Truck driving comes with its own unique challenges. It can often involve long hours, time pressures, isolation and the psychological stress of keeping concentration for extended periods. Research shows that as individuals, we tend to take better care of our tools and equipment than we do of our own mental wellbeing.
We want to aim to reverse that trend, because managing our own health can take a back seat, but should always be a number one priority. The most successful drivers know that it’s about balance, safety and maintaining positive habits. Here are some of our top tips to keep you in the driving seat when it comes to your wellbeing:
Keep in touch with home. When you’re feeling the strain, you might not recognise the signs, but those closest to you might. Starting a conversation with someone close who has a familiar voice and some loving support goes a long, long way.
Take your favourite tunes. Blasting out your favourite songs could be just the small boost you need, especially when you’re on your own. Take some time to make a playlist and turn up the volume! Spotify, Apple music or your Hino entertainment unit with digital radio will offer plenty of suggestions.
Choose your rest stops carefully. A little planning can make a real difference. Stop where you know it’s nice, clean and with good facilities like showers and snacks. Take time to relax and let your mind get away from work for at least 10 minutes.
Make meal times into a routine. The more planning the better, because it’ll help you know where your milestones are. It’s key to have good, healthy meals and not skip them to make up time.
Bring home comforts. You might not be able to bring the family, but you can still bring your favourite possessions - such as an iPad or portable speakers for downtime.
Plan your time off. In those long hours at the wheel, it’s healthy to start planning how you’ll unwind. It might be an event with your kids to look forward to, or even a day in front of the sport with your mates.
Most importantly of all, our number one tip is speak up if you’re suffering or even have slight doubts about how you feel. Mental health is one of the most common problems there is - but it’s also one of the least talked about. There are plenty of people you can turn to for advice, from friends and family, to colleagues at work. Let your HR team know about any problems you’re facing, or if you find it easier then turn to an outside resource like MensLine Australia.
It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professional counsellors providing help for all emotional issues. You can get in touch straightaway by calling 1300 78 99 78 or registering online at mensline.org.au.
Stay healthy for you and for those around you!