Driving can be stressful for even the most confident driver and for some, a daily commute can even contribute to a mental block at work.
We’ve all stared blankly at our computer screens and wondered what it is we were doing, a key sign your brain needs a break! You don’t want to run yourself dry, and it’s not humanely possible to work your mind 24/7. Careless decisions and reduced effectiveness can come as a result of overworked mental energy, and not only applies to your eight hours in the office but when you’ve clocked out during the drive home.
Nearly 40% of people think about work on their commute to and from work, implying nearly half of drivers are having a hard time pressing the snooze button on work thoughts. Did you know that road rage from work stress affects over three out of 10 drivers?
With National Stress Awareness Day right around the corner, on November 7th, we’ve got a guide of five proven methods to avoid potentially self-sabotaging commute behaviour.
1. Instead of dwelling on work thoughts — Say your goals out loud!
The solutions to work problems don’t involve continuously replaying them in your mind but instead acting upon them. It’s not crazy to talk out loud to yourself! Research shows there are benefits to talking out loud when there is positive intent. Creating goals for yourself is great, especially if you remind yourself of them every day. They can help keep you going during the workday. Your goals can be for anything, not just work. Here are some things you may want to create goals around:
- Hours of sleep per night
- Workout regimen
- Eating healthily
- Milestones for passion projects
- Books to read
- Learning a new language or concept
2. Instead of reciting your presentation, listen to a meditation playlist
There are numerous driving meditations that can be found on YouTube or apps such as Headspace and Calm. A relaxing way to start or end your day.
3. Instead of answering a message from your boss, use the time to catch up with family and friends
A work message may appear urgent in our minds, but that sense often comes from our anxieties. If you step back and realize that a message from work isn’t as pressing as it seems, you’ll likely feel more at ease. To make up for that false sense of urgency, try calling up your family and friends while you’re bumper to bumper on your commute instead of frantically picking up the phone for work. You must always stay safe and use a hands-free device.
4. Instead of stressing over unresolved work issues, repeat positive mantras
To help get your mind off work stress when you’re on the road, you can repeat positive mantras out loud during your commute. See below for some great mantras:
- I recognize my own talents.
- I will focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t
- I am grateful for all my learning experiences.
- I feel healthy, I feel happy.
- I believe in myself.
5. Instead of listening to a podcast about your job, listen to new podcasts or Audiobooks topics
Instead of mixing work into your personal time, tune in to audiobooks or podcasts that motivate you or teach you a new topic — this will benefit your mood. In fact, a study found that listening to podcasts or audiobooks encourages you to visualize the story in your mind. This can increase your attention span, boost creativity, and enhance imaginative thinking. Plus, you’ll learn new things, therefore growing your knowledge base!