One of my colleagues started working closer to home this year. While a shorter drive is always a good thing, she said that being 5 minutes from home, instead of 20 minutes, didn’t give her enough time to rest and change her mindset after a long day of work before getting home to four young kids. This got me to thinking more about my own 15 minute drive work to home. This is a time of my day when I don’t have kids in the car or a reason to be on the phone. I often put on music that is quiet so I can wind down from the day’s events. I use this time to think about my sessions and clear my mind of anything that may interrupt my focus on my husband and kids.
What do you do with your time in the car? Here are a few ideas that come to mind!
PS: These are best during your individual time if you have any and not with kids in tote! 🙂 Also, if you rarely to never spend time driving, replace with walking, riding, boating… whatever works for your life!
Process Your Recent Day. Think about the people you interacted with, emotions you may have felt, and thoughts you may have had. When our minds are busy, this can take away from being in the moment with our loved ones, so if you have an opportunity to process the day’s events before getting home, take advantage of that time.
Plan Your Upcoming Day. Whether you are early or late in your day, consider things you want to accomplish, calls you need to make, and goals for the upcoming day.
Practice Deep Breathing. This is one of the best ways to relax, especially if you had a challenging day, or find yourself feeling anxious.
Notice Your Surroundings. Do you have a beautiful view? What interesting things do you notice? What sounds do you hear? Try using this time to practice being in the moment, even for this part of your day. I bet you will notice something around you that you’re glad you took a moment to find.
Listen to Good Music. My music varies depending on the time of day and my mood. You may choose upbeat, happy music to get you motivated in the morning, and relaxing, inspirational music at the end of the day.
Identify What Your Thankful For. Often times, we spend the car ride focusing on problems or thinking about what needs to be done, but this is a prime opportunity to think about what areas in our life are positive. List these areas in your mind and your will find yourself feeling joy from the positive thinking.
Listen to an Audiobook. I have always been a fan of book on audio, ever since I was little and listened to a Bengi cassette tape over and over. If you think about how much time you spend in the car over a year, it’s likely an incredible amount of time you could be spending getting through a good book! You may choose a good fiction novel (I loved the Hunger Games series), or a self-help book (my most recent was John Gottman’s book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work).
Learn a New Language. I’m sure Rosetta Stone has an audio series that works for traveling. If you spend enough time in a car, I think it would be awesome to use that time to learn something new!
Pray. You definitely want to keep your eyes open on the road, but talk to God on your way to your destination. You may want to express thankfulness or request help for a problem from a higher power. No matter your reason, prayer can bring a sense of peace and joy to your day, whether it is beginning or ending.
How do you spending your car time? I would love to hear your thoughts!
For more information on my clinical practice, please visit www.kimscounseling.com. 🙂