Healthy Mind, Healthy Body - Habits, Activity & Mental Health
In part one of our Healthy Body, Healthy Mind guide, we discussed the importance of a good meal, plenty of rest and hydration. Part two looks at how cutting the bad habits, being more active and taking care of your mental health will drastically improve how you feel whilst away from home.
Cut the bad habits
When you’re stuck behind the wheel all day, having a cigarette or ten (if permitted) is a great way to pass the time and can provide a quick high. It may also seem to lower stress levels. We don’t need to tell you how bad smoking is, so take the next step and quit all together. Cut back gradually or switch over to an e-cig. Any change is a good start.
Some drivers have mentioned that they sometimes take stimulants to keep themselves alert on the roads. Whether it’s caffeine tablets or energy drinks, they're not good for you. Instead, try to get to the root of the problem. If you’re tired, why aren’t you sleeping? If you’re struggling to stay focused, try some refocusing exercises.
Be more active
Whilst being a driver can be very strenuous mentally, physically it is very sedentary and it’s easy to spend most of your time cooped up within your cabin.
Make sure you spend half an hour each day getting out and stretching your legs. Whether it’s a short, brisk walk or a quick work out in the gym, your posture, mood and general health will all benefit.
Staying still for too long can result in sciatica, high blood pressure, diabetes and even heart attacks - the chances of which are increased by a driver’s lifestyle.
In fact, inactivity can be as deadly as smoking. Research states that an excessive lack of movement is responsible for around 1 in 10 cases of heart disease and 1 in 5 cases of colon cancer.
Break the cycle and move a little more to reduce the risks of health problems later in life.
Take care of your mental health
Driving alone for a living can leave you feeling very isolated. When you can be on the road for a week or more at a time, it’s no surprise that many drivers tend to develop problems with their emotional and mental health.
A recent study found that a number of drivers suffer from depression, chronic loneliness, anxiety, chronic sleep disturbance and an array of other emotional issues.
Being alone for such prolonged periods of time can be debilitating when you are struggling with your own thoughts. This can cloud your judgement, resulting in a lack of focus and potentially devastating results.
Small changes in your routine such as listening to audiobooks, calling your family or chatting to other drivers when you stop to rest can alleviate some of the daily struggles.
Always reach out to loved ones or a doctor if you’re feeling low. There is no weakness in admitting that you are having a hard time. In fact, it demonstrates a huge amount of personal strength. You’re not the first to have these issues and you most certainly will not be the last.
Make the change
Remember, you must want to change your lifestyle. It’s no good being lectured about how to stay healthy when you like things the way they are. Change starts with you, so pick one aspect of your life that you want to get a handle on and take it from there.