Avoiding Burnout


Truckers face many stressors in their day, they have to deal with traffic, weather, shippers and receivers, and poor quality of food.  Fatigue enters in as does family stress, not being home when one wants, or needs, to be is very stressful.  Avoiding burnout is not easy due to time constraints, but it can be done with some planning and creative thinking.

The easiest thing to do is to utilize one’s free time on the road to the fullest.  Free time might be time to load or unload, the thirty minutes or ten-hour break, or stuck in a traffic jam.  Many truckers use these times improperly instead of relaxing for a few minutes, griping about their jobs, dispatch, weather, traffic, or whatever, to other drivers on the CB or cell phone.  Griping about something can intensify the stress.  A better option is to listen to some music one likes, find a word puzzle to do that one can lay down and return to, or a hobby.  A book kept by the seat within reach is also a way to distract the mind for a few minutes to allow it to recharge.

There are many exercises that can be done sitting in the seat, or using the truck as a tool.  Isometric exercise, where one pits one muscle against another is easy, and low impact.  Some drivers actually, while sitting still, will dance in the seat, using the air seat to bounce around to music.  Exercise of any kind improves blood flow which is good for both the body and the brain.

Family issues can be handled if one plans ahead too for a great part.  Have a list of repair people your partner at home, or kids, can call if need be.  Schedule a daily call to your family.  Arrange for another family member, or close friend, to be on call in case of emergency to assist your family at home until you can get there.  Make sure when you do go home, to always schedule enough time to spend quality time with your partner and/or children.

Eating as healthy as possible is a given.  Too many carbs at one meal in the day can cause a roller coaster effect in the body and lead to diabetes and other health issues.  Try to balance out what you eat.  Drinking water too will help, limit the caffeine and soda pop.

Try to avoid sitting in the driver’s lounge and griping with the other drivers.  People tend to take on the emotions of those around them, therefore, while you may not initially be stressed, listening to others who are can add stress to your own life.

If you do get burnt out, take action.  Find a counselor or pastor to talk to.  Take a vacation, even a long weekend and get away from trucking, trucks, and truck drivers for a bit.  The worst thing for a trucker is to reach a breaking point due to burnout.  Jobs are lost, safety is affected, and health can be ruined.  Do some planning, relax every minute possible, and avoid burnout.



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