Kristie Tse, MA, LMHC, NCC
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What Can Long-distance Truck Drivers Do to Maintain Their Physical and Mental Health?

The men and women who make sure your packages, food stuffs, and other essential materials are delivered intact and on time usually face gruelingly long hours on the road, frequent separations from loved ones, and considerable mental and physical stress. We queried travel and mental health experts for their ideas on how to improve driver wellness and they suggested the following:

Emma O'Connor

Emma O’Connor

Exercise Regularly and Engage In Activities that Reduce Stress

Firstly, prioritize regular exercise to counter the sedentary nature of driving, including stretching and short walks during breaks. Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated is crucial for sustained energy and focus. Adequate rest is non-negotiable; prioritize getting quality sleep to avoid fatigue. Mental health is equally important, so engage in activities that reduce stress, such as listening to music or audiobooks. Stay connected with loved ones for emotional support and consider joining online driver communities to share experiences.

John Dolores, PhD, JD, FACHE

John Dolores, PhD, JD, FACHE

Clinical Psychologist and Chief Operating Officer at .

Physical Activity, Improved Sleep, and Connection with Family and Friends

The first thing that comes to mind, when we’re talking about keeping our truck drivers healthy, is the matter of physical activity. Driving trucks for long periods of time certainly requires alertness and energy–not to mention, this job can also be incredibly taxing on the body. This is largely due to the fact that the human body is not designed for extended periods of sitting, so the best way truck drivers can stay physically and mentally healthy is to make sure they are regularly engaging in physical activity.

Physical activity obviously keeps the body’s muscles and joints in good shape, but it also plays a major role in the regulation of numerous metabolic and hormonal processes. Exercise can help regulate symptoms of depression, for example, by releasing feel-good endorphins such as serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine. Regular exercise is also important for circulation, which is a major concern when having to sit for long periods of time. A lack of circulation can cause discomfort for drivers, which can affect their mental health and mood while working.

Another important issue, when it comes to the importance of exercise for truck drivers’ mental health, is the issue of sleep. On one hand, the body can struggle to fall asleep if it’s been sedentary all day. Irregular working hours can also harm your quality of sleep. Getting some physical activity into your routine can help regulate your circadian rhythm and thus boost sleep quality, which, in addition to physical activity, is one of the most important factors contributing to a healthy mind. Without enough sleep, the brain is deprived of the opportunities it needs to process the events of the day, maintain delicate neural networks, and prevent the onset of depressive symptoms.

Truck drivers should also be sure to stay in touch with family and friends during those long drives that take them away from home. Isolation is proven to be detrimental to our minds, contributing to depression and antisocial tendencies. Even though being in the presence of your loved ones feels extra sweet after you’ve been away, it’s important to stay as emotionally close to them as needed while you’re apart.

Kristie Tse, MA, LMHC, NCC

Kristie Tse, MA, LMHC, NCC

Founder of .

Choose Your Food Wisely, Make Time for Breathing Exercises

Choose your food wisely.
When driving for long stints, you might end up eating a lot of fast food, and at non-traditional meal times. This can put your whole mind and body out of whack, and also cause you to feel sluggish as you might not be getting enough nutrients. It can help to choose your food wisely when on the road, and to try and pack more homemade meals and take a cooler with you. This makes it easier to eat more healthily and will make you feel better.

Make your cab comfortable.
Driving for long periods of time can be tough as you’re in the same environment for hours and days on end. It can help to add in pictures of family, make sure the seat is in a more ergonomic position and to make sure it’s always clean. Having clutter can not only impact your quality of driving, but it can be distracting and cause you to feel stressed.

Make time for breathing exercises.
Driving in tough weather can make these long distance trips unnerving and stressful. It helps when you pull over to refuel, rest or get a bite to eat, to also take a moment to go through some deep breathing exercises. These can help you to reset and feel much more calm as you are actively trying to slow down your heart rate and get your emotions in control. A few minutes each time you stop can help greatly with controlling your anxiety.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.