Let’s face it, who likes to be stuck in traffic? If you live in Malta, you are aware that the traffic situation has become quite bad, it is no longer about avoiding the peak times. Being stuck behind other cars feels like such a time waster. Realistically, it does not seem that this problem will be solved anytime soon, even though we keep widening our roads. You can be part of the solution for example using public transport, nonetheless, this blog is not going to focus on how to solve the traffic problem itself. If you are going to be driving and getting stuck in traffic anyway, perhaps you can try and so something different so that you do not always feel stressed about it. The following are some suggestions of what you can try.
- Carpooling – Besides the fact that you would be doing the environment a favour, try and carpool with colleagues to go to work, tag along with other people to carry out errands, or if you are going out with friends. When you are with other people, you have company and like this you can keep yourself entertained by talking, making jokes etc. They say misery loves company, so find opportunities not to be stuck alone whilst in traffic.
- Phone buddy – Have a buddy to call when you are stuck in traffic. This could be a friend or a family member whom you usually do not have much time to talk to during the day. When you are stuck in traffic with not much to do, give them a call and catch up. Obviously choose a safe way to do this for example using a Bluetooth device so that you are not holding the phone whilst driving.
- Podcasts – Find a topic that you are interested in and listen to podcasts about it. This might be something that you do not do during the day as you are busy with other activities. Since you are stuck not doing much anyway, this could be the time where you use it productively, learning something new about a topic that interests you.
- Shopping list – With the technology that we have today you can easily set up your phone to listen to commands without having to touch it. With virtual assistants such as Siri and Google Assist, you can tell them to add an item/s to your shopping list. You can think of items that you need to add to your grocery list and whilst stuck in traffic tell your assistant to add them to the list.
- Mindfulness – Traffic provides the perfect opportunity to practise mindfulness where you can learn not to let the traffic get to you and make you feel stressed. You can listen to a mindfulness exercise such as breathing exercises. All you must do is follow the steps of the mindfulness exercise which you can easily find on platforms such as YouTube or through apps.
Please keep in mind that the above suggestions are meant to be used when you are stuck in traffic. Make sure to drive safely and do not use your mobile whilst driving.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.