Commercial truck drivers often have much higher stress levels than those in other occupations.Truck drivers spend far more hours behind the wheel than most other workers. Plus they are constantly under pressure to meet delivery schedules, etc. They also have to be extra vigilant in their driving techniques to avoid accidents. As anyone knows any accident involving a tractor/trailer can be catastrophic. Chronic stress can cause a host of physical and mental problems. It can cause depression, headaches, difficulty sleeping, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and others. Fortunately, there are many healthful ways truck drivers can deal with this stress.
Healthy Diet: Healthy eating habits are important. Drivers should eat foods which build up their health. This means including a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of foods like greasy hamburgers, french fries, potato chips etc. Healthy foods are important not just for physical health, but also for brain health. Your mind needs to be sharp to focus on driving for so many hours each day. Choose healthy beverages including water and avoid consuming soft drinks. Soft drinks not only don’t provide any nutrition, but they cause a host of health problems.
Quality Sleep: One of the most important things a truck driver can do to say awake to be able to operate with a sharp mind throughout the day is to get a sufficient amount of good quality sleep. During sleep the body is rested and restored. Sleep is important for the immune system. A lack of a sufficient amount of sleep can put truck drivers at greater risk of getting illnesses or diseases.
Truck Drivers should strive to get from 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of trucking accidents. One very important reason for truck drivers to get a sufficient amount of sleep is because they spend the greater part of each day driving. This requires them to be alert at all times. An insufficient amount of sleep can cause them to make mistakes and cause accidents. Drivers that get a sufficient amount of good quality sleep wake up refreshed and ready to begin the day.
Importance of Exercise: Exercise provides many positive benefits for the body. Unfortunately, many truck drivers don’t exercise at all. Truck drivers should strive to exercise at least 15 to 30 minutes each day. Simply get up 30 minutes to allow yourself the time to do this. You can take a brisk walk around the truckstop in 15 to 20 minutes. That will get your heart rate up and make you feel energized. Furthermore, exercise releases endorphins which give you a happy feeling. Many runners experience a feeling known as a “runners high.” They often describe this as as feeling of euphoria.
Stress Reduction Equipment: Truck drivers should keep stress balls on hand to exercise and strengthen their hands. Stress balls are small palm size balls filled with beads, seeds or other similar objects. Truck drivers use their hands and arms driving for several hours each day. Stress balls can strengthen arm muscles as well as help to relief stress, strengthen hands and improve dexterity. They are very easy to use as you simply squeeze them without straining for a few seconds and release. You can squeeze them for five to ten minutes or more. You can do this several times a day if you so choose.
Route Planning: It is important to take the time to carefully plan your trips ahead of time. Make sure you have a professional trucker’s road atlas, a good GPS unit or a smart phone to get accurate directions. Many truck drivers say that a trucker’s road atlas works better for them than a GPS Unit. Then allow yourself an estimated 15 to 30 minutes extra time if you have specific appointments for pick-ups or deliveries. That way you won’t be stressed out by wondering if you will miss your appointments.
Defensive driving techniques: Defensive driving involves having the knowledge and tools necessary to identify problems that may arise while driving. And be able to react safely. dangerous maneuvers. Defensive driving also involves the practice of specific driving techniques. One very important point is to drive according to weather conditions. Over the road drivers can go from clear weather to rain to snow storms all within the span of a day or two. Be prepared for these conditions and drive accordingly.
Breathing exercises: Taking the time to do breathing exercises are an excellent way to get immediate stress relief. They are convenient, free, simple and fast to do. Anyone can do breathing exercises anytime and anyplace. This makes breathing exercises a very popular and effective technique for stress relief.
Humor: Humor is one of the best stress reduction methods. Laughter has often been referred to as the best medicine and for good reason. It is impossible to be sad and happy at the same time. Keep a few joke books or CD’s in the truck. Think of funny situations or anything that can give you a chuckle and enable you to smile. Smile and laugh often and you will definitely notice a reduction in your stress levels.
Meditation: Meditation is an age old technique that reduces stress levels and enables us to relax. Fifteen minutes spent meditating each day can make us more relaxed. Meditation can reduce stress levels sufficiently to reduce the risk of a heart attack or other serious illnesses.