The day in the life of a truck driver is very different to most jobs. Driving 11-16 hours a day with only around 10 hours in the day to focus on yourself and your family as well as finding time to do your business admin can take its toll on your own self-care.
Work-life balance is so important particularly when it comes to stress-related careers like truck driving. The time allocated for drivers is out of balance (not the standard 8 hours a day) but this does not mean you cannot find more balance in the time you DO HAVE when you are not behind the wheel. So what can you do to make the most of your 24hours? Both your off time and driving time.
I will ask you to read this with an open mind. They are suggestions only and take what works for you.
Let’s start by defining what self-care really means: The definition of self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own happiness and well-being. “
Ultimately, Self-care means looking after you! Remember that it is not selfish but necessary to take the time to focus on yourself. You will learn more about why this is true as you read on. Let’s focus on some vital self-care habits to give you the energy and inspiration you need to feel more fulfilled in both your job and your home life. Breaking down S-E-L-F C-A-R-E and understanding what it is made up of:
Ever hear the saying “ If it gets scheduled it gets done”? Your week of driving would not happen if you did not know where you are going and when you need to be there right?
Well remember this: – YOU are the most important person in your diary, in fact in your life. So, take the time to schedule your habits not just your appointments. Treat them just like an appointment with yourself and for your self-care. Why? because you need to take care of yourself first, then you’ll have plenty left over to care for others.
Lock it into your diary just like a driving job from a client. You would not let a client down – don’t let yourself down either.
Exercise and or movement – during your driving hours as well as during your offtime is essential.
Results of a survey by the Department of Health and Ageing on truck drivers showed:
• 82.5% were overweight or obese
• 79.8% low physical inactivity
This self-care ritual is often left out/ put off using the excuse that you don’t have enough time. Can you find 7 to 15 minutes in your day to nourish your body with some activity?
For example, 7-to-15-minute workouts before you get in the driver’s seat will be more than enough to get you the energy you need for your trip. Keep your workout gear in the cab. Rest stops can be used for exercise and movement too. On your days off keep up your exercise routine. Consistency is key.
“If we are not growing, we are dying.” Tony Robbins. Learning and knowledge are the best ways for us to grow. Find time during your day to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Perhaps learn a language or a new skill. Take time on your stops to pick up a book and do some reading. Scrolling through your phone is not going to help you grow – in fact, it may limit you as you will be focusing on what other people are doing instead of focusing on what you want for yourself.
F- Food choices
Decide to make healthy food choices. We all know that eating healthy food is key to a good and healthy life, so make sure you stay on track by regularly eating good quality fresh food. ⠀
Ok, we all like to indulge in a little junk food now and then. It’s easy to reach for the junk when you’re super busy, stressed or overtired. We also know it is convenient and quick while on the road but let’s limit these options to small quantities every now and then. Find healthy snack choices which will give you long-lasting satisfaction, not just immediate gratification
Research shows that the no 1 reason for people feeling happier is through connection with others.
Take the time to connect with people while on the road. Particularly if you do long haul driving staying connected to your loved ones, friends and colleagues will help with the monotony.
It is also vital to stay connected when you are not behind the wheel. When you have time off socialise and enjoy hobbies with others. This will help with your self-care.
Another word for this would be hobbies. What hobbies do you have outside of work hours? Doing something that lights you up and you enjoy will help to energise you for your driving days. Find something new to do or re-ignite a previous hobby or activity you enjoyed.
Rest is not just about getting sleep. Make the most of your rest time all through the day and night. Rest is made up of a number of different elements: Take on some or all of the options below in each element to reduce fatigue:
Physical: stretch, do weights, walk, breath work, sleepMental – sitting in nature, meditation, learning
Emotional: focus on gratitude, what you love to do, connection with loved ones
Spiritual: Connection to higher purpose whatever that looks like to you
Remember to take time to evaluate how they are working and adjust accordingly.
Start slowly by adding some of these rituals to your week – let’s say 3 x a week and build it from there. Again, take on the things that work for you.
Remember if you keep doing what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten. Change and transformation come from outside your comfort zone. Give all or some of these self-care habits a go and see what a difference it can make to your 24 hours.
by Sue Glasser Productivity and Success Coach
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