Truckers enter the trucking industry for many reasons. They like the compensation, the chance to advance to an owner-operator and the feeling of freedom on the open road. Plus, it sure beats sitting behind a desk all day!
Of course, as with all professions, you have to take the good with the bad. One of the downsides of trucking that affects many drivers is the isolating aspect of the job. Many drivers are probably attracted to the opportunity to work alone without being surrounded by co-workers, supervisors and customers. But over time, that isolation can be a bit depressing.
If you’re new to the trucking industry or if loneliness on the road is just starting to affect you, here are 5 tips to help you feel happier and reduce loneliness while trucking:
- Stay Connected Daily
Do you have family back at home? Before you hit the road, make