How truckers can protect their mental health

Written by Eric Titner

Attention all truckers: Of course you want to do your job well, which includes getting every haul to it’s intended destination on schedule, but do you know that taking good care of yourself, both mentally and physically, is a key component of being able to do your best possible work?

It’s true—truckers often work long, grueling hours in cramped and isolated conditions, which can take its toll on their general well-being over time. When this happens, drivers aren’t doing themselves any favors or setting themselves up for long-term success on the job, which may be why burnout is a common problem among truckers.

Smart Trucking recently published an article that features practical tips for truckers to maintain good mental health, so that they can perform all aspects of their jobs effectively while avoiding mental health issues and burnout. If you’re a trucker, and plan on being one for the long haul, consider taking advantage of the following tips for maintaining good mental health.

Consider a travel companion

If feasible and allowed, consider a co-pilot whenever you can, to help beat the road isolation that’s common for most truck drivers. A spouse, significant other, or even a pet in the passenger seat can help keep your spirits up when you’re making a long haul.

Maintain a strong network

Make sure you’re taking care of your connections with friends and family while you’re on the road. These days it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with loved ones, so make sure you do so, which will help you stay grounded and feel supported through the seemingly endless miles on the road.

Maintain a routine

Most folks are creatures of routine and usually benefit from having one. A positive daily routine can give your life structure and also help you get things done. Although you spend most of your day behind the wheel, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a routine to stick to, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.

Exercise when possible

Exercise does not just help keep you in good physical shape; it’s also great for maintaining a positive mental state. Try adding in some physical activity whenever possible to keep your mental health razor sharp.

Maintain a good diet

Just like exercise, a good diet is more than just good for your body—it’s good for your mental state. Although it can be tough to make healthy eating choices when on the road, do your best to try and you’ll be sure to see the benefits in your energy level, mood, and overall well-being.

Bring some comforts from home

Although your truck cab may be small, that doesn’t mean you can’t make room for some comforting reminders of home. Some photos, knick-knacks, and small decorations can help keep you feeling positive and comforted when you’re driving.

Keep your mind active

Keep your brain active and occupied while driving by listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. You can put that driving time to good use by expanding your knowledge and horizons.

Make good grooming a priority

When we take care of ourselves and take the time to look our best, we feel better and our overall mood and outlook improves. Make the time to make good grooming a priority, and you’ll be glad you did.

Make the most of your downtime

Sure, truckers typically work long hours and have very little downtime. That said, when you do find yourself with some precious moments outside of your truck’s cab, make the most of it. Whenever feasible, get out from behind the steering wheel and enjoy your life.

Sure, being a truck driver is hard work, but it doesn’t have to burn you out mentally and physically. Use the tips provided here to maintain a positive mental state when you’re driving, and hopefully you’ll sit happily behind the wheel for a successful career!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.