A life on the road can be rewarding, but it can also be trying, especially when it comes to your mental health. Even if you absolutely love most things about the job, the fact of the matter is that many days in a row away from home can take its toll on even the happiest, healthiest pro hauler.
The question is how to combat those negative feelings and get a better handle on your mental health every day. We have a few tried and true suggestions on that front:
1) Call someone every day
For many, the toughest part of a trucker's life is the reality that they aren't as connected with their loved ones back home as they would be if they worked a local 9-to-5, according to Smart Trucking. Fortunately, technology has evolved to the point where staying in touch is easier — and more accommodating. If you take time every day to video chat with a friend, sibling, child, spouse, etc., you'll feel the time on the road flying by.
2) Invest in comfort and convenience
Another thing technology makes easier: Taking the comforts of home on the road with you, Smart Trucking said. Truckers today bring their laptops, favorite game consoles, movies and more with them on long runs across the country, and are also putting more money into their bedding and other sleeper berth furnishings so everything is more comfortable for them.
3) Sleep better
Part and parcel with better bedding is the need to get a good night's sleep as often as possible, according to Carter Express. That way, you're not running on caffeine and frayed nerves as you navigate the nation's highways and byways, and you're in better mental and physical shape when it comes to facing the challenges of your day-to-day work.
4) Take time for yourself
While you may certainly feel like it's "go go go" in the trucking world, you should put time aside as often as you can to unwind a bit, Carter Express advised. Doing so before you go to sleep, for instance, can help you feel more relaxed overall and not only ease your mind, but get you in "sleep mode" more effectively.
5) Eat healthier
Experts point out that there is a clear link between a good diet and stronger mental health, according to The Trucker. That doesn't mean you have to cut the burger and fries out of your diet entirely, but if you are more proactive about choosing salads and low-carb options the next time you make (or stop for) lunch, your body and mind will thank you.
6) Work out regularly
Another great, natural way to improve mental health is exercise, The Trucker added. Something as simple as going for a walk can help you ease tension, but more strenuous workouts can have other positive effects as well. Do what you're comfortable with, but know this: When you put your body through exercise-related stress, it helps you handle mental stress more effectively.
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