You know it would be good if you can have a few minutes with Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group boss, and ask him about his secrets to productivity. Specifically, an explainer on how he allows his employees to go on unlimited vacations would be an impressive tale to tell. Indeed, there may be no other billionaire on the planet who does that. And we believe there is merit in taking a break.
Well, everyone must handle stress these days. Right? No one, not even the most entitled kings and queens of today, is safe from the mind-twisting effects of daily stress.
And what do you know, America is under siege by no less than stress itself. Studies show that nearly half of Americans experience stress daily for the past five years. As a result, people have lost their appetite, productivity, and opportunity. Considering that this study was done before COVID-19 hit the world makes us wonder what the statistics are now.
The good news is stress can be manageable and in multiple ways. One of the most immediate solutions available to you is simple: drive. Why is this helpful for stress?
Alone Time Clears Your Mind
Right off the bat, let’s be clear. Driving into congested traffic is stressful. That’s true. All that waiting can surely test your patience. So, as much as possible, plan your getaway drive to somewhere away from the urban mix. A drive that gets you closer to nature should do the trick.
It’s all about mindset. Many of us, through the years, have equated driving with stress. But a leisurely drive can do wonders if you do it right.
For one, you have a lot of me-time. And that’s a good thing. When you’re so hard-pressed by the exigencies of work, alone time can be a timely pill to clear your mind.
In fact, studies point out that solitude is good for your soul. It is a great way to improve your mental health.
You might find driving a car costly, but it can be a better means of escape than riding public. In hindsight, ensure you won’t be spending time at the side of the road calling a mechanic on the day you take a leisure drive.
Make sure your car is in tiptop shape a day before you go. For speedy repair and maintenance, a shop with mobile column car lifts is best. Instead of the usual jacks, these hydraulic wonders allow mechanics to get into the heart of the problem with relative ease. These experts can better survey the vehicle and not have to go down dirty.
Away from It All
You might think it’s like burying your head in the sand as an ostrich would (though it’s a myth). But being physically away from all the daily stressors helps you view things from another perspective. By giving yourself some distance, you can figure things out more objectively and without distraction.
In this regard, limiting tech is wise. You may not be aware of it, but tech can play a huge role in providing stress in your life. When work starts calling, and key stakeholders follow up, you can easily be distracted.
Instead, put your smartphone use and social media interaction to a minimum. Better yet, put it all away. You can inform people you work with ahead of time that you’ll be away for a timely retreat. Everyone understands when you go to the gym and can’t answer the phone, so why will this be different?
Besides, if you’re so stressed out, you’re not in the best position to provide a solution to a pressing problem. Endorse anticipated problems to other members of your team, so they can look into them immediately and not wait for you.
And lest we forget, by unplugging yourself online, you do away with another major stressor in the daily lives of millions of people: social media.
Mindfulness at Its Best
Indeed, a change of scenery can be a good thing. Right off the bat, it allows you to relax. But there’s one thing that solitude can offer you. And that’s mindfulness.
You might have heard of the term. It’s actually a product of yoga and meditation, another key method to de-stress. When you achieve mindfulness, you attain clarity. You can focus on your surroundings and the present moment without worrying about negative emotions. In short, your mind and body relax.
Intentional deep breaths can help you achieve mindfulness. If you don’t know how to get it done while driving, here’s an expert’s routine.
And yes, more time with nature means more time with fresh air and sunlight, a lethal combination to do away with stress. So, for now, forget about the long vacations that Sir Richard Branson advocates. If you just want to get a quick, timely boost, go for a drive.