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Like in many West Coast metros, the phrase “rush hour” in San Diego doesn’t quite cut it, because traffic actually spans many hours, and it takes a whole lot of local savviness to get ahead of it (or behind or around or over or under).
Weaving your way through the madness can feel like a triumph, but what if you could get home from work without feeling like pulling your hair out?
Believe it or not, that dream is possible. Here are some tips to help you handle just about anything San Diego rush hour has to throw at you (minus the road rage).
It’s no secret that working out is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay. Stop off your route for a fitness class! Not only will you get rid of all that “I-hate-traffic-and-everyone-on-this-freeway” energy, but you’ll also have a rush of endorphins elevating your mood.
Finding a class that fits your schedule, daily route, and workout preferences may seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a look at the *tons* of studios on the Mindbody app for classes based on time, location, and fitness category so you can choose the best one for you. To make it even easier, we did some research (and tried some classes) for you! Check it out.
If you live up in North County...
Try a class at Lagree Fit & Versa Fit in South Oceanside right at the end of the 78. Their Versa Fit classes are only 30-minutes, and trust us, they’ll whip you into shape in the morning. Or if you like to work out on your way home, meet some friends for a Dollhouse Fitness pole dancing class or Pilates at Pilates Republic, both off the 5 in Encinitas.
If you work in the Carmel Valley/Sorrento Valley business district...
There’s plenty of great fitness studios you can hit right after work to kill some time before jumping in the heavy traffic going both north and south. There’s an F45 Training right off the 56 with 45-minute long cardio and strength training classes and a BARRE + bay wreath just above the 5-805 split (with barre, flowers, and coffee?!). Heading home towards PB? Infinite Fitness has got it all (bootcamp, Pilates, interval training, + more) right off the 5 in Bay Ho.
If you take the 805...
If you stick on the 805 during your commute, hop off for a quick Pilates class at Beyond Pilates in Normal Heights. Want to take out that pent-up road rage in a healthy way? Try BoxFit in North Park for a fun and challenging class. Maybe you’re more into bootcamp and strength training... try Renegade Fitcamp on University Ave to feel the burn.
If your office is downtown...
And at the very end of the 163 in Cortez Hill, there’s a great little yoga studio called (you guessed it) The Little Yoga Studio. Stop here for a post-work Vinyasa to calm yourself down before jumping on the road. On the way up the 5 in Bankers Hill, Saffron & Sage also has yoga, and they offer tons of wellness treatments as well if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. Want to sweat? belle + barre has a heart-pumping heated barre class off the 163 in Hillcrest. Don’t like the heat? Try Studio Barre right down the street (you don’t have to be a barre pro to try it)!
More of a passive listener than a daily exerciser? No problem—there’s more than one way to keep your cool when you hit that 5-805 Split. Rather than getting caught up in the relentless bobbing and weaving of other impatient drivers, or the stop-and-go flow of the cars in general, simply put on a podcast to keep you entertained (and grounded)!
If rush hour has you feeling especially frazzled, try playing The Mindful Podcast. This features short episodes that help you practice—you guessed it—mindfulness. You’ll be amazed how much a quick bout of meditation transforms your attitude toward the traffic.
Or maybe you’re more interested in something that will help you regain a positive perspective. The Happiness Lab podcast is full of impactful episodes on the science of happiness and tools to increase your overall positivity.
If you practice yoga or meditation regularly basis, you know how much breathing can transform your physical and mental responses to a situation. Instead of wracking yourself with tension as you try to make your way west on the 52, try out this simple breathing exercise:
1. Inhale through your nose slowly, trying to fill your lower lungs first before moving into
2. Hold the breath for three seconds.
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth, all while relaxing areas that commonly hold tension
such as your jaw and shoulders.
If you could use a little help relaxing, stop for a massage, facial, or body service (think peels, scrubs, and wine therapy) after work downtown at Alleviating Whispering Waters Day Spa. Then, turn on The Complete Rush Hour Chill Out Experience playlist, and you’ll be able to breathe through rush hour like a pro.
