If you drive for a living, it’s crucial you take steps to prioritize your mental health. Whether you’re a truck driver, courier, or a traveling salesman, you are spending long hours behind the wheel each day. The monotony, isolation, lack of sleep, and sedentary nature of the job can all combine to take a severe toll on your mental wellbeing. It’s important to protect your mental health when you drive for a living.
There are many things to love about your chosen profession: the chance to explore the country, enjoy your independence, and listen to whatever you want on the radio, for a start. But if you drive all day for an extended period, you will soon start to feel the effects. In fact, almost a third of truck drivers have experienced mental health issues.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and it can’t be ignored. If your mental health concerns are left unchecked, you could find yourself succumbing to extreme stress, anxiety, or depression. If you find yourself struggling to be positive about your job, you should take steps to look after yourself before things get worse.
To help you out, here are four tips to protect your mental health when you drive for a living.
4 Tips to Protect Your Mental Health When You Drive For a Living
Get some exercise
Being a long-distance driver is one of the most dangerous professions there is. Not only because of the risk of traffic accidents but due to the damage you are doing to your body. Humans didn’t evolve to sit down, and slouching motionless behind the wheel of a vehicle for hours on end, every single day is putting a severe strain on your body. You are more susceptible to extreme weight gain, illness, and musculoskeletal disorders as a result. Break up your day by regularly getting out of your vehicle and having a walk and a stretch. Schedule thirty minutes each day for some moderate-intensity exercise such as a run or a workout that can be done anywhere. Your body will thank you for it.
Bring some home comforts
When you’re away from home for long periods, one of the most effective ways to make yourself feel better is to have some home comforts with you. This could be a playlist of feel-good songs, your favorite food, or a laptop with some films downloaded onto it. This will take your mind off the stresses of the job and make you enjoy your trip a lot more.
Contact loved ones daily
The hardest thing about long-distance driving is being cut off from friends and family. Make an effort to contact home daily, even if just for a quick chat. You will not only make yourself feel better, but your loved ones will benefit too.
Don’t take on more than you can handle
Driving jobs are often offered on a freelance basis, allowing you to pick and choose the jobs you want, e.g., through a load board such as Shiply (https://www.shiply.com/us/load-board). Although you want financial security, make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. Otherwise, you risk succumbing to burnout.