If you can reduce stress in your daily work routine, this is better for you in many ways. On the one hand you are more concentrated on your driving and on the other hand you have much more energy if you don’t get upset about things you can’t change anyway (about a traffic jam, for example, or about the way the person in front of you is driving). Relaxation is also better for your health. High blood pressure has various causes, including stress. Many typical stress symptoms can be reduced or completely avoided with the appropriate relaxation exercises. Here are ten tips for you to use when travelling.
1. Relaxation with music
If you know exactly what kind of music will help you cope with stress, you can always have the songs or artists in your cab. If not, you can find many references to relaxing songs or even just sounds on the Internet. From whale songs to wind chimes to meditation music you will find a huge selection. Everything that gives you inner peace goes. But be aware – If the music makes you sleepy, you should not listen to it on the road, but only during your rest breaks! Or you can pick a captivating audio book instead.
2. When mental stress leads to tension – shoulder massage
Shoulder pain often occurs when people feel that they are carrying something too heavily in a figurative sense. In your case, for example, this may be too tight a schedule for your route. In any case, tense shoulders and the subsequent headache are often the result. If you are stuck in a traffic jam, you can do something about these physical effects and thus also reduce some stress. Let your head hang loosely (look up, you still have your eyes on the road) and knead your shoulders well with the fingers of both hands. As soon as you feel that the muscles are loosening a bit, the pain should also decrease and with it the stress.
3. Another relaxation exercise for the shoulders
Another thing you can do in traffic jams to loosen up your shoulders is the following exercise: Hold your left hand under the seat and lean your head as far to the right as possible. Hold this position for fifteen seconds before loosening and changing sides. This stretches the muscles that run along the back of the shoulders to the side of the neck. You can also do various exercises during your breaks to maintain your physical fitness.
4. Breathing exercises for relaxation
We rarely breathe properly. Most people tend to breathe shallowly, especially in hectic moments. You can even relieve acute stress by deliberately taking deep breaths. And this is how it works. Take a conscious deep breath into your stomach – as if you were smelling a pleasant fragrance (whether you are thinking of a meadow of flowers or fried potatoes is up to you). Count slowly to five. And then you breathe out just as consciously and deeply through your mouth – as if you wanted to blow out a match. Again, count to five. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes and you will find that you have already become much calmer.
5. Wiggling your toes as a relaxation exercise
It may sound strange, but if you are so tense that your whole body tenses up, then wiggle your toes a little. For this movement you exercise muscles in the whole legs and feet, which you otherwise hardly use when driving. Especially in traffic jams you can loosen up your body with this simple exercise if you have switched off the engine or applied the handbrake – we don’t want you to catch the accelerator pedal while wiggling enthusiastically!
6. Laugh for a moment
Even if you don’t feel like smiling at all, pull the corners of your mouth up and hold them there! This exercise actually helps to brighten the mood and can reduce stress. This is because some facial muscles stimulate a nerve that sits between the eye and cheek when you smile. It signals to the brain that a person’s mood is good, and the brain supports this positive feeling by releasing the right hormones. This means that you can actually smile happily. However, you must hold the false smile for at least a minute to notice an effect.
7. Relaxation with crossword puzzles & Co.
After a long day on the road it is important that you get enough sleep to be fresh again the next day. Before you turn on the television or read online news, it is better to relax your mind in a different way. Crossword puzzles or Sudoku, for example, exercise a part of the brain that has little to do during the day. At the same time, these are quiet activities that do not make the body alert again. The bluish light of smartphones and tablets, on the other hand, will keep you awake longer, as will the flickering pictures on your TV. A crossword puzzle or Sudoku also gives you the feeling of a satisfying conclusion when you solve it, and you can just put it away and sleep.
8. Acupressure for more inner peace
If you would like to sleep, but are too stressed to do so, an acupressure exercise can help. For about two minutes, massage the soft spot in the middle below the big toe and the second toe on the bridge of your foot. After this period of time you should notice how the inner stress diminishes and how you slowly become calmer.
9. Tensing and relaxing
If you are already lying in bed and you can’t get to sleep, tense your whole body – every single muscle and as tightly as possible! Hold this position if possible for half a minute, and then let go and relax the whole body again. After 30 seconds repeat the action. Afterwards you should feel much sleepier and more relaxed.
10. Autogenic training: nod off with self-suggestion
If the last exercise was not enough to get you to sleep, you can try autogenic training. It may take some time for this to work, but practice makes perfect. Actively think about individual parts of the body and tell yourself that they feel very heavy. Start with your feet and calves, work your way up your thighs and abdomen, continue with your hands, arms and torso and finally arrive at your head. If your whole body eventually feels heavy and sluggish, sleep is not far away.
Summary: You can reduce stress at any time
You don’t need to suffer from stress whilst doing your job – at the very least, you can make sure you are breathing properly and choose the right music while driving. While you are stuck in traffic jams, there are some exercises that you can do to relieve stress. However, the easiest way is to switch off in the evening so that you can actually sleep. There is a whole range of tried and tested exercises to help you do this – and the next day you will be rested and fresh for the onward journey.