Driving while stressed is as dangerous as talking on your cellphone, having the same effect by impairing your judgement and concentration. However, Ford South Africa suggests doing the following exercises in your car to help relieve stress, keeping you alert and refreshed while driving.
Exercise 1: Breathe Easy
Breathing is key when combating stress, so it’s important to first start with a relaxed rhythm to help calm you down. Take long, slow, deep breaths to immediately release tension. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth for at least four counts. Breathing regularly will help soothe your brain and body to cope with the stress of traffics jams.
Exercise 2: Unwind
After a long day sitting at the office, you are prone to tension in your neck. When you get into your parked car, or when you’re at a red robot, with both hands on the wheel, keep your shoulders down and slowly roll your head in a half-circle in both directions. If there’s a certain spot that needs some extra stretching, hold your stretch a bit longer. Then, keeping both hands on the wheel, twist to the right and left, as if you’re checking your blind spots.
Exercise 3: Bend Over
When you are at a complete stop, raise your hands up, and inhale deeply. While you exhale, fold your body forward so that your upper body is hanging over the steering wheel. Take a few deep breaths like this to loosen up your muscles. Then, cross one arm across your chest and use the other to pull your elbow in toward the body, repeating on the reverse side. This weight of the pull will release tension in your lower back.
Exercise 4: Make A Fist
Driving requires using both your hands and feet, so it’s important that they are not stiff and tense. While at a complete stop, clasp your hands together and rotate them twisting in a circular motion, helping to release tension and circulate blood flow. After putting your stationary car into park/neutral, do the same exercise with your feet, twisting each foot in circular motions to release tension.
Remember, just because you’re stuck in a traffic jam doesn’t mean you have to suffer from stress. Use that time in your car to your advantage and release the day’s tension. You’ll feel much better when you reach your destination!