10 Ways Drivers Can Look After Their Mental Health On The Road
1 in 6 people are affected by mental health issues every week, but many of them don’t get the help that they need because of the social stigma surrounding the issue.
In the transport industry, driver safety is often at the forefront of sector issues – but it should go beyond just physical safety. A driver’s well-being is equally important to ensure a positive and healthy mental state. After all, driving can be a lonely profession, especially for those trunking for long periods of time.
Long-haul work can see drivers spending long hours on the road – so it’s time that the transport industry stepped up and started focusing on the mental health and wellness of all drivers on the road and beat that social stigma to encourage those who need it to seek out the help that they need!
Here at Drivers Direct, we care about the metal wellbeing of our employees as well as everyone else in the logistics business, so here are our top 10 ways drivers can look after their mental health on the road…
Take regular rest breaks
‘Stop, revive, survive’ isn’t just a catchy phrase – taking a break while driving is essential! Make sure to follow your required rest breaks and stop when you need to. Pulling up where possible, stretching your legs and getting some fresh air can go a long way to boosting your mood.
Stick to a routine
Even something as simple as eating breakfast each morning before you leave can give your working day some much needed structure and familiarity. Romanticise your routine, take the time to make yourself a brew, get something in your stomach, wash your face stretch your legs and plan your day.
Reach out to loved ones
Driving on remote or rural roads can be long, tough, and lonely. Take the time to rest and reach out to your loved ones, whether that be a family or a friend. A familiar voice can boost your mood and help you feel more connected.
Make a playlist
Singing while on the road isn’t just for fun – it can also keep you awake, alert and stress-free. Compile a playlist of your favourites tunes and sing along to relieve your stress. We even have a playlist for those who haven’t got time to create their own!
Having fast food everyday just isn’t healthy as we all know. But what you may now know is that a good diet is not only great for your physical health but also your mental health. Pack what you can from home and choose the healthier option when picking up food for the road – you’ll thank yourself later.
Drinking water is essential to keeping up your health and mood. When you’re taking on a long-haul drive, you’ll need a lot of water to keep you going. Make sure you’re loaded up before you set out and remember to sip often to keep up your levels.
Know when to stop
Track your work and rest hours in great detail. Restrictions on this are there for a reason. Any work done outside of this is at high risk of causing fatigue and other health issues. Keeping track of your work hours is important, as is limiting your personal driving time to ensure you’re well rested and focused for your next shift. Getting tired on the road is not only dangerous for you but for everyone on the road with you. Don’t burnout. Know when to take time away from it all so your mental health can stay above water.
Talk to someone
Suffering in silence is dangerous. Talking to your partner, friend, co-worker, or manager can relieve your burden and help you manage any issues you have. Honesty is the best policy, and it might just save your life.
Track your mental health
Even if it’s as simple as noting down how you feel on a scale of 1-10, it can be beneficial to track your mood and determine what and when changes occur. It can also be a therapeutic practice for some, the ability to write their thoughts and feelings down to get things of their chest is often very beneficial for relieving any pent-up stress.
And last but NOT least, breathe!
If the stress of a job is getting to be too much, always remember to take some long, deep breaths. Spend a few minutes doing this, and you’ll get yourself back on track and in control of your mind.
At the end of the day, stress is unavoidable but employing just a few of these tips will reduce your stress and help you manage any negative emotions or experiences.
If you are struggling or need someone to talk to there are many ways to reach out and get help:
Samaritans – Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline). Website: www.samaritans.org
CALM – CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight). Website: www.thecalmzone.net
Looking for more tips for being on the road? Check out some of our previous blogs.