There are many benefits to CDL trucking jobs, but there is no getting around it. This can be a stressful line of work. Drivers spend all day behind the wheel of a truck, and they have to meet strict deadlines. Fortunately, stress does not have to be so prevalent on the job if you follow some simple tips. Duncan & Son Lines is dedicated to making sure our drivers have the resources they need to continue being productive on the road. Reducing driver stress is a big deal to us, so if you start feeling burnt out, remember these tips.
1. Get a Good Night’s Rest
When you have a long drive ahead of you, it is critical to get enough sleep the night before. When you are well-rested, you will be able to hit the road feeling great. Unfortunately, many people have trouble falling and staying asleep, but a few tricks can improve the quality of your rest.
First, you should keep your bedroom free of distractions. You do not want bright lights and buzzing of electronics keeping you awake. It is also a good idea to put the phone away right before bedtime. If you can, then you should keep your bedroom’s temperature at around 64 degrees Fahrenheit so that you are neither too hot nor too cold.
2. Move as Much as You Can
With all CDL trucking jobs, much of your day will be spent in the driver’s seat. There is not much getting out of that, so to enhance driver wellness, it is a good idea to step outside and move when possible.
If you have been driving for a couple of hours already, then you should park somewhere and stretch for three to five minutes. Staying active, even a two-minute walk can really work wonders in clearing your mind. Getting outside allows you to release all of those pent-up emotions and help you manage stress.
3. Eat Healthy When Possible
One health problem many CDL truck drivers face is that they are constantly eating fast food. When you are on the road for long periods of time, fast food may be your only option. Luckily, you can still take steps to eat healthier.
Instead of eating on the road, you can pack meals you keep in a cooler inside the truck. You can make your own sandwich or salad that contains plenty of vegetables. If you have to stop somewhere, then you should try eating some fruit instead of chips. When you eat healthily, you feel better, and you can better manage stress.
4. Turn on Your Favorite Music or a Podcast
You do not have to drive in silence for hours on end. You can boost your spirits by putting on your favorite songs. In the event you feel stressed out, you can put on soothing sounds, such as ocean sounds or classical music.
Another option is to find a podcast or audiobook you really enjoy. If you find a book you really like, then you will become engaged by the story and actually look forward to driving so that you can finish it promptly. You should always keep your mind on the road, but by having something soothing to listen to, your mind will be less likely to wander and daydream.
5. Learn Your Route Well in Advance
One way to reduce stress while on the road is to know precisely where you are going. You may have a GPS handy, but it is still useful to know which major highways you need to get on, even when you have the help of technology. After all, you never know when your GPS will malfunction and need some time to load up again.
Before you get inside the truck, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes looking over your route, so you know precisely where you are going. It is a good idea to know where you are going, so you will not be as stressed out if your GPS requires some time to load up in transit.
6. Practice Breathing Exercises
When you are in a truck all by yourself, you can breathe however you want to. Breathing exercises are a great way to release immediate stress, and you can do them anytime, anywhere.
The easiest exercise to use involves first breathing slowly in through your nose and counting to eight. Hold your breath the entire time, and on the nine and ten counts, release your breath. You should do this several times, and you should feel calmer and more relaxed by the end of it.
7. Focus on What You Can Control
It is easy to get stressed out on the road because you are alone with no one else. It is just you and your thoughts. It is easy in these situations to ruminate on the past or freak out about the future. Perhaps you got into an argument with your spouse before you took off for the day, and that is all you can think about.
It is paramount during this time to focus on what you can actually control. You cannot fix any arguments while you are on the road. You cannot change the past. While it may be tough, you need to focus on the here and now. Focus on what is within your power, which is delivering these goods on time.
8. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Many people carry stress within their muscles. It is easy for muscles to tense up, so if you feel stressed, you need to take an assessment of what feels tight.
You can relax your muscles by initially tensing a certain muscle group, such as your shoulders or neck. You can then gradually release those muscles. After a few rounds of this, hopefully, those muscles will not tense up on their own.
9. Have Stress Reduction Techniques on Hand
A cooling towel can make a world of difference on the road. It is made out of specially-designed fabric that removes moisture from your body and offers a cooling sensation of relief.
Stress balls are also useful, but you may not want to use them on the road. When you reach a pit stop, you can take it out and clench it several times if you have any pent-up energy to get out.
10. Spend Time With Family and Friends
Reducing stress on the road as a commercial driver is not merely a matter of what you decide to do behind the wheel. The things you choose to do in your free time also play a role in your stress levels. When you have some time off, it is a good idea to spend it with loved ones so that you still feel like you are spending enough time with those you care about.
You should enjoy meals with friends and family, and you should go out to run some errands with those you love. It can help put the work you do on the road into perspective. You understand why you do what you do, and that is to provide for your spouse and children.
Stress Free Job Openings at Duncan & Son Lines, Inc.
When you work for Duncan & Son Lines, you are not just a truck driver. You are family, and we want you to take care of both your physical and mental health. To see further what we are all about, check out the open positions we have available. You can enjoy a rewarding career where your health comes first.