People who don’t drive trucks for a living have an idea that being a truck driver is easy– “they just drive all day.” Well, truckers have a job that’s taxing both physically and mentally. There’s a lot to driving a big rig, and it can take its toll on a person’s mental health.
How can truckers improve their mental health?
For starters, it’s a good idea to do brain exercises like crossword puzzles and old fashioned jigsaw puzzles to keep the mind sharp. Many truckers like watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, too. It’s a good thing to engage the mind and challenge it now and then. Whatever you can do to boost your memory and improve your focus and concentration– do that!
Next, it’s important to be/stay connected to other people. Trucking can be a solitary kind of job, without too much human contact sometimes. Therefore, it can help to have phone calls, video chats, etc. with friends and family members. Sometimes seeing/hearing a loved one can make all the difference in a trucker’s day. It also helps to carry photos from home in your rig. And, for fun, send postcards home.
Thirdly, sleep is so important– and if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you’re going to be irritable. Avoid drinking caffeine in the evening. Use a weighted blanket. Have a nightly routine. Consider getting a sleep study done to find out if you have sleep apnea.
Besides getting quality sleep, some other ways to improve your mental health include listening to inspirational music or podcasts, as well as meditating, exercises/stretching, and practicing deep breathing techniques.
Driving a truck can be stressful. It’s important to do what you can to relax and unwind. You don’t want to always be “keyed up” and “on edge.” That’s not good for your body or mind.
If and when you experience issues that make it hard to get your work done, let alone live a “normal life,” then it’s time to consider talking to a counselor. Don’t let your pride get in the way– talking to a counselor can truly help you unload your worries so you feel lighter– not weighed down and stressed out.