Driving is a such an important task for live a life connected to the community. However it requires a lot of energy, concentration, planning and mutitasking. Things that people with mental health conditions struggle with.
Here are some strategies I have used to help me get back into driving, and also manage my impulsive behaviours.
First getting back into driving.
✅ Supervision first. My husband started supervising my driving on the weekends. On those trips when I was too tired we would swap so I could rest.
✅ Drive short trips initially to regain your confidence and build your concentration.
✅ Drive to places you are familiar with and have a reward in place. I started driving short trips to my local op shop.
✅ Avoid driving in changed weather conditions and at peak times.
My drive to and from work is a long drive. During unwell times I struggle to remain safe whilst driving. E.g. I shut my eyes, drive with no hands and have gotten out of my car to run across a busy freeway.
🐶 Get a driving buddy! Lily is my safety net. Patting her is grounding and she keeps me focused. Since I’ve had lily in the car I have made no attempts to hurt myself in the car. Once I tried, but I remember she was in the car and I stopped.
💦 Keep hydrated, it will help you focus.
😎 If you have certain sensitives keep a relief kit in the car. I keep sunnies in the car and essential oils.
🙏🏻 Pray before you drive. If you don’t prayer focus on a positive quote or affirmation. I pray for friends and family it helps me focus on love.
🎵 Listen to positive music and music that helps you stay present. Organise this before you start driving to avoid becoming frustrated with radio ads e.g I listen to gospel music and Mumford and Sons it gives me hope.
🍃 Stop for breaks if you can
🚦At the lights focus on your breathing and check your posture.
🍫Notice and respond to your comfort needs are you cold, hot, uncomfortable, music too loud, hungry. Muesli bars are great for the car.
🚘 Fill up your car the day before an important trip it will reduce stress.
🧣Keep a blanket in your car. I place it on my lap sometimes as a weight to keep me grounded.
📱 Text a loved one before and after you drive. It will help keep you accountable. Keep their photo on your dash.
Please share and post any tips!
Happy travels! 🚗