February Challenge: Zen on the Road

February is Valentine’s Day, and so I think it’s as good a time as any to focus on some self-love. It’s no secret that I’ve been incredibly stressed out lately, and so I’d like to take the month of February to commit to doing something stress-relieving.

I thought for a while about what that stress-relieving thing might be. Reading more? I feel like I am already doing well on that front (just brought my total books read count for January up to 11 this weekend). TED Talks in the morning? That petered off for me last year. And as I mentioned last week, I’d love to work on decluttering my house, but I’m just not going to be home enough in February for that to be realistic as a daily goal.

But a little bit like my TED Talks resolution from last year, and like my epiphany a few weeks ago about the power of a lunch break, I thought I could carve out some time for myself in the midst of another activity. With Dallas traffic and my frequent weekend jaunts to the mountains (okay, not so frequent lately, but I’m hoping to change that in February), I spend a lot of time in my car. Lately, I spend a lot of that time talking on the phone – making appointments, catching up with family/friends, and making plans. My cars in Boulder and Dallas both have hands-free Bluetooth systems, so I’m not breaking the law by talking… but I’ll admit that I’ve definitely looked at my phone while I’m driving, which I know is a very bad thing.


Actually, most “texting when driving” laws prohibit the use of electronic devices to write, send or read messages while driving… no matter what that platform.

So, how about I kill two birds with one stone – and replace any bad driving habits with something good? For the month of February, I’m going to designate any driving time as “zen” time, when I will listen to music or podcasts and ignore the outside world.

Remember the days before all planes had wi-fi, and the plane was my quiet time to plan and think about all kinds of crazy things? I pretty much always have emails to respond to on my flights these days, so turning off the wi-fi isn’t an option… but I miss that forced period of being unreachable. For the month of February, I’m turning car drives into that peaceful, unreachable time. Sure, it may result in a few missed connections as people try to change plans last minute, but for the most part, we should all be committing adults who don’t have to change the plan at the last minute right? (Related article: Millennials Are Flakes, But Here’s How to Change That.)

I think this is going to be a tough challenge, but it’s going to be good for me in more ways than one. Bring on February!


  1. That’s such a great challenge!
    Since most of my travel is personal, and I’m too cheap to pay for WiFi, I made it a rule that when I’m flying I get to catch up on reading, podcasts or audiobooks and it makes it so much more enjoyable. (Except when I do pay for WiFi because the dude next to me is barfing and that NEED to be live Tweeted).
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    • That’s how flying used to be for me too! Now, though, I have an unlimited yearly subscription to Gogo Inflight Wifi so there’s no excuse not to be on :(

  2. I started a new job in January where I now commute by car 35-45 minutes one-way (and before, I worked 100% from home!) I have been using Podcasts to fill the time and help me ensure I don’t get road rage. I wanted to share some favorites:

    If you want to do something more thought-provoking/smart – HBR’s IdeaCast is great!

    If you like True Crime – Serial, if you haven’t already. It’s a bandwagon worth joining. If you like the nerdy facts aspect of stories like this, listen to Undisclosed after Serial season one. They deep dive into the nitty gritty of the case, and it’s fascinating.

    If you want something fun and to make you laugh – The Popcast is my favorite!!!!! Jamie and Knox just talk about their opinions of pop culture and it’s just fun.

    Another one to make you laugh – Mortified. Adults read from their journals they kept when they were kids (and other such things). I started with the Y2K episode and laughed SO hard the entire time.

    • I read a lot of HBR articles; had no idea they had a podcast! That is fantastic. And Mortified sounds really outstanding… I think I need to add that one.

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