Tips for beating traffic-induced stress in D.C.

Tips for beating traffic-induced stress in D.C.

As a resident of Washington D.C., there’s a great chance you spent an unwanted chunk of your time today in traffic. It comes with the territory; you realize that living in a big city is a lot more stressful than life in a small town, or even the suburbs. And you also know that Washington D.C. ranks first in the nation for the most time spent in a traffic standstill.

That constant fifth-gear lifestyle of big city schedules, matched with the hurry-up-and-wait of traffic snarls, equals stress.

And stress can often lead to health problems. For example, did you know that your heart works harder when you’re freaking out about being late for meetings due to congestion snags? Did you know that high blood pressure, also caused frequently from stress overload, can lead to cardiovascular problems?

If you feel you spend more of your time in the driver’s seat of your car than on the living room couch, perhaps it’s time for you to reincarnate the car and create a place of peacefulness and calm. Here are a few hints for better handling those stressful moments between home and office:

  • Tape record conversations with your children, especially the sound of their laughter. Encourage the kids to talk about various topics. But don’t listen to what they say until you are traveling in the car.
  • Invest in an assortment of stand-up comedians on CDs.
  • Add sweet photos of friends and family to the car visor. Scotch tape a couple of them to the dashboard so you frequently see the smiles of the people who love you.
  • Collect all the music that makes you tap your toes and sing your heart out. Blast it in traffic. And sing along as loudly as you can.
  • Do some deep breathing exercises. Breathe in. Breathe out.
  • Find an air freshener or scented oil that has a calming scent, like lavender or vanilla, and enjoy some aromatherapy while in the car.
  • When you finally get home safely, don’t go immediately to the couch and TV. Do some stretches. Take a quiet walk. Horseplay and laugh with the kids.


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