Trucking is one of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs in the world.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Trucking has a high turnover rate, but it’s not only because trucking is too hard. Trucking is hard, but so are a lot of other jobs.
So what is it that makes trucking different?
Trucking is so hard on drivers’ bodies and minds because this job takes you everywhere. Except, it’s not really the job taking you everywhere. You are taking yourself everywhere. Your body and mind have to deal with the consequences.
Here are 10 ways truck drivers can take care of their physical and mental health from anywhere in the world.
1. Watch your diet.
This will help both your body and your mind. Physical health and mental health are closely related, and they both have a lot to do with the food that you put in your body. Staying away from fast food, avoiding overeating, and staying hydrated are just a few ways that drivers can manage their health on the road.
Pro tip: try to avoid drinking too much caffeine. Instead of pounding another energy drink or coffee, get some rest.
2. Get appropriate sleep.
I know for me, if I’m exhausted, even the smallest task feels too great to handle. It’s hard to work hard when you’re sleep-deprived. Driving when sleep-deprived is dangerous.
If you can’t get enough sleep, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel, no matter how mentally tough or experienced you are. This will help you drive safer and avoid burnout.
3. Exercise daily.
Okay, you don’t have to work out every single day.
This is a trucking blog, not a fitness blog. I’m not trying to turn you into a triathlete here, but I am trying to help you become the best truck driver you can be. Your longevity in this industry is closely related to your physical and mental health. If you exercise regularly (low-intensity weight training and cardio 2-5 times per week are enough), you’ll be eons better off than drivers who don’t.
4. Schedule breaks through your week and your year.
As a trucker, your first year especially, you’ll realize that this job is a grind. It’s hard work to move shipments across the country and the world. You absolutely have to schedule breaks both during your week and during your year. Make time to do the things you love outside of driving on the open road. Make time for your friends, family, and hobbies. You will help yourself out big time in the long run.
5. Develop a routine.
When I say routine, I don’t mean cold showers, meditation, or waking up at 5 in the morning. As a trucker, you just need a routine in order to manage your health and keep you stable during your time traveling the country dropping off and picking up shipments.
It can something as simple as taking time to have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper in the morning.
Meditation might change your life if you never tried it. If it doesn’t, it certainly can’t hurt. When you’re under stress, feeling overworked, and dying for a break, a brief meditation session can help you get the break you need.
Did you know that there are studies that back up the mental health benefits of regular grooming? This might seem like a weird one, but taking care of your body is more than just doing squats, eating vegetables, and meditating.
To truly take care of yourself, you have to utilize every option of self-care at your disposal.
8. Read books (or listen to them).
I have a confession for you: I don’t know everything there is to know about maintaining optimal physical and mental health. All I know is what works for me.
However, that’s why books are a great resource. Books will help you develop a mind that is good at solving problems, and they’ll also teach you new information about taking care of yourself on the road. Why We Sleep by neuroscientist Matthew Walker might be a great one to put on next time you’re on the road!
9. Wear sunscreen.
One thing you might not think about while you’re driving is how much sun you’re actually getting.
Too much sun isn’t exactly great for your skin, and it can also leave you feeling physically and mentally drained. This problem has an easy solution: wear sunscreen on sunny days.
10. Focus on improving your posture.
If you sit like crap, you’re going to feel like crap.
Bad posture can lead to strained muscles, disc issues, and even spinal injuries over time. If you do all the things I’ve listed above, but never work on your posture, you’re going to have problems. Focus on having good posture while you drive.
Seat high, elbows tucked.
Trucking is a tough job, but there are a lot of ways that you can make it easier on yourself. One way to make it tougher is to do nothing to take care of yourself.
If you want to be a better trucker, a happier person and have a longer career, these are just 10 ways that you can manage your health while driving.
We’re always looking for new drivers to join our team. If you’re an aspiring CDL driver, apply to join Legacy today.