Do you know that getting stuck in traffic is both unhealthy and costly? One study revealed that a commuter in the National Capital Region (NCR) spends over 185 hours on traffic every year, costing them nearly $1,200. Multiply that with the number of people on the road, and you’ll get billions.

Let’s not forget that being in traffic for hours is stressful. Chronic stress can lead to many conditions, such as hypertension.

What do you do when you cannot handle the Manila traffic? Consider these ideas:

1. Move Away from the Busiest Districts

Manila is notorious for its traffic. You can’t avoid it unless you live far from work or commute during off-peak hours (only possible if you don’t work 9 to 5).

If you need to move, look for homes near your place of employment or in less congested areas. A good option is staying in a San Juan condominium. It is near Quezon City, but the roads aren’t as busy.

2. Relocate to Nearby Provinces

Your work might keep you in Manila, but you can stay in Rizal and still commute to the city. Or if you want to get away from traffic, move or buy a home near Tagaytay.

You can also consider places like Davao and Cebu, which are rich in urban metros. Although traffic here is also getting worse, it is still not as bad as Manila’s. If you enjoy peace, head to Palawan or La Union. As a bonus, you have easy access to the beach.

3. Do Something Else While on the Road

Traffic doesn’t have to ruin your quality of life. Take advantage of the time by listening to a podcast or reading a book if you commute. You can also call a friend and catch up while stuck in traffic.

Other activities you can do include playing a cellphone game, taking an online course (some are already accessible over your phone), or hunting for a job that’s closer to you or away from Manila’s busiest cities.

When you’re stressed, the right tunes can make it better. Bring your headphones and play something instrumental to avoid distractions from road conditions. You can also try a playlist that features songs with calming beats, such as those of Enya or Snow Patrol.

Even if we cannot avoid traffic, we can still make the most of our time – and our lives – by doing something worthwhile during the commute.

4. Opt for a Hybrid Setup in the Office

Employers can’t stop the traffic buildup, but they can make their employees’ lives easier by putting up a hybrid office setup.

In this arrangement, you go to the office only on certain days of the week. It can be two or three times – the most essential thing is you don’t spend all your days commuting or driving.

Obviously, whether your office will go hybrid isn’t in your control. However, if you’re not alone in this sentiment, you can lobby to the management. Some things are always worth trying.

5. Find Remote Work Options

Remote work is on the rise, and for good reasons. People are embracing the freedom of working from home or any place they want. And employers are taking advantage of this setup because it can be more cost-effective. Moreover, with more productivity applications in the market, collaboration and management are not as complicated as managers think.

If you find your current job too exhausting because of the mandatory time spent in traffic, look for remote work or freelancing. You can also try working for an online business where you only need a laptop to get started. You can avoid traffic and still earn a steady income with these options.

6. Learn to Say No When Necessary

If your schedule is packed from Monday to Sunday and you can’t go anywhere or eat out, it’s about time to say no.

Learn to be assertive and make the necessary adjustments in your life. If you need more time for yourself and your family, break away from unnecessary commitments.

And if that’s not enough reason to prioritize what matters most, then consider this: You will spend more time with your loved ones and can finally enjoy life.

7. Get a Carpool Buddy

If you live far from the city, carpooling is one solution to cutting down on commuting time and wasting gas. Even better, you are likely to get bored while stuck in traffic.

When it comes to finding someone who’d ride along as a passenger, you have options. You can ask your housemate or, better yet, your co-worker. You can also try joining an online community for carpooling in Metro Manila.

Traffic is one of the most common complaints among Filipinos, but you don’t have to let this problem beat you down. You do have a choice on how to manage it (although let’s hope things will get better soon).