make your journey a little smoother. In addition to their basic infotainment features, many cars can help you with the not-so-fun necessities of driving, like getting a good deal on gasoline, finding a parking spot and parallel parking. If your car has luxuries like climate-controlled seats or a built-in massage function, utilize them to get comfortable on your commute.
Driving can be stressful, but with a few new habits and a little planning, you may find yourself looking forward to your daily commute.