PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — The grind of a daily commute is a pain a lot of Southern California residents experience, but it turns out women feel the frustration more than men.
For Rosa Reddington of Porter Ranch, the stress of picking up her kids on time begins long before they’ve even left the house.
After drop-off, Reddington says, “Those doors open and I say, ‘Goodbye’ and they close, and I’m just like, ‘OK.’ ”
Reddington commutes from Chatsworth to downtown Los Angeles, a drive that can take anywhere from an hour and twenty minutes to 2 ½ hours in heavy traffic from the 118 Freeway to the 210 Freeway to the 2 Freeway and the final crawl into downtown.
She says she spends a lot of the time stressing.
“So many things that I have to think about. I see a calendar in my head,” she said.
Sheryl Ross, an OB/GYN at Providence St. John’s Hospital, agrees with the findings of a British study that concluded women are much more stressed by commuting than men.
“And it starts at home with our children, our teenage kids, dealing with our elderly parents, certainly hormonal issues and I think it affects us in so many ways physically and we know it affects us behind-the-wheel,” Ross said.
The study found the psychological impact was felt by most working moms with preschool children. In fact, their stress levels from commuting were four times greater than those of dads, according to researchers.
Reddington says her husband Brent’s commute is longer than hers, but she says: “He’s not wondering if they have a towel or a snack or their lunch ticket or their money to buy a Popsicle or if they had sunscreen on this morning.”
While studies have shown that stress is worse for women behind-the-wheel, there are ways to manage it.
“It’s creating healthy routines and lifestyle changes so that you sleep well at night. You eat healthy. You do regular exercise and may include yoga or meditation or mindfulness. These are all things that help you manage stress overall,” Ross said.
The biggest tip of all: Experts say you need to admit you can’t control everything, especially while you’re driving.
In Reddington’s case, she reduces the worrying by keeping a calendar and making lists before she ever gets behind-the-wheel.
“I’m pretty organized and I keep a pretty good calendar so I have reminders of everything at all times,” she said.