Truckipedia Blog Category - 8 Ways to Stay Healthy on the Road
Truck drivers play one of the most important roles in our economy. You keep people and businesses connected and provide us with many of the things that we need to live the lives we do. Moving essential goods across countries and continents can be difficult on bodies and minds, though.
Studies show that more than 25% of truckers face issues like depression, anxiety and poor sleep that affect mental and physical health. They are the product of the frequent long hours and isolation that go along with trucking. Finding ways to stay healthy on the road becomes critical in that challenging environment. How do you do it? We’ve got 8 great tips!
1 Remember – there’s no place like home. Where do you usually feel your best, sleep your best, eat your best? Home, of course. The familiarity of an everyday routine and the comfort of all of your favourite things around you makes it a no-brainer. So, take some of those things that make you feel your best on the road with you. Bring your music to put your mind at ease, bring good quality bedding for a better night’s sleep or bring a computer to stay connected.
2. Keep your family close. Bringing reminders of your loved ones on the road can be a great way to stay grounded and remind yourself why you do what you do. It’s never been easier to stay connected to those people, too.
Make time every day to stay connected with your family. You’ll feel less isolated knowing what is happening back at home and with those you love. Feeling like your schedule is too busy? Set a specific time every day to make that call and stick to it. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
3. Travel with a furry companion. We recently talked about trucking with a dog and what you need to know. Well, one of the single biggest benefits to having a pet on the road is helping you through periods of loneliness and isolation. If you do bring a furry friend with you on your travels, you’ll need to make sure that they’re getting everything they need to stay healthy, too.
4. Make time for yourself. When you’re working hard to meet deadlines and get a shipment where it needs to go, it’s easy to forget about all the things you But that doesn’t serve you well or the job you are doing.
Find 30 minutes a day to stop at a gym for a workout or just simply go for a walk. Make frequent enough stops to stretch and keep your body feeling well. Eat at regular intervals with a focus on healthy, well-rounded meals, so that you don’t need to rely on unhealthy snacking to keep you going.
5. Stay hydrated. It seems easy to say ‘drink enough water’ but it can be extremely hard to do in practice. If you’re not properly stocked with water, it can be hours between stops. Many truck drivers also rely on coffee and other caffeinated beverages to extend their driving times, while forgetting that it’s water that is the single most important fluid for the body and its health.
6. Maximize your sleep. When it comes to sleep, quality is more important than quantity. 6 hours of great sleep can leave you feeling far more rested than 8 hours of in-and-out restless sleep.
Remember, too, that the body works best with a routine. Set a typical time to close your eyes for the night and try hard to stick with it. Don’t let your devices get in the way of your sleep, either. Put them down at least an hour before bed to give your eyes a chance to take a break from their blue light. What should you do instead? Kick back and relax with a book or try meditation.
7. Watch for signs that your health is suffering. Even if you take every tip we’ve outlined here and put it to use, the challenging nature of trucking means you might find yourself not feeling your best after a lot of time on the road.
It can be difficult to identify when your health is less than top-notch, though, so look for the signs. Some frequent indications include not wanting to see people or socialize (particularly if you’re an extroverted person), feeling distressed or overwhelmed and finding yourself tense and stressed all the time. Feeling this way? Read tip 8 immediately.
8. Get help if you need it. If you feel like your health is suffering, know that it’s OK to talk to someone. It’s OK to ask for help. The challenges of being a truck driver and mental health as a whole is understood and accepted now more than ever.
Find out if the company you work for offers counselling as part of their benefits package. Talk to a loved one, a trusted work colleague or a doctor. There are several not-for-profit agencies and government resources out there that offer assistance, too. Don’t suffer in silence. There are people out there who will listen, care and help you.
It’s challenging to feel your best when you’re on the road, but it’s not impossible. By following our simple tips, you’ll feel better about your time on the road, you’ll do better work and you’ll have tons of energy for your family and friends when you get back home.
Looking for trucking experts? You’ve found them here at First Truck Centre. We love helping our customers play your critical role to the best of your ability. Have questions? Reach out to our team of experts across Western Canada. We’re happy to help.