Mental Wellness Tips for Long-Haul Drivers

Sherief Abu-Moustafa Explores Mental Wellness Tips for Long-Haul Drivers

Long-haul truck drivers have an essential job—delivering necessary goods coast to coast and ensuring business happens as usual. This responsibility is stressful, considering long-haul drives require days behind the wheel. While getting from destination to destination is critical for any successful long-haul driver, it’s equally essential that they prioritize their mental health to maintain safe working conditions. Sherief Abu-Moustafa provides several tips and strategies to help long-haul drivers manage stress levels on the road.

Stay Connected To Loved Ones

When your job keeps you away from friends and family as long as trucking does, it can tax your mental health. To help combat feelings of isolation and disconnect, set up frequent phone calls, video chats, and other virtual meetings with your loved ones. While it doesn’t compare to being there in person, these calls will help you feel connected to home and ensure that people you care about know how you’re doing.

Hitting critical moments in the day can make a difference too. Plan calls around important daily moments, like after-school and before bedtime. Connecting with your kids and spouse can make a big difference in mood and mental health. Plus, these phone moments help strengthen the bond between you and your family.

Develop Healthy Routines

Take advantage of the moments when you stop for meals or fuel to create a healthy routine that will benefit your mental health. Get out of the truck if possible and stretch your legs—a few minutes of walking can do wonders for eliminating stress. While at a gas station, don’t just grab the usual unhealthy snacks and drinks. Instead, opt for healthier options like fruits or nuts that will give you energy without a crash later in the journey.

In addition to eating well, taking a moment to breathe during those particularly rough days can make a big difference in drivers’ mental health. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing can help to center your thoughts, focus on the present, and give you the relaxation that will carry you through the rest of your trip.

Listen To Music And Podcasts

Nothing beats music or podcasts for making long trips more bearable. Luckily, there are plenty of both available now with diverse topics and genres—allowing every long-haul driver to find something that suits their tastes. Pop in some earbuds, close your eyes, and be transported to a place where the road is only background noise, and distraction can be blocked out.

One of the other great benefits of podcasts and audiobooks is that they can help to pass the time and keep your mind active. Instead of letting boredom take over, you’ll have something to occupy your thoughts and provide valuable information and entertainment.

Plan Entertainment And Ways To Unwind

In addition to listening to podcasts and music while driving, having the right things with you for downtime can make a difference in mental wellness. Relaxing and unwinding at the end of the day are crucial for any stressful job. For instance, having a favorite book or magazine on hand to read for entertainment is an excellent way to relax before bed.

Keeping electronics in your cab can also be a good way to stay entertained and connected. Whether it’s your laptop, tablet, or gaming system, having something that can provide a diversion is necessary. Whether watching movies, scrolling through social media, or playing games, having activities you can do to break up long-haul drives is critical for managing stress.

Get Enough Sleep

One of the most important things you can do for your mental health is to get enough sleep. Fatigue is a significant problem among long-haul drivers, and they must ensure they are getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Make sure you plan out your route in advance so you know where you’ll be stopping and when. This will help you plan your sleep schedule to ensure you get the rest you need while on the road.

It’s also important to remember to take regular breaks throughout the day, as this gives your body a chance to recharge and helps prevent fatigue-related accidents. Remember that you should never operate a vehicle when you’re tired, so always be aware of your energy levels and take breaks whenever necessary.

Consider Telehealth Therapy

Finally, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to manage your mental health alone. Consider talking to a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed or depressed. Telehealth therapy is available for truck drivers and could be an excellent option for those constantly on the road. With telehealth therapy, you can access mental health support anywhere—even on the road.

Final Thoughts

Sherief Abu-Moustafa believes it’s vital for long-haul drivers to be aware of their mental health and take steps to ensure they can stay healthy while on the job. Making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, taking regular breaks, and staying connected with friends and family can all help boost your mental health and make your job as a long-haul driver more enjoyable. So don’t forget to take care of yourself—it will help you stay focused and motivated for the long haul.