No doubt, as a professional truck driver, many of you have discovered that working and being away from loved ones during the holidays is tough. It’s difficult being away from friends and family for days or weeks at a time, especially this time of year.
Here are some tips to help make your days (and nights) a little less stressful.
Count your blessings.
Remind yourself of all the good things you have going on in your life. For example, you’re working, you have great friends and a wonderful family, and you’re (hopefully) healthy. I try to practice two rules:
- Be thankful for what you have.
- Don’t forget rule No. 1.
Make your bunk area a home away from home.
Before heading out on the road, try to make your truck’s bunk area as close to a “home” setting as you can. Surround yourself with a few of the comforts of home. For example, use your favorite pillow and blankets for the sleeper berth. Also, taking a pet along for the ride can be very helpful and comforting — if your company allows.
Stay in touch with loved ones.
Ask your partner/spouse, kids and other family members — as well as close friends — to contact you through video calls (such as FaceTime) when you can safely visit during a break. In addition, if you have to miss events such as school concerts or holiday get-togethers, have loved ones use their phones to take photos and videos and send them to you. You can play them back when you have reached your destination.
Don’t just sit behind the wheel!
Try to incorporate some form of regular exercise every day, even if it’s just walking laps around your truck. Walking can help relieve stress and increase your energy levels, giving you more energy to manage stress easier.
Personally, I have found that whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and/or stressed, exercise brings me back to a mind space that makes me realize the problem actually isn’t as difficult as I imagined.
Stock your fridge.
Make sure the mini fridge in your truck is stocked with healthy foods — and even maybe a couple of special treats. All too often, we use unhealthy food (such as cake, ice cream and cookies) to fill the void of being alone and unhappy — and then we feel guilty for gorging on junk food.
Keep recent photos or memorabilia in your cab.
Posting printed photos of family and friends in the truck is a great way to help alleviate homesickness. Is there room on your dash to safely display a couple of special mementos? If so, do it! You’ll smile every time you glance at them.
Known as The Trucker Trainer, Bob Perry has played a critical role in the paradigm shift of regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers to understand the driver health challenge. Perry can be reached at [email protected].
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.