A trucker's job isn't exactly stress-free even in the best of times, but the pressure can really ramp up when the holidays approach. After all, this can be a trying time for just about anyone, so combining a life on the road with wanting to be home with your family, get all your shopping done and everything that comes with the holiday season can be a recipe for a high-stress season.
What can you do to combat these feelings? We have a few suggestions:
1) Stay in touch with your loved ones
The realities of your job often dictate you're away from home more frequently than you're actually there, but since the holidays are typically about togetherness, that feeling of loneliness can multiply easily, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you're more proactive about staying in touch, via phone, text, video chat, email and other channels, you may be able to keep your stress levels down by talking to people who genuinely care about you.
2) Plan as much as you can
You should have at least some idea of what your schedule for the coming month is going to look like, and with that in mind, you can plan your together-time effectively, the Mayo Clinic said. If you make plans for the days you will be home, it gives all involved something to look forward to, and helps make the days when you're away from home fly by.
3) Don't stretch yourself too thin
A lot of people (truckers or not) experience stress at this time of year because they want to be all things to everyone in their lives — unfortunately, this results in the feeling that they're being pulled in a lot of different directions, according to Verywell Mind. As a trucker, you are probably pretty good at time management, so you know what you will and won't be able to do given that there are only 24 hours in a day. Make commitments, but don't push yourself beyond your comfort level.
4) Set a firm budget
Another big stressor at this time of year is money, and that's another area where truckers can use their job skills in their personal lives, Verywell Mind added. Many truckers are likely adept at setting a budget for their life on the road and sticking to it. Apply that same energy to your holiday budget and you'll find yourself in much better shape this December.
5) Try to stay active
A great way to reduce both physical and mental stress is to get exercise in whenever you can, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether that's going for a walk, doing jumping jacks, lifting weights or some other physical activity, giving yourself even 20 minutes a day to work out will go a long way toward reducing stress.
6) Accept that this year will be different
Finally, you may be worried about what kind of impact COVID-19 will have on your holiday plans, the CDC cautioned. That's understandable, but getting stressed out about something that's obviously well beyond your control isn't worth it. This year's Christmas and New Year's parties will be different, and that's just how it's going to be.
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