Young Asian woman driving a car.

Filipinos are no strangers to Manila traffic or the fact that it occasionally goes viral. However, it’s still a major source of stress for drivers, , and passenger princesses everywhere. Nobody is immune to the hassle that comes with it, so here’s a list of ways to help you stay cool on whatever road you get stuck on. Red light, green light, go.

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration solves a lot of problems. It and irritability while boosting calmness and positive emotions – everything you need to get through rush hour. Hydrating your skin with your favorite also makes it more resilient against the free radicals that run amok in polluted air.

2. Use Cooling Products

These days, many skincare and grooming products come in cooling formulas. Try a shampoo with mint or tea tree oil to refresh your scalp, or a super absorbent lotion that cools your skin with eucalyptus.

And don’t forget your underarms! Use Rexona Vitamin + Bright Deodorant Spray Vit C + Anti-Stain to stay dry and odor-free while brightening your skin. If you’re looking for an aluminum-free option, go for Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Spray, which has cucumber and to soothe and protect your ‘pits.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Even hardcore fashion girls would agree that sitting in Manila traffic requires a special kind of OOTD. There are no rules; just wear something that won’t make you overheat or feel constricted. If you’re a commuter, stick to clothing that gives you room to move comfortably even in a packed jeepney or MRT car.

4. Carry a Portable Fan

No, you don’t need an air-purifier-slash-headphones-slash-aircon that’s straight out of Westworld. (Although, of course, you can wear one if you want to.) In most cases, a simple portable fan will do. It’ll save you the trouble of having to wave a pamaypay, which, let’s be honest, makes you .

5. Go Easy on the Makeup

While there’s nothing wrong with looking good on the road, try sticking to skin care and sunscreen if you’re commuting in Manila traffic. Doing so will make you feel lighter in the heat. It will also help prevent product, sweat, and oils from and causing breakouts. If you’re driving, you may be able to get away with a full face, but you’ll probably have to blot your T-zone when you get to your destination.

6. Listen to Music

Occupy your time by listening to music. Create a playlist of songs with slow tempos, predictable melodies, and lyrics that are positive and comforting. According to neuroscientists at , the most relaxing song in the world is called “Weightless” by Marconi Union. The song was specifically created to help improve well-being through therapeutic sound. That said, no one’s stopping you from blasting “Highway to Hell” if that’s your jam.

7. Do Breathing Exercises

Being stuck in Manila traffic means dealing with extra stress that can build up over time. A study published in the journal of reported that anxious commuters and drivers experience a heart rate elevation of nine beats per minute every day, for at least an hour.

While you can't avoid traffic, you may be able to minimize its long-term effects such as anxiety, a weak immune system, or cardiovascular issues using breath control. Harvard Health calls the practice “breath focus” or deep, abdominal breathing, which stabilizes the heartbeat and regulates blood pressure.

8. Prep Before Leaving

Another way to avoid stress is by preparation. Organize your things so you don’t leave important items (like chargers or eyeglasses) at home. Eat a decent breakfast so you don’t get hungry on the road. And pee before leaving the house so you don’t have to worry about looking for a toilet in the middle of EDSA.

9. Leave a Bit Earlier

There’s a Japanese concept called “yutori,” which loosely translates to “spaciousness.” It’s about living in a state of well-being because you’ve made space for it. You can achieve a sense of yutori even as you navigate Manila traffic by leaving the house earlier than usual. The idea is to arrive at your destination with enough time and space to breathe, perhaps retouch your hair and makeup, and decompress from your journey.

10. Don’t Let Your Intrusive Thoughts Win

Discipline and self-control are two essential soft skills for drivers. As the ancient saying goes, it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Let rude drivers be. Don’t engage in road rage. If you find yourself in a staring match, de-escalate the situation by thinking about cute, fluffy animals. When you let your intrusive thoughts win, at least in Manila traffic, everybody loses.

Follow the tips above to stay fresh and keep your cool in Manila traffic. And if you’re just not up for it, there’s no shame in to protect your peace.