Post Date - May 24, 2022
What are you doing to protect your mental health while you’re on the road? Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, your friends at CalArk wanted to take some time to talk about what you can do to keep your mind sharp and improve your mental health while you’re working. Studies have shown that truck drivers are at a high risk of experiencing mental health illnesses because we work long hours, spend a lot of time isolated from other people and are away from our loved ones for periods of time.
1. Stay active
Regular exercise is not only good for your physical health, but for your mental health too. It can boost your confidence, help you concentrate better, improve your sleep and give you the energy you need to tackle the day.
2. Get better sleep
Not getting enough sleep at night could make you more likely to feel anxious or depressed. It also can become a serious safety issue when you’re too tired to focus while driving. Many truck drivers also experience sleep apnea, which can be linked to depression and chronic fatigue. Take steps to get better sleep by cutting out caffeine, reducing your electronics usage before bed, make sure your sleeping area is dark and at a comfortable temperature, and be consistent with your bedtime schedule. If you have concerns about sleep apnea, reach out to your doctor to set up a sleep study.
3. Do brain exercises
Anything that challenges your brain is great for keeping your mind sharp, boosting your memory and help you focus better while you’re working. Brain exercises can be as simple as doing a jigsaw puzzle or crossword puzzle or even the online word game Wordle. A larger goal could be learning a new hobby or language.
4. Connect with loved ones
As truck drivers, we may be on the road for days at a time, but technology has given us some amazing ways to stay in touch. Simply hearing a voice of your partner, parent or child can do a lot to lift your spirits. Video chats and phone calls can become a literal lifeline while you’re away. You can also utilize our CalArk passenger program and bring someone with you out on the road.
5. Bring your dog
Many studies have shown that being a pet owner can lower your stress level and alleviate depression. There are lots of trucking companies out here - including CalArk - that have a pet policy so drivers can take their furry sidekicks on the road. At CalArk, our pet policy allows for one small dog to ride with you.
6. Eat well
Focusing on the food you eat can boost your energy, reduce stress, affect mood-related body chemicals, and fuel your brain. Eat high-quality foods that contain the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your brain needs to function well. You’ll want a good balance of fruits and vegetables, seafood, whole grains and lean meats. We also suggest meal planning ahead of time to reduce the likelihood that you’ll feel tempted to grab fast food on the road.
Sometimes this is easier said than done, but finding ways to relax is an important part of mental health. Some people find that spending a few minutes meditating or doing some deep breathing exercises helps to ground them. Others really enjoy listening to their favorite tunes or a podcast. This job can be really stressful at times so it’s important to set aside time to relax.
There’s a lot to love about being a truck driver, but it’s also a job that is high stress and demands a lot from you. It’s important to focus on and prioritize your mental health so you can enjoy your life and your successful career.
If you’re looking for a carrier that values your health and safety, connect with us at CalArk to learn more about our driving opportunities!