Truck drivers experience a great deal of stress in their professions, and it can dip into important parts of their lives such as health and wellbeing. Today, we wanted to share some tips from Nurse Jesse, our well-being partner, regarding stress management and exercise tips for our drivers.
Get Enough Sleep
- Lack of sleep can impact anxiety, depression, increase frustration, and irritability.
- Tips for sleep: Cool the cab/room 1-2 degrees, dim all lighting, create a bedtime routine, avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime, and avoid watching intense television or devices before sleeping.
- Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost your mood and reduce stress. We know that drivers are always on the job and free time is used to relax and rest. Simple exercises, such as laps around the truck or a simple circuit of stretches, could be very beneficial for your health.
- PTI professional driver Terrie Ussery has been an advocate for health and wellbeing for truckers. Ussery shares meal plans and workout routines on PTI’s chat forum. Ussery states, “I really enjoy using Team Body Project. I have been using them for about a year and they really help me out with stress and stretches. Just exercising gives me a sense of happiness.”
Build a Social Support Network
- When truck drivers spend most of their days on the road, it can become lonely and stressful if they don’t have a good support network. Having close personal relationships, spending time with family, and consistently reaching out to family on the road is vital to coping with stress.
- Additional ways drivers can connect with each other are through social media and truck driver groups. It is a wonderful way to connect and relate with people who share similar experiences and struggles.
Decide what must be done and what can wait. Say “no” to new tasks if they are putting you into overload and communicate with your team to create a plan to ease your workload.
- Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of each day, not what you’ve failed to do.
- PTI professional driver, Gene Laduke echoed “I just simply remind myself that I have a family at home who enjoys having me home on the weekend for cookouts and simple conversation. Sometimes when people get overstressed, they tend to lose track of where they are and who they are. Which leads to others getting hurt.”
Try Relaxation Methods
- Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or listening to music may help.
- As a truck driver, you may not have the space or time to perform elaborate relaxation techniques. Finding a hobby or pastime that relaxes you could be very beneficial. For example, Laduke shares, “Some of the things I do is listen to smooth jazz music, older R&B music. I do a word search or crossword puzzles …”
- Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.
Finally, if your stress becomes unmanageable, do not be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to the network you have built, a loved one, or someone you trust in your workplace. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
Here at PTI, we partner with Nurse Jesse to help drivers through these stressful situations. Overall, these coping mechanisms to manage stress will be extremely beneficial to your health in the long run. For more Information regarding stress management and exercise tips for drivers check out our blog post Packing for the Road.