Trucking 101: Stress Management

Stress management is a necessary quality of a great truck driver. Learning how to deal with stress, however, is not always an easy task. How do you cope with daily stresses in your life?  Do you use stress relieving techniques, or do you let your stress build up until it affects your health and well being? Hopefully, it is not the latter, and if it is, let’s hope you find a better path.

Truck drivers need to be aware that while stress is a part of everybody’s day, it is even greater for truck drivers, because they are away from home, family and friends. The first step in stress management is to find your triggers.  Did your destination change again? Is the receiver holding you up past your appointment time? Are you just tired? Pinpointing a specific action that causes your negative reaction is necessary in alleviating stress.

There are countless techniques commercial truck drivers can use to alleviate stress while out on the road. Technology, for example, can help solve the stress of being away from friends and family. In your downtime, get on Facebook or Instagram to find out what your family has been up to. Use Skype or Facetime to video conference with your significant other and children. Have your son or daughter send pictures or videos of your grandchildren. Using technology to communicate with your loved ones fills the void until you are able to make it back home.

While communication with your family is a great stress reliever, so is taking up a hobby while out on the road. For the tech savvy, you can listen to podcasts, audible books or write a blog about your adventures on the highways. For those who are looking at something more hands on, you can try putting a puzzle together, paint by numbers, knitting or even learning how to play chess. Sometimes, something as simple as watching a movie or your favorite sports team play, can distract you after a stressful day. 

One of the most effectively proven ways lighten your stress is getting as much exercise as possible and eating healthy while you are in the truck. Take a lap around the truck stop or rest area while you are on your breaks. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which makes you feel happy. Fortunately, belonging to a gym is not necessary, there are numerous ways to effectively exercise while out on the road. Bring along free weights, do lunges, yoga or pushups in the parking lot. However you decide to exercise, your body and mind will appreciate the extra attention you are giving it. When you leave out for the week make sure you are packing plenty of fruits and vegetables to last you the week. When you have healthy items in your cooler you are less likely to grab for a bag of chips. Avoid greasy, fatty foods if you decide to eat out. Be conscientious of what kinds of foods you are putting in your mouth.

Commercial truck drivers need to be aware of coping techniques for stress. Breathing techniques can be used for anxiety level stress. Opening a window and taking some deep breaths can clear the mind. Getting out of the confinement of your semi even for just a few minutes can greatly reduce your stress levels. Always remember, you do not have to cope with stress alone. Use your driver manager as a tool to help you devise solutions to your concerns. Call your significant other and see if he or she has some insights to relieve your restless mind.

As a commercial driver there is no doubt that you will be in stressful situations every day. Fortunately, managing stress is a practiced technique. Understanding that you are stressed, and knowing steps to relieve this stress, will greatly impact your mood, communication techniques and overall health. Stay in the present instead of constantly thinking of potential consequences. Stay in control and aim for a less stressful life.