At Onewaytrailers, we encounter a lot of happy (and a lot of unhappy) drivers. A huge part of keeping a driver happy is to give them the tools and tips necessary to keep their spirits high out on the road. As with any career, there are aspects that don’t lend themselves to a joyous attitude: being away from family, too much time spent in your truck, uncooperative receivers, stressful inspections, and more can cause even the best drivers to stress. Learning ways to stay relaxed and happy through these things is essential. Here are some great tips to keep a smile on your face and a clear head as a driver.
Keep healthy relationships with family
Being away from your family can be hard. If your carrier keeps you busy, it can be hard to find time to connect with your family. We suggest developing a standard time to call or FaceTime your loved ones — this will help them free up their schedule and will keep you consistent as well. Many drivers find it great to FaceTime or Skype while they’re cooking dinner in their truck.
When calling back home, do your best to stay on top of everything that might pop into your head while you’re driving. Coordinate your home time plans, stay up to date on family finances, plans, and everyday occurrences. Something as simple as asking your spouse how your kids’ dance practice was, how they did in their soccer game, or what their grades are can keep your from stressing about it while your mind needs to be focused on the road.
Be careful of the company you keep
Truck drivers often find colleagues or old friends at rest stops that they frequent. Sitting down for a meal or a show with fellow drivers can be a great way to stay happy and fill your social needs, but be mindful that you’re keeping the right company. Spending too much time with negative attitudes or drivers that don’t keep their personal needs in check is a slippery slope.
Making friends that eat healthy, exercise, and keep conversations positive and humor-filled can have a drastic effect on you as well. As the saying by Jim Rohn goes, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.”
Eat and live healthy
Eating well has been shown in numerous studies to improve cognitive function and morale. It can be easy on the road to quickly grab fast food, but taking an extra 5 minutes to make a healthy sandwich or heat up a prepared meal will not only be kind to your body, but to your mind as well. Many drivers get help from their spouses to do meal prep on their part. A great meal of chicken, veggies, rice, or soup is an easy way to declutter your life on the road. Ham and cheese sandwiches are able to be stored efficiently in your rig and can make for a great meal at the end of a long day.
Exercising while on the road doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavor. A simple 10 minute walk around the rest stop is all you need to stay in shape. Stretching your legs, arms, and back for 5 minutes is another great idea that you can take advantage of in the morning, during detention, or when resting.
Exercise your mind
We get it; meditation can be hard. With so many thoughts always circulating, it’s not easy to shut everything out. The key is to stay consistent. Within two weeks, you’ll see a drastic difference in your cognitive function. Spend just 10 minutes every morning closing your eyes or staring at one spot — a cell phone flashlight or button on a shirt. Utilize one of the many meditation apps available right on your phone. These apps have been developed to walk you through the process of meditation from beginning to end.
Meditation is great to clear your head, but now we’ve got to fill your head with positive thoughts. After meditating, open up a notebook or the Notes app on your phone to jot down just three things that you’re thankful for today. These can be anything and can even be the same things you were thankful for yesterday. Making a conscious effort to recognize the beautiful scenery, a great spouse, a vacation you’re looking forward to, or just the new shirt you bought will train your brain to be grateful for the things you may take for granted.
Appreciate the small things
This tip may seem fundamental, but it’s often overlooked in the day-to-day spin of things. Look for the sunset or sunrise, a clean rest stop, a receiver that unloaded you quickly, or a dispatcher that just called to check in on you. Life is a blessing and when we learn to count each small blessing, they add up to something much bigger.
Don’t settle for a subpar carrier
Truck drivers keep the economy moving and keep life for everyone else possible. Drivers are quite literally the backbone of the economy. If you’re being treated like less than what you’re worth, consider looking for a new carrier. There is no shortage of available positions in the trucking industry. Shop around for a carrier that works better for you. One that shows their appreciation, maintains your truck well, gives you better home time or better benefits, or any of the other things you may feel deprived of. It isn’t always about better pay — you may be happier feeling like part of a family in a better truck with better hours or cargo.
Keep an eye out for part two of this series next week. Until then, keep trucking!