8 Trucker Tips For Supporting Their Mental Health & Relieving Stress on the Road
Being a truck driver is a unique job with perks and stresses that other professionals do not face. Truck drivers can enjoy job stability, many opportunities for job growth, excellent pay, and an excellent road-home balance. They also face the potential isolation and physical health challenges that can impact their overall mental well-being. In this guide, we discuss the importance of truck driver mental health and share trucker bios for supporting mental health on and off the job.
Why is truck driver mental health important?
A commonly held belief is that mental health is irrelevant for everyone, but that is untrue. Here are some essential facts to know:
- Everyone has mental health.
- Everyone’s mental health is important.
- Everyone’s mental health can change over time.
- Psychological and physical health are closely related and can impact one another.
For truck drivers, mental health is connected to more than overall well-being. Mental health is also connected to safety on the road. If a driver is feeling anxious, depressed, or struggling to manage emotions, they might find it more challenging to safely and successfully navigate the job demands.
Like any job, being a truck driver comes with some stresses that can put them at risk for mental health challenges. For solo truck drivers, long work hours can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. The pressure to meet deadlines may be too much at times, and the sedentary lifestyle may make it challenging to stay on top of physical health.
The good news is that these risks can be mitigated with some simple steps to improve overall well-being.
How To Support Truck Driver Mental Health
Truck drivers must get a good night’s rest before a big drive. After all, sleep and mental health go hand in hand. A lack of quality sleep can make staying awake and alert on the road difficult. It can also make managing emotions and recovering from stress during the day more difficult. If quality sleep is hard to get, talk to a doctor or mental health provider and get on the path toward solid sleep.
Although truck drivers need to be in good shape to manage loads and inspect their trucks, most of the work hours are sedentary. This poses a challenge because the human body needs movement to release stress and build mental and physical strength. To feel better and care for your mental and physical health, find ways to integrate exercise into daily life. Exercising could be as simple as some stretches in the driver’s seat, Trucking Yoga from the cab, or a walk around each truck stop. If you want more rigorous exercise, consider going to the gym on days off, playing a group sport, or training to run a race.
The body and brain need nutrients to survive and thrive. It can be difficult to find options other than fast food on the road. To supplement the options at the truck stops, consider packing nutrient-rich meals and snacks that can be kept in a truck cooler. The ingredients to make sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, and nuts can keep you fed and nourished on long drives.
Humans need relationships with other humans to thrive. While alone time can be enjoyable for many drivers, spending time with friends and family on days off to destress is also essential. Finding simple ways to connect with others while on the road is also important. Consider chatting with fellow drivers at truck stops, getting to know people at regular delivery locations, and talking with other drivers on the CB radio.
5. Pick up a Hobby
A hobby is any activity done purely for fun or satisfaction. As a nice contrast to work, a hobby can help relieve stress and bring some joy into your life. If you do not have a hobby, experiment with different options and choose something fun and exciting. Ideas for hobbies include photography, gardening, reading, playing an instrument, crafting, and constructing puzzles.
6. Keep Track of Good Things
It is easy to get stuck in a negative mental loop where the bad things feel more prominent than the good ones. Even in the toughest time, it can boost mood and health to take time to recognize positive things. To train your mind to see more good things than bad, consider keeping a log of good things that happen daily. Keep an eye out for even the smallest things.
7. Practice Healthy Coping Skills
Everyone has rough and stressful times, but what you do in response to the stress and hardship matters the most. People often use something to cope, and choosing a healthy coping skill is essential for mental health. Consider learning breathing exercises, mindfulness, or grounding activities to keep yourself in the right headspace. Practice healthy coping skills regularly, even when you feel good so that they are easier to recall and use when times are tough.
8. Work for a Company That Cares About Trucker Mental Health
The environment a person is in has a substantial impact on mental health. Truck drivers can boost their overall well-being by working for a trucking company that cares about their mental health. QFS Transportation is one of the best intermodal trucking companies offering intermodal trucking services throughout the United States. At QFS, our drivers come first– that is why our network of Owner Operators has an outstanding road-home balance, a dedicated support team and safety staff, and the experience needed to help our drivers succeed. QFS Transportation is always searching for experienced drivers across the entire nation. If you are interested in hauling for QFS, fill out our Driver Application or our Tractor Application.