Commuter relief

Five ways to turn rush hour into happy hour.

By Leah Macpherson

How to keep calm during rush hour

You're late, AGAIN! Traffic is at a dead stop, drivers are anxiously jockeying in and out of lanes, and some jerk just cut you off to gain five meters. Is the daily commute enough to make you TOTALLY lose it?  Well, you're not alone. Traffic and stress can make otherwise mild mannered people turn ugly – 5 million Canadians were victims of road rage last year. Dr. Lucille Peszat, a Psychotherapist at the Canadian Center for Stress and Well-Being, suggests the following tips to help turn rush hour into happy hour.

1. Beat the clock
Timing is everything! It may sound elementary, but leaving yourself a little extra time to reach your destination can make the difference between a rushed, stressful commute and a smooth trip.
• Leave 20 or 30 minutes early. The extra time will give you a buffer zone if you hit a traffic snag, and allow you to arrive at work calm and unruffled.
• Take advantage of up-to-the-minute traffic reports – a heads-up on an accident or road closure will give you enough time to consult a map and plan a detour.
• Experiment with different routes to work – a more circuitous course may actually be quicker if it's less traveled. And a change of scenery can be refreshing, too!

2. Boost your productivity
Since you're stuck in the car anyway, why not use the time to strike a few items off your to-do list?
• Consider a GPS system – plan your route and reach your destination as quickly as possible.
• Invest in a hands-free headset for your cell phone – you can dish the dirt with the girls or confer with a colleague during the ride home!
• Forget pen and paper, a digital voice recorderwill allow you to stay on top of things at work and at home – memos, grocery lists, scheduling, etc.


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