How To Put Time On Your Side To Avoid Stress
If you're like me, you can run late more often than you like to. When I am running late, I have the tendency to repeatedly check the time for how late I am by the minute, I rush while driving and I tense up until I get to where I need to be. This adds stress to the body, makes food harder to digest and raises the cortisol level. Chronic stress can lead to memory problems. Here are some tips I've been putting into practice:
1) Add Cushion. If your appointment is at 11am with a 30 min drive, tell yourself you need to leave an hour before. Lock that time in your head. Leaving early allows for any unexpected things like traffic jams, accidents and needing to stop for gas. Arriving to your destination early allows for quiet time for meditation, to collect your thoughts before a meeting/appointment. Your drive will be much more relaxed and you will use less fuel without the need to speed.
2) Set your clock 15 minutes fast. This may sound silly because you will remember that you have done this and just push off tasks for a little later. But it can catch you off -guard at times and creates a sense of urgency.
3) Relax while waiting. If you end up being late anyway, think to yourself, "Can I make up for lost time safely? If the answer is no and your are stuck in traffic, make the most of it. If you don't have control over the outcome, have control over the journey. Make lemonade out of lemons--play music. Take deep breaths. If a friend is late picking you up, which makes you both late for a party, use the time to relax. While you are waiting, have a meditation session until they show up. Use them as your timer.
4) Use tools like Google Maps. Did you know they have a feature to let you know how traffic will be at a certain time? Once you put in the To and From addresses, it will have a feature underneath such as Leave Now, Depart By and Arrive By, which tells you when to start. You can choose the day and time of departure.
5) Change your perception of stress & time. More often, the situation is not stressful. It's how we perceive a situation that is stressful. You may think that arriving to an appointment will disrupt a schedule, but you can be wrong. I was on my way to my acupuncturist, running late. I was stressed out because her calendar fills quickly and I do not want to impose on people's time. I called to report that I was going to get there 20 minutes late and asked if I should reschedule. But since another patient cancelled their appointment recently, it worked out fine that I was late. I was able to relax during the drive. If I was advised to reschedule, then I wouldn't feel the need to rush anywhere.