When I close my eyes, I imagine warm cozy, candle-lit atmospheres, the sound of a crackling fire, shiny, sparkling Christmas trees and the smell of pine needles, cinnamon and clove.
HONK! And then I open my eyes and remember I’m still sitting on the dark highway like a burnt out bulb in a long string of taillights. I’m seeing red, and it’s not Santa.
The week leading up to Christmas creates a big increase in traffic, adding to the stress of the holidays. It’s easy to get wrapped up in long to-do lists and completely forget to enjoy the season. But if you are unable to work from home, take time off, or do all your shopping online, you will probably find yourself zipping along the highway at 2 whole miles per hour. You travel at faster speeds on the treadmill, and get just about as far.
Frustrating? Yes. However, assuming that no other alternative exists at present, how can you retain your sanity and Christmas spirit when confronted with a highway full of scrooge drivers?
Here are a few ideas:
1) Avoiding the rush as much as possible is the most obvious, yet most effective idea. Ask if your work hours can be adjusted to beat some of the traffic. Shop online as much as possible, and when you must go out to a store, figure out the times when the fewest people have the same idea.
2) Blast your favorite music and sing along to your steering wheel. (It’ll never tell anyone how out of tune you get on bumpy roads.)
3) My sister listens to books on tape. I haven’t tried this yet but she says it’s fantastic.
4) Comedians on Pandora or podcasts. Because it’s hard to road rage while laughing.
5) Imagine the other driver who just cut you off not as a Grinch, but as someone who like you, wants to get home, is a bit stressed out and struggling with traffic. Pretend it was your mom who just cut you off, you’ll feel more forgiving!
6) Get creative. Find something you enjoy to distract yourself from ruminating on every jerk driver around you. Nothing so distracting that takes your attention from being a good driver yourself, of course. Someone has to watch the road; cause the other guy sure isn’t paying attention!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!