Essential oils are all the rage today, and for good reason. Certain aromas inspire relaxed physical responses, and others can boost your overall mood. For example, the smell of lavender oil impacts the limbic system, leading to an overall sense of calm. And pure rose can drop your adrenaline levels (*cough, cough* road rage).
Valerian and jasmine oils have also long been used to create a sense of relaxation. If you plan on using essential oils in the morning, jasmine may be your best bet, as it’s the least likely to cause any sort of drowsiness.
Lucky for us, there are so many different brands we can try! Whether you’re just beginning your morning commute from home near Chula Vista or trying to escape the throes of post-workday traffic near Sorrento Valley, you should always have essential oils on deck. Hint: invest in a car diffuser to achieve maximum calm!
Other than fitness classes, there are plenty of ways to kill time after work and wait for the traffic to die down. Ask some coworkers or friends to happy hour or dinner at your favorite healthy restaurant, grab a hard kombucha at JuneShine, pack a picnic and watch the sunset at a local park or lookout, or use an intro offer to try out cryotherapy at RejuvCryo & Wellness or a stretch sesh at Stretch U.
What about beauty services? If you need to make time for them anyways, why not schedule them along your route right after work? For threading, microblading, and more, try Omnia Salon in Hillcrest. For haircuts and styling, check out Wild Honey Salon in Bankers Hill. And for facials, waxing, body treatments, and more try Viva Brazil downtown.
Rush hour stress can be avoided simply by practicing kindness and empathy rather than feeding into anger and frustration. At the end of the day, you can’t control other people’s behaviors, you can only control your reactions.
The next time someone swerves in front of you just as you’re about to exit to your Downtown office, take a moment to consider that maybe they’re in an even bigger hurry than you are, or they might not have seen you. A little bit of empathy goes a long way to quelling your own tension.
No two ways about it—traffic f*cking sucks. San Diego rush hour is a unique beast, but it can be conquered with the right attitude and methods. Get in the right headspace, book a class at one of San Diego’s bountiful fitness studios, find a studio close to your offramp, and get back on the road without your fist out the window.
Things are weird. Times are changing. It seems like just when we’re starting to get a grip, there’s another surprise. When it comes to beauty, we've had to adapt on our own due to salon closures, keep an eye on preparations and protocol changes during those closures, try to know what we’re doing before booking an appointment once they reopened, and maybe even brave the journey back to the salon. Whether you live in a place where salons are open, you’ve experienced a second shutdown, or you straight up haven’t had a haircut since March, we can all probably agree that we’re expecting some differences in the salon and spa world thanks to COVID.
We wanted to gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling about all this, so we put out a poll on our Instagram, asking you all what you expect from beauty salons right now.
Here’s what you had to say...
53% of you have returned to the hair salon by now, while 47% of you have not. This makes sense, because every area of the country is different when it comes to cases, closures, and mandates, and every person is different when it comes to risk and safety.
While many hair salons have begun operating outdoors due to government regulations, 58% of you said you’re fine with getting your haircut indoors, while the other 42% are more comfortable keeping it outside.
58% of you said you’d rather go to your hair salon than have your stylist come to you. I get it, home is a safe space, probably shouldn’t let any outsiders in.
69% of you said you’re “totally!” going to tip more for services once you start receiving them again. During this time without our stylists and aestheticians, I think we all realized how much we need them and appreciate them, and many of us are willing to show them a little extra gratitude to make up for the time we spent apart.
But, most of you aren’t. 56% of you said you have not cut or colored your own or a friend’s hair, because it was too risky, while the other 44% just “had to!”
Only 29% of you have returned to nail salons, while the rest are sticking to at-home manicures. Maybe we’re all just getting really good at it? But probably, it’s because a lot of them are still closed down, or because it’s a little more difficult to get a pedicure outdoors (we need our massage chairs!).
Our last poll question asked about what differences you’ve all noticed when heading back to the salon, and you all had a lot to say...
It’s a beautiful thing to see how the salon and spa community has come together, taken precautions, and adjustments, all so they can continue to help us look and feel our best. If you haven’t spoken to your stylist lately (or even if you have), don’t forget to shoot them a thank you and let them know you appreciate them.