Last month we brought you the first article in our new health series which focused on driver posture on the road. As mentioned in that article, the health and wellbeing of our customers is important to us and we understand the difficulties in leading an active lifestyle when you're behind the wheel of a truck or van all day.
This month, we look at an issue which often gets overlooked due to its connection with mental health, and this is driver loneliness. Mental Health can be considered a taboo subject as people can be scared to talk about the issue. It’s not what you think it is, and actually, mental health issues are more common than you think.
As a driver, you don’t need us to tell you that you probably spend a lot of time in your cabin on your own. From your first big journey as a rookie, there are many things to learn, and when you entered into the industry we are sure boredom was the last thing on your mind. However, as a lot of you know, trucking as a profession can be isolating. More often than not, you are by yourself in your cabin for hours on end at a time. Some people do like their own company, however even the most reserved person needs some sort of social contact. Without it, depression can develop. Symptoms include sadness, hopelessness, loneliness and increased negative thinking to name a few.
Whilst social involvement is important, equally (if not more important) is family involvement. Chances are you are on the road for weeks, maybe months at a time in order to provide financially for your family. If you fail to make regular contact with your family, then this could potentially be both harming you and your family.
It can be difficult staying in touch as you make your way up and down the country and across Europe. It is important to set up a schedule for communication. A reminder in your smartphone to call home every other day for example. Don’t put off a call by waiting.
You can use Facetime or Skype to easily stay in touch with your loved ones. Most service stations or truck stops now have unlimited Wi-Fi and with the advances in the modern day smart phone, your family is just a phone screen away. It’s so much nicer to see your loved ones as you talk. If you have children in your life, you could interact over homework, allowing you to provide your normal parenting feedback as if you were at home.
A key ingredient to being a successful trucker is looking after yourself and the people around you. If you isolate your family, it can bring you down and those connected to you. You don’t always have control over the amount of time you have on the road, however, you can control how often you communicate.