7 smart ideas for a stress-free commute

Most working Canadians spend a significant amount of time commuting, which can easily cause unhealthy stress. Here are several suggestions on how to minimize the tension from your commute.

7 smart ideas for a stress-free commute

1. Use that commute time.

If you've always been meaning to learn Spanish or read the latest best-sellers, now's your chance. You can borrow audio books on CD from the library or download them from the Internet to burn onto CDs or upload onto your MP3 player. Even coming to a standstill is bearable when you're in the thick of an exciting story.

2. Leave early.

Ten minutes can make all the difference. Do this both coming and going. The less sense of time urgency, the less stress during your commute.

3. Plan alternative routes.

Take time to figure out other ways to get to and from work. If you know you can go a different way, you automatically have more control over the situation.

4. Prepare the evening before.

Check the weather and traffic reports on local websites for information on possible hold-ups and delays. Listen to local radio for warnings and updates before you set out.

5. Work out.

Do isometrics while driving by tensing and relaxing your leg muscles, tensing your arm muscles against the resistance of the steering wheel and/or tensing your abdominal and chest muscles. When done correctly for bouts of 10 to 15 seconds, these toning exercises can improve your fitness without adding time to your schedule.

6. Match your mood to the radio.

Tune into a music station and a news station. Use your travel time to catch up with the news, then switch to music before you arrive to relax or energize yourself.

7. Drive an automatic.

There's little fuel saving to driving a standard shift. On new cars, automatic transmissions have become increasingly fuel-efficient. From a stress point of view, an automatic will make driving much easier.

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