Stress is a natural thing that almost everyone encounters throughout their life. However, for truck drivers, stress can multiply. Isolation, loneliness, traffic, poor diets are factors that contribute to the levels of stress truckers face. Even though there is an increase of support and research into mental and physical health tips for driving professionals, truckers need to have ways to manage stress while working.
To help our fellow truck drivers, we put together some tips to help you destress on the road.
Top Ways For Truckers To Manage Stress
Get enough sleep
Think you can get through a haul with only a few hours of sleep? 35.2% of all adults report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night. As a trucker, sleep is crucial to help you stay focused on the road, no matter how long your trip is – all of your senses must be awake, and your reflexes fast. Sleep can help promote a healthy emotional and mental state, which can lower stress levels.
Diet can impact your mood
There are great tips to eat healthy on the road for truckers. It’s important to eat on the road and choose healthy, nutritious snacks and meals to fuel your body and mind.
Add exercise and stretching into your routine
Exercise on the road is often overlooked, but it lowers stress levels for truck drivers, especially after sitting for long hours. You don’t need a complex routine to reap the benefits of exercise. Consider walking around the truck stop for 15-30 minutes or downloading an app that guides you through short strength exercises or stretching. If you stay overnight somewhere, try to get in some movement or a long walk before going to bed or before hitting the road. (Fact: 32 laps around an 18 wheeler = 1 mile!)
Listen to a podcast or favourite music
Podcasts and audiobooks offer an opportunity to engage your brain and help you stay mentally focused. Soothing music or your favourite songs can help ease your stress and keep you calm.
Meditation or breathing exercises
When you are driving, consider breathing exercises or listening to meditations. A simple breathwork exercise to start with can look like
- Breathing in deeply through your nose
- Hold your breath for 3-5 seconds and your way up to 7-8 seconds
- Exhale, and count to the number to inhaled
Breathwork helps put the brakes on stress responses and diverts the health problems associated with chronic stress. By evoking the body’s relaxation response, deep abdominal breathing can help reduce blood pressure.
Plan your route
Knowing where you’re going and what traffic may be like can help lower stress levels. Take advantage of your GPS and plan a base route to take. It’s also a good idea to have a backup route in case of construction or congestion.