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In Touch With 21st - October 2013

How to De-Stress Your Commute

How to De-Stress Your Commute

The morning commute. Three words that almost universally create a feeling of dread. Getting cut off, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic or driving through bad weather – all can combine to create anxiety or stress. There are a number of steps you can take to make your commute to and from work more pleasant, starting with identifying driving-related stress triggers and how you respond to them. No matter what troubles you about your commute, here are some solutions that may help ease the level of stress you experience.

Change Your Point of View

It’s not always the distance; day after day even a 15-minute commute can eventually become routine and frustrating. Look for ways to vary the ride to help pass the time. Find an alternate route or listen to some new music. Before you begin your trip, check out the free app Songza. It can help you find new music for your commute based on different factors, such as your mood or the time of day. Some other apps you might want to check out before starting your commute are Waze and Inrix Traffic, that can help provide traffic info and alternate routes to explore. However, never use your phone while driving. Other happy commuters simply look at this time as time for themselves, when the responsibilities of the workplace are over and before they become involved in home activities.

Change Your Times

Leaving an hour earlier a few days a week can change how you see your commute, as there may be less traffic on the road, and along with less traffic, less delays. After work, if you vary your schedule by waiting until after the typical rush home you may find your drive much more pleasurable, even if you only do it once or twice a week.

Turn Off Technology

Many of us spend a majority of our waking hours connected to technology. If you think about it, your commute may be the only part of the day when you can disconnect. Take advantage of the opportunity to unplug and mentally recharge: turn off your phone until you arrive home or at the office. Spending some time tech-free can benefit both mental and physical health, and might make your commute more pleasant. Once it becomes part of your routine, you might actually come to look forward to this tech-free time.


In addition to the positive effects on the environment — it helps reduce pollution and fewer cars on the road means less traffic — carpooling can have a number of other positive side-benefits. It can be comforting to realize you aren’t alone in the commute, and many times can lead to lasting friendships. The added financial benefit of saving on gas makes carpooling very attractive.

Take control of your commute

A daily commute can be looked at as “free time” between other obligations, but only if we choose to do so. Thinking about a situation differently can help reduce stress in many circumstances, whether before an event or while commuting to and from your job. You can feel a greater sense of control over your commute and minimize anxiety simply by changing the time you leave, the route you take or how you respond to stressors along the way. Your commute is what you make it, whether by where you choose to live, work or the attitude you take toward it. Remember, you’ll get to where you want to go; sometimes it just takes a little longer than anticipated.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: www.iii.org; www.naic.org; www.mashable.com; www.helpguide.org; songza.com; waze.com; inrixtraffic.com

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