Stress is a natural response that your body goes through when the pressures of life, work, or family come into play. This natural response can create a wide range of reactions on your body – adrenaline, increased heart rate, or sometimes clouded thoughts. Unfortunately, the way you cope with it can affect your job or even your personal life.
For a truck driver, stress can be all around you. From driving long hours, meeting deadlines, driving through hectic traffic, or simply being away from a support system, like family and friends, it’s easy to see how driving a truck can create a lot of stress for a person. However, stress doesn’t have to ruin your day or affect your health. With healthy tactics to cope with your stressors, you can alleviate your stress and its control over you. Keep reading as we discuss some of the most popular techniques to overcome stress, all of which can easily be done on the road (some while not driving, mind you):
Before starting the engine, take a moment to meditate. Clear your head and regulate your breathing – doing this will allow you to start your day with a clear head. Meditation can also relax the muscles by effectively alleviating tension on your body and creating more mind clarity. Meditating before or after your driving shift has many benefits, including these , and understanding why meditation is good for your overall health will create more peace in your life.
Audiobooks and podcasts can be great ways to get your mind off your stressors – driving-related or not. Before you start driving, pick a compelling book or podcast that peaks your interest – not something that might put you to sleep! Allowing yourself to listen to the words spoken aloud might give you the opportunity to catch up on some reading, news, or interesting thoughts, but it can also help take your mind off your stressor(s). As you listen, however, just make sure you’re always properly focused on driving safely!
If you are at a truck stop, gas station, or rest area, take a minute to stretch. Stretching can relax the muscles that might be tense from your long drive – moreover, it can clear your mind and help prepare you for the remainder of your drive.
If audiobooks or podcasts aren’t your thing, listen to music instead. When you are in a stressful situation, try playing calming music, such as classical music or something even simpler, like ocean sounds or babbling brooks (if you’re driving, or if you know that calming music can make you drowsy, turn it off once your stress has subsided). However, if you don’t like classical or other calming music, just pick an artist, genre, or song that you will enjoy – find the music that helps you take your mind off your stressors and makes you happy (not more tense)! Listening to
the most effective music for you is a great way to remove yourself from the thoughts or situations that have you tense.
Most people are thrown into stressful situations that they have no control over, and they waste energy focusing on things that they can’t change (bad drivers, heavy traffic, weather, road reroutes, and changes at work or in the industry, to name a few). And, while it’s great to try to create positive changes when you can, it’s also important to be mindful of the situations – or thoughts – that you just need to step away from. Be mindful of the situations or topics that cause you stress, and try to avoid them. If situations or thoughts that trigger these stressors pop up, try to think about things that make you happy, or try any one of the steps above!
Stress is a natural thing that almost everyone encounters on the job, but for truck drivers, that stress often multiplies. We know that dealing with life on the road, as well as leaving behind family for various periods of time, can be very stressful. That’s why we hope these healthy ways to relieve stress while driving, along with many more ideas on the web, will help ensure that stress doesn’t control you. If these tactics to control stress don’t work for you, of if you’re dealing with long-term stress, anxiety, or depression, be sure to seek medical help from a professional.