10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress by snoopdoggywuf


10 Ways to Reduce Commuting Stress

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Do you get out of your car with a queasy stomach, a headache and your
blood pressure registering through the roof? If you do, that energy
vulture called stress may have sent your pulse skyrocketing.

stress, commuting, stress-management

Article Body:
Do you get out of your car with a queasy stomach, a headache and your
blood pressure registering through the roof? If you do, that energy
vulture called stress may have sent your pulse skyrocketing. In a study
conducted at the University of California at Irvine, researchers found
that the stress of commuting takes a major toll on health. According to
the study, it has direct physiological effects of raising blood pressure
and releasing stress hormones into the body. Not only that, long commutes
(more than 18 miles one way) may also increase the likelihood of having a
heart attack due to exposure to high levels of air pollutants, which
appears to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Although there is no antidote to stressful commuting, there are lots of
ways to shoo off the energy vulture. Here's how to thrive while you

1. Prepare in advance

One of the best ways to lessen the strain of road rage is to prepare
everything the night before. Clothes, documents, attache cases, and even
packed lunches should be set the day before to avoid the morning rush.
With everything champing at the bit, you'd save plenty of time to do your
morning routines, devour a good breakfast and enjoy special moments with
the family. Best of all, you can dash out the highway free of traffic

2. Sleep well and wake up early

A good night's sleep rejuvenates the body. Make it a habit to have enough
sleep and to rise early. If you are already stressed out the day before,
an incomplete repose takes over cumulative stress effects into your life
at work and at home. Your frustration levels at work eventually rises,
your brainpower falters, and your mood at home sours. You have no energy
left for enjoying life.

3. Juggle your work hours
Why pack the freeways with all   the other "9-to-5"ers when you can try a
ten-to-six or an eight-to-four   shift? Depending on your company's work
policy, try to check out other   shifts that fit your lifestyle. Choose one
that would help you get rid of   energy-depleting stress and allow you to
lighten your highway woes.

4. Share your ride

It may be a hassle to coordinate your arrival and departure with another
person or two, but carpooling is worth it. Studies show that ridesharing
lowers commuter stress significantly. With carpooling, there is less air
and noise pollution, less traffic congestion, and you can relax more
while someone else does the driving.

5. "Cocoon" in your car

Instead of getting worked up when traffic is at a standstill, utilize
your time wisely. Listen to the radio or pop in some music tapes to take
your mind off the stop-and-go driving and traffic tie-ups. If you like to
read but just can't have time to flip pages of a book, check out books on
cassette. Many libraries have full-length books on tape as well as
abridged versions. You can even learn a new language or do some car
exercises like shoulder rolls, neck extensions and tummy tucks to help
you stay awake and relax.

6. Pillow your back and squirm

When you're standing, the lumbar area of your spine (the lower portion)
normally curves inward, toward your abdomen. However, when you're
sitting, it tends to slump outward squeezing your spinal disks and
putting stress on them. According to back expert Malcolm Pope,
Ph.D.,director of the Iowa Spine Research Center at the University of
Iowa, it helps to support your back by tucking a rolled towel or a pillow
in that lumbar section. In cases of longer drives, since sitting in one
position for longer than 15 minutes gradually stiffens you even with a
back pillow, make necessary adjustments for a comfy ride. For instance,
you can try putting most of your weight on one buttock and then the
other. Then, shift the position of your seat or your buttocks slightly.
You may even try sliding down in your seat and sit up again for fun.

7. Work out after work

Since the evening rush is worse than the morning rush because of the
compounded fatigue from the workday, it is best to wait out the traffic.
Work out at a gym near your office or take meditation classes to relieve
your stress. If you plan to go to dinner, see a movie or go shopping, try
to do these things near work, delaying your departure enough to miss the
maddening rush.

8. Give yourself a break

It may be a good idea to give yourself some day off from work. Many
companies today offer compressed working hours or longer working days to
give way to work-free days for you to unwind.
9. Move your office

If your job is a long drive ahead everyday, inquire at work if the
company would allow you to work at home some days of the week or if you
can work near your place. An alternative work schedule would make you
feel less tense and in control thereby reducing stress.

10. Occasionaly change your routine

An occasional change of commuting habits may be advisable too. Try
walking or bicycling sometimes for a change. There's nothing like a good
walk to ease tension especially when it means you don't have to get in
your car and fight rush hour traffic.

By lessening the stress of getting to work, you are conserving enormous
amounts of energy that may be lost over stressful commuting. It doesn't
only leave you a lot more energy to do your job and become more
productive but it also makes you feel good and gives you a good reason to
always start your day right.

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