Long haul truck drivers travel thousands of miles in a single month, and they face extreme weather conditions throughout the year. So, how can you maintain mental and physical health while on the road? Follow these 10 tips from long haulers to stay motivated and healthy while driving a tractor trailer full time:
1) Know When You’ll Stop Working
If your company makes it clear that their next stop will be at the end of the working day, try to leave early every Sunday or Monday. This way, you’ll have a chance to plan out activities like spending quality time with family or friends, get some exercise in, rest — even grab a good meal. If you know that you’ll never work a second shift again, make sure you sleep enough so that you don’t run into any issues.
2) Plan for Time Off During the Week
Take breaks during the week when you can spend some time off. Try planning a trip somewhere that you always wanted to visit, take a vacation or do something fun. It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing because it’s easy to get sucked into the monotony of driving and miss out on the things that are most important to you.
3) Stay Focused
This may seem obvious, but being focused is crucial to maintaining your mental and physical well-being. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by other aspects of life, such as social media or listening to music too loud. Keep an eye on the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, and focus on your route. Your mind and body will thank you!
4) Take Care of Yourself
It’s tempting to let everything else go when you’re away from home and work, but taking care of yourself mentally and physically goes a long way. Make sure you eat right, get plenty of rest, keep up with your fitness routine and maintain your hygiene. Having clean clothes to wear also helps.
5) Get Help Where You Need It
Don’t feel obligated to hide your struggle from loved ones, especially if you think you might be suffering from depression, anxiety or another stress-related disorder. These days, there are many resources available to help you deal with the challenges of being a long haul driver. For example, check online resources for professional help, look up local support groups or seek out counseling through your employer’s benefits program. There’s no shame in getting help.
6) Be Kind To Yourself
One of the best ways to combat stress is to treat yourself well. Spend money on the things that really matter to you, like buying a new outfit, going out to dinner, treating yourself to a massage or just relaxing by the pool. These things are great reminders of why you do this job and why you should appreciate the hard work you put in each day .
7) Have Fun
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you can’t relax. Set aside some down time to read a book or play games. It’s important to laugh and smile as much as possible; after all, nothing matters more than having a positive outlook. You can accomplish anything when you’re happy and confident.
8) Find Community
The trucking community has a lot of different kinds of people who share similar experiences. Whether you’re looking to find someone to hang out with, talk to about your drive or join a support group, there’s probably a community near you. Many companies offer support and events designed to bring members together.
9) Use Social Media Wisely
This is an age where we are constantly connected to others via technology. But it’s important to use this connection wisely. Don’t post too often on Facebook or Instagram, and be careful not to post anything that could potentially endanger your career. If you need someone to vent to over a tough situation, consider calling them or sending them a quick text. The only thing you should ever post online is information related to your profession, including your schedule, upcoming stops and current events. Otherwise, try to keep your digital footprint to a minimum
10) Remember That Work Is Not All You Do
There’s no doubt that long haul trucking requires a huge commitment. However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of letting it consume you completely. Make time to pursue interests outside of work. Go to the movies, play sports, watch TV shows with friends, listen to music, take a yoga class…whatever you want! It’s your time, so make the most of it.