Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

April 15th, 2013

I have met many drivers over the years who work to balance family life and their career on the road. Here are some tips I have learned for those struggling to make time for family time.

1. Become each others support group. Set aside a specific time everyday or every other day to talk to them.

2. Lay aside one day that will be a grievance day where you talk about the things that need attention, but aren’t emergencies. That way every conversation isn’t negative.

3. Make sure to be supportive of those at home because you being gone is just as hard on them as it is you!

4. In the daily talks keep things upbeat even if that means the conversation is short, just keep it positive. A great way is set aside one evening a week and have dinner with the family. Let’s say Sunday because that’s usually the best day for it. On Sunday evening, park and then if you have a smart phone, tablet or laptop you can Skype, or Tango with your family and share a meal. Then when that’s over if you need to drive some more you can do it with a smile.

These are simple things to say, but often harder to do. Just do your best. Having a support system is healthy for your body and your mind.

March 26th, 2013

D.O.T, tight dispatches, traffic, construction zones, weather and customers themselves. These are just a few of the things that affect your job on a daily basis as a driver, Did you also know they affect your mental state and acuity. There’s an old saying in trucking “You don’t have to be crazy to be a trucker but it sure does help.” All joking aside it’s not easy to keep a positive state of mind when your alone, day in and day out, for weeks at a time. Here are some things to help keep you from being driven into a state of depression.

Toby Bogard has been a driver for Con-way Truckload for over 10 years.

Establish a routine even if it’s as simple as just shaving and brushing your teeth every morning. The more involved the routine the more “normal” you will feel. As the old saying goes “Idle hands are the devil’s playground”. For example when I’m on the road I sleep approximately seven hours a day, which leaves three hours left on my DOT break. In the remaining three hours I; Make my bed, do my Bible Study and Devotionals, workout, shave, wash my face and brush my teeth. Several times a week I’m able to get a shower simply because I’m organized and have a routine.

Ok, that’s relatively simple, but what about those long hours when it’s just you and the highway? Again, occupy your mind.

Go to your local public library and check out books on CD, learn a new language while your driving down the road. Most libraries allow for a 30 day check out, however most will gladly give you an extension if you simply call them. Also, most truck stops have audio books that you can purchase. When you’ve got down time don’t just sit there and mope. Read, do crossword puzzles, word searches, regular puzzles, put together model cars. Write in a journal to get the negative thoughts out of your mind, or just write any negative stuff down on a piece of paper and then throw it away.

I know female drivers that knit, crochet, do needle point and cross stitching. Why? Simple. Because it’s harder to think negative thoughts when your mind is having to count stitches. Be creative in ways you find to occupy your mind and free time. Walk, shadow box, jog, jump rope. Physical activity is a great way to battle dark and negative thoughts. Above all avoid negativity as much as possible. That stuff seeps into your thoughts while your driving down the road and it’s really hard to get out once it’s in there. Another thing is look at who you surround yourself with and who you talk to. Quite frankly, most truck drivers complain and gripe more than anything else especially on the C.B radio. Only use the C.B radio when you need help with traffic and weather, otherwise turn the thing off.

Drivers, I hope these few things are helpful. This is the Truck-Writer and I am 10-10 on the side!