Today, we’ll be discussing ways of reducing stress while on the road. Being a truck driver comes with unique challenges and can be stressful. You’ll be dealing with traffic, different weather conditions, and long hours. It can be a lot to handle for some, and this can contribute to stress. Minimizing chronic stress can lead to a happier and healthier life. Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure you keep the stress at bay while you are on the road!
One of the most important things you can do to reduce stress is to relax. This can be done however you see fit: Go for a walk, listen to music, watch a movie, or even meditate! There are plenty of options. Finding a relaxing activity to keep you occupied can help clear your mind. A popular activity among truck drivers is listening to podcasts. There are countless podcasts out there, covering just about any topic you can imagine— True crime, comedy, history… The list goes on! If you enjoy literature, you may opt to listen to audiobooks instead. You can do this while driving or whenever you stop to take a break. If podcasts or audiobooks aren’t your thing, listening to your favorite music can help take your worries away! If you take some time out of each day to tend to yourself, reducing stress and even anxiety.
Get enough sleep.
We’ve all heard about the importance of adequate sleep— It’s essential to our overall health and well-being! Adequate sleep has been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve your ability to process stress. Additionally, getting a good night’s sleep can boost your mood. Lack of sleep causes your body to release more of the stress hormone known as cortisol, which triggers your body’s fight or flight response to danger. This, of course, can raise your anxiety levels. It is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
As a commercial truck driver, your time to sleep may come at varying hours, and even in the daylight. So, how can you get adequate sleep in your truck? First of all, be sure that you have a comfortable pillow and mattress in the cab of your truck. Comfort is essential when it comes to rest! Additionally, when you stop to get some sleep, try parking away from other trucks if you can. This will increase the likelihood of a peaceful sleep, as you will be away from noise. You may also consider investing in curtains or shades for the windows of your truck, and putting a sunshade over your windshield. This will help block out light, whether it’s from the sun or artificial light.
A proper diet is essential for our health, but did you know it could help you reduce stress, too? Some foods can counter the impact of stress by lowering blood pressure. Studies have found that people whose diet consists of ultra-processed foods and added sugar are more likely to experience higher perceived stress levels. Eating the right foods will nourish your body and improve your resilience to stress! Nutrients from food can also improve blood flow in the body. Some of the best foods to relieve stress are:
- Oatmeal. This is a complex carbohydrate that reducing stress hormone levels in the brain. It helps release serotonin, a chemical that increases relaxation and calmness.
- Salmon. Salmon is a fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are oils that help keep cortisol under control while simultaneously regulating adrenaline levels. (If fish isn’t your thing, walnuts and spinach are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.)
- Berries. Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are packed with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels.
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps reduce cortisol levels. Since dark chocolate is also considered a treat or indulgence, it can also help your brain release serotonin.
It is also important that you eat regularly to help your brain function at its best! Check out our previous blog about eating healthy on the road for more helpful tips.
Take your time.
Any commercial truck driver knows the importance of efficiently traveling to and from a destination. With timelines in place, you may feel the need to rush to get to your destination. However, this may make you feel stressed. While it is important to deliver your load on time, it is also important that you take care of yourself and drive safely. Take time to choose the route that will work best for you, and don’t be afraid to make quick stops along the way to stretch, move around, and breathe. See our Truck Route Planning 101 blog for more tips on reducing stress from travel plans.
Exercising is important any time, but this is especially true when on the road. When a person sits for long periods of time they can develop a variety of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and excess body fat around the waist. There can be even more severe side effects, such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms in the leg, and could be deadly.
If those weren’t good enough reasons to get exercising, how about this: Exercise also acts as a stress reliever! Any form of exercise, whether it’s aerobics or yoga, can help you reduce and manage stress. One reason for this is because it increases endorphins, which are the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Ever heard of the phrase “runner’s high”? This is precisely due to the increased release of endorphins that occurs during exercise. But it’s not just running– Virtually any exercise can have the same effect. When you exercise, your mind is focused on the activity. Oftentimes, you will find that you’ve forgotten about the cause of your stress! Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Be sure to check out our previous blog on exercising on the road for more tips!
We Are Here to Help
As you can see, these are just a few ways of reducing stress while on the road. While stress in life is unavoidable, being chronically stressed can negatively impact your health. Here at B.W. Mitchum, we encourage our drivers to take care of themselves, and our staff works together to ensure a positive environment.
In our last blog, we discussed winter driving tips for commercial truck drivers. Operating a large vehicle has a unique set of challenges, especially in the winter months. On snowy or icy roads, you’ll need to adapt your driving style in order to make it to and from your destination safely. We talked about having the right gear, performing a pre-trip inspection, and more. Want to hear about more about winter driving tips? Be sure to check out our last post!
We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. Are you currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry? Visit our opportunities page to learn more about our requirements and apply to join our team! Thank you for reading!