Beat the OTR Blues
We have all been there. That time toward the end of the work day when you just feel drained. You feel exhausted, sleepy and no pun intended, “out of fuel.” Setting aside a time each day to clear your thoughts, meditate and rejuvenate, can do wonders for your mental and physical health. That being said, sometimes it is difficult to make self-care a priority when as a driver, you have a number of tasks to worry about.
If you are feeling that your mental health has taken a back seat, you are not alone. According to CDL Life News, “13 percent of truck drivers exhibit some degree of depression and almost all (91 percent) receive no treatment.” That is why it’s essential to take the first step to prioritize your mental health even when your schedule feels hectic. Creating a daily “self-care” routine to stick to even if it is just a half hour or so.
Here are 6 things you can do to hit the restart button and start fresh with a new outlook on the road.
Stretch Your Way to Serenity
Reach…touch your toes and breathe! Stretching your muscles keeps them flexible, strong and healthy. It helps with range of motion in your joints. Without stretching your muscles become tight and shorten which can put you at risk for joint pain, strains and muscle damage, according to Health Harvard.edu.
Holding tension in your shoulders and back? Relieve the physical and mental stress with this easy stretch.
Find your inner Zen out on the road by incorporating yoga for truckers.
Plan Fun, Enjoyable Activities for Home Time
Going home is always a good time. You get to reunite with loved ones, see your friends and get to revisit old memories. Always plan a fun activity to do with those closest to you. Going on a picnic and enjoying nature, going to a showing of a new movie or even hanging out at home and cooking your favorite meal are all things that are simple to plan and fun to do! Home can make you feel refreshed, friends can make you feel happy and doing something you enjoy will reset you to hit the road once again.
Use Apps to Reach Your Goals
There are several helpful apps that can assist you in your mental health journey. Calm is a mobile app that lets you explore a variety of ways to relax and reflect. This app has everything from body scans, meditation and breathing exercises to upgrade your self- care routine. Five Minute Journal is also a useful app to download. Take 5-10 minutes out of each day to reflect and focus on the positive aspects of life. It includes elements like inspiring quotes, a timeline for all your entries and a one-photo-per-day tool for capturing all your favorite moments day by day.
Believe it or not, deep, slow breathing can help you in many ways. It calms down your body, brings oxygen to your brain and can relieve your stress. If you sit up straight, placing the palms of your hands on your lap, close your eyes and focus on your breath, within a few minutes you will feel less tension.
Converse with other drivers at rest stops/be social with those closest to you
Talking to others who share similar experiences as you can make you feel understood. Having a conversation with a stranger might seem odd, but being social on the road, is very important to your mental health. So if you see a driver sitting by himself, go strike up a chat. You never know who you will meet or what you will learn.
It’s also important to think of those close to your heart. Setting aside time to call your mom, your sister/brother or your best friend can be the best pick me up when out on the road. Out of state? Go old school and send a fun postcard to let someone know you’re thinking of them.
Learn New Recipes on the Road
We all know that life over the road is an adjustment. Why not adjust your diet to fit your new lifestyle? Instead of reaching for the greasy, overrated fast food burger, try something fresh and filling. Choosing something a little more healthy and powerful with flavor. Home cooking on the road is possible. You just need the tools, utensils and knowledge to accomplish a hearty, wholesome meal just for you. Here’s some healthy recipes to get you started!
Drivers, always know you are not alone in your struggles. Join the Facebook support group called Truckers for Truckers if you are in need of some extra support and love in the trucking community. Everyone feels down sometimes. Completing one of these 6 things out on the road can allow you to start fresh and revamp your mind. And, sometimes a little break, goes a long way.