Work-life balance should be a priority for truck drivers, as it is a demanding and challenging profession. The long hours on the road, irregular schedules, and extended periods away from home can make maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult.
Finding a balance is imperative for our roads and communities’ safety and allowing drivers to excel in their careers while living a fulfilling, healthy life.
Prioritize Mental and Physical Health
Physical and mental health are at the forefront of truck drivers’ sanity. The job requires truck drivers to spend long hours sitting, have limited access to healthy food and be away from loved ones. That combination can take a toll on your well-being.
A few factors can help keep health at bay:
Long hours on the road can make finding the time to exercise difficult, but not impossible. Find ways to incorporate physical activity into your routine. Stretching, walking and biking are good activities that can be done at rest stops.
Looking for healthy food options on the go is not always easy, so stocking the truck with healthy snacks can be proactive to avoid unhealthy choices. Nuts, fruits and vegetables are some of the healthy snacks that can survive a few hours in the car.
Avoiding fast food is key; meal prepping and bringing meals from home can make a big difference. Not only is it healthier, but it is also budget-friendly and can be a little piece of home you bring.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment in the truck cabin. A quality mattress can make a big difference in your well-being when on the road.
Because we know that rest doesn’t always come at conventional hours, blackout curtains can help block the sunlight to promote restorative sleep. Sleep is a priority, so sticking to a schedule is a good idea.
Schedule breaks and rest stops at locations where you can relax and recharge. Look for rest areas with amenities like showers and comfortable lounges.
Time off is crucial to reset the mind and the body, especially with such a demanding job. Make sure to schedule time off in advance, not only will it give you something to look forward to, but it will also make sure to keep your work and life balanced.
When on the road, take breaks and make it a habit. Create a routine that includes time for you to rest, stretch and nurture your body. Make sure to schedule regular time off to rest and recharge.
Stick to your planned breaks and be careful not to overcommit yourself to extra shifts that may disrupt your planned time off. Your well-being should be a priority and that effort requires conscious effort.
4. Mental Health
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed are some of the signs that you need to seek mental health help. Support networks and mental health professionals can always help. Ask your company if there is an employee assistance program that can connect you with counseling services.
Don’t neglect your mental health. Reach out to support networks, and consider talking to a mental health professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Many trucking companies offer employee assistance programs that can connect you with counseling services.
When on the road, try to keep a positive mindset. Practicing gratitude, being mindful, and being willing to be flexible are key elements to keeping a healthy work-life balance. Especially on hard days, focus on the positives of the job, such as the ability to see the world and the freedom of being on open roads.
When unexpected changes arise, try to keep a sense of adaptability. The trucking industry can be very volatile, so don’t dwell on the challenges and be open to changes, seeing them as opportunities.
5. Rely on Your Tribe
Being away for long periods of time from home and loved ones is one of the most significant challenges for truck drivers. Certain practices can make the time away feel less lonely.
Technology is a great tool to stay connected. Make it part of your routine to have video calls with loved ones. Use social media platforms to stay connected. Share pictures, videos and stories from your travels to keep your family and loved ones involved in your journey.
When possible, plan on meeting up with family and friends during your breaks. Visits and face-to-face meet-ups can help create memories, and maintain a strong support system.
If you don’t have a support system back home, create one with those who understand your career and lifestyle. On the road, be open to meeting and connecting with other drivers. The truck drivers’ community tends to be tight-knit, so they find and rely on it for advice and support.
Some groups live on social media, and others in online forums where truck drivers can connect, exchange tips and seek advice related to the industry and the lifestyle it comes with.
6. Choose the Right Truck Driving Job For You
There are different kinds of truck driving jobs. Some involve longer periods of time away from home, while others don’t require the sacrifice. Make sure that you pick the right one for you and your family.
To keep a healthy work-life balance, you must first identify what is important for you in your personal life, and find the kind of truck driving job that can work for you.
Prioritizing Work-Life Balance
There are many practices and habits to apply in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance as a truck driver. Yes, it is challenging, but not impossible. The key is in the constant conscious effort to prioritize your well-being.
Physically and mentally, the priority of a truck driver should always be himself. Balance is a continuous journey and adjustments and changes can be made along the way.