Managing Stress & Anxiety on the Road
Here comes the rain (and snow), here comes the traffic, the road construction, the extra vehicles on the road, the congestion... The list goes on and on. Days can be tough out there on the road in these conditions, but here are a few tips to managing that stress and anxiety when you're on the road:
Deep Breaths and Meditation Meditation can be for everyone, and doesn't necessarily have to be sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed (although having your eyes closed does help, just not while driving!). Take a moment when you can and just focus on your breathing, taking deep breaths from your belly. Think calming thoughts: ocean waves, sand at your feet, sun on your face. Not only can a few minutes of deep breathing calm your mind, but it can also help relieve physical tension.
A Calming Playlist or Podcast Maybe you listen to some calming music or a podcast while you're practicing your deep breathing. Or maybe you have this playing throughout the day. Either way, a quick search of "calming playlists" or "calming podcasts" yields hundreds of results to get you started depending on your preferences. We're not saying you can't still listen to your favourite Hard Rock playlist, but maybe give it a break every once in a while.
Continue Exercising Go ahead, try to convince us that your job is physically demanding. At times, maybe. But you're still sitting for the large majority of your day. No need to overcomplicate this one. Not one to get out to the gym? Just go for a walk with your family at night. Start with once a week and go from there. Not only will the fresh air and activity do you good, but some quality time with your family is sure to soothe the soul.
Develop Healthy Habits We get it, those fast food stops are all too convenient and delicious in the moment, but try to remember instead how gross you always feel afterwards. It may mean a little extra time at night or in the morning, but try packing a healthier, well-balanced, but still delicious lunch to get you through the day. Unfortunately, the healthy habits don't stop there. Try to avoid smoking, alcohol, and other unhealthy quick-fix coping mechanisms throughout your days and nights. If you're really struggling, consider visiting your doctor for some alternative solutions.
Make Time to Relax We're not talking about feet up on the dash while you're supposed to be working, but remember that walk you were going to take with your family? Extend that time a little and make time to do something you enjoy. Read a book, watch some sports, pick a new favourite TV show... Something where you can unplug and truly relax for a while. Trust us, the to-do list will still be there tomorrow.
You may be looking at where you're at right now and think, "there's no way I can make all of these changes". But as Lao Tzu once said, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". You've got this! And remember, you're never alone. Talk to your fellow drivers, your office support staff, and of course your medical professionals.