Any trucker can tell you: Stress is part of the job. Deadlines are tight, regulations are mounting and long hours behind the wheel can be taxing. However, there are plenty of ways that drivers can more effectively deal with the stress they pick up spending days or even weeks at a time on the road, and taking just a few small steps could really improve their daily lives.
Perhaps the most important element to keeping stress low and staying mentally healthy is scheduling time off, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. There is often an impulse to just take as many jobs as can be packed into a given week or month, and while that's certainly understandable from a financial standpoint, it can really put a lot of stress not only on drivers, but also their families. To that end, having at least one day off every week is always a good idea.
What else can be done?
In addition, health experts also say it's important for drivers to make sure their mental health is supported by good physical health, meaning it's vital to eat right whenever possible, take vitamins and get plenty of exercise, the report said. Moreover, getting regular checkups and sticking with any prescriptions their doctors give them will also help keep them happy and healthy in the industry.
"If people are open and willing to give it a chance, a lot of them do succeed," Jennifer Raddatz, safety director at K&J Trucking in Sioux Falls, told the newspaper. "That's what we do here. If we can help make them want to be healthy after working, they'll be healthy here. They'll have a good retirement with family and friends afterwards and will be happier."
In addition, some experts also recommend that drivers set a little bit of time aside each day to meditate, according to Fleet Owner. That might not sound like it's for everyone, but having a few minutes to explore one's own thoughts and feelings, sitting quietly with their eyes closed and relaxing their bodies really can do wonders for someone's mental health. The same is true of taking deep breaths when things get particularly stressful behind the wheel; some drivers might be amazed at how much better something that simple can make them feel.
It might also be wise for drivers to invest in some low-cost trinkets that will help them reduce stress, such as the long-popular stress ball, according to Trucking SOS. These toys might seem simple, but they really are effective when it comes to reducing stress. It's also a low-impact form of exercise that can have other benefits.
It's also important for drivers to feel they can talk to their freight companies if they're feeling stressed, so those firms should encourage an open atmosphere that allows drivers and businesses to succeed together in a way that's healthy for all involved. That kind of partnership can also help foster better long-term relationships between employer and employee.
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