7 destress tips that make car commutes fun

Do you say thankyou out loud when someone lets you out at a junction? We all know our commutes can colour the rest of our day so it’s lovely when a stranger helps boost our daily routine and help us destress. Here’s 7 fabulous ways to make your commute actually start your day in a positive way. I’m not suggesting you do them all, certainly not at the same time(!) and what works for one of us won’t necessarily for another. But if you can take charge of your day, feelings of relaxation will follow:)

1 Listen to an audio book or podcast. Often just hearing upbeat happy voices can be enough to lift you – so you could look up Australian podcasts as a way to refine your search. Just people talking about a topic you’re interested in will relax your body as it’s a good way for you to express that part of you. So if you love hillwalking, live music or reading but don’t get a way currently to fit in enough of this, get your hit another way. Check if your local library has a free subscription an audio book provider, you might be in luck. Need: aux cable for your car and a stereo with an aux plug socket.

2 Actually have breakfast. In your more rushed mornings often there isn’t time for a leisurely cornflakes and newspapers. And eating then rushing away can be bad for your digestion anyway. But if you can have a smoothy ready to grab as you run out the door you’ll be full of energy and a drink will be easier to digest than a big pile of fibre.

3 Clean and get a sensory high. Yes really. Take some wipes and give your dashboard a quick swish when you’re stuck at traffic lights. The smell from this and any air freshener you hang in the car will make you feel brighter. Here’s an idea for a homemade air freshener that is gentler and more personal. Pop 5 drops of essential oils on a wooden clothes peg and seal it in a bag with some fresh herbs for a day, then clip it on to your car’s air vents or air conditioning for a gorgeous, tailored start to your day. It can be invigorating, relaxing or whatever you need.

4 Switch off from technology. OK so yes I did talk about listening to podcasts on your commute so this won’t be for everyone. But especially if you are always contactable – think about how soon you can respond to a call and consider simply switching your phone to ‘do not disturb’. Maybe catch up just with your own body by doing deeper breathing – in for 5, out for 5 (no ohmmms required) or do some pelvic floor exercises (maybe this one’s just for the ladies though).

5 Listen to music. Sing, shuffle (not you, the Spotify playlist) and finger tap your way into work. And ignore folk trying to tell you all your tunes should be lungbelters, its incredibly healthy to mix a few sad songs in too so you can stretch your emotional muscles like you would your hamstrings.

6 Catch up with your friend or relative you car share with. Inspired by Peter Kay’s series on the joys and perils of car sharing, maybe split the fuel costs and/or driving by sharing your commute. And if you already co-commute this is a brilliant way to start your day with a bit of a giggle.

7 Take in the little things. A friend told me that as a child their dad said that they would stop at the services when they saw a caravan being pulled by a blue car. So they started paying attention in a new and refreshing way. You could look for:

  • lollipop people
  • people with 2 dogs
  • cars with bikeracks
  • flower shops.

Let us know how you get on – and if you have any anti-distress secrets we can all use in our carseats I’d love to hear them!


Photo credits

Smoothy photo by Flóra Zsemlye

Book photo by Ben White

Girl looking out photo by Eli DeFaria

5 Reviews

  1. Brilliant – especially your tip about the clothes peg air freshener and the smoothy. Thankyou!

  2. Really must put a pack of wipes in the car and keep it clean! My kids make such a mess and I need to keep on top of it. I know I’d feel happier driving along in a clean, sweet-smelling vehicle!

  3. Loads of fun ideas. Thanks.

  4. Definitely feel much better after a good clean. May as well do so while stuck in traffic. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Great ideas! It is the little things that make the difference – I let three cars out at a tricky junction on the way to school yesterday – the drivers’ faces of gratitude were lovely!

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