Every year, at least twice, our family makes the 18-hour drive from Chicago to Savannah. I have spent many hours being really, really uncomfortable in the driver’s seat.
Due to this fact, I think a lot about being comfortable in a car, both as driver and as passenger.
Recently, Feldenkrais Method practitioner Rachel Hamstra offered this blog post about car comfort: http://www.rachelhamstra.com/blog/2015/5/11/how-to-find-car-comfort
I found Rachel’s suggestions to be helpful and I’ve got a couple of my own:
Notice your breathing. Are you holding your breath? No need to breath in any certain way. Just breathe your way.
You are not glued to your seat so move yourself around regularly. Turn on some music and do a little car-seat dancing. (Dance wisely!)
Singing gets your insides vibrating nicely and gives the inside of you a little workout. Singing is also a good way to get rid of traffic stress (and any other stress you may have lurking about).
Avoid texting. Texting is challenging enough when walking (I can’t even believe I wrote that), but driving and texting is insane (not to mention illegal)! Even if you’re at a dead stop, unless it’s an emergency (and if it’s an emergency, make a call). Texting in the car causes tension (which it should since we have no business doing it) and increased tension is bad enough in a short drive, but in a long one, it can lead to pain.
In short, attend to your driving and your body.
Take some time to set up your cockpit. Rachel told us about the adjustments that may be available for the seats, so try them out.
Also, as you set up your cockpit, see if you can make it so that you don’t have to reach for anything – even if it feels a little close at first. If you don’t have to make compensations you will be more comfortable. Even small compensations can lead to big discomforts after a while.
Take care of yourself.
Take breaks when you need to. Find a safe place to pull over, so that you can get out and move around some more.
You may feel like you really want to stretch hard after being in the car for a while, but your muscles, tendons and ligament might prefer that you go easy. You might start with a walk. Look around as you walk – really look around. Where your eyes go your spine follows and looking around is a nice, gentle way to give your spine some relief. Owl impressions are not necessary, but look in every direction a few times – even under you and behind you.
Thank you, to Rachel Hamstra, for her blog post and inspiration for this post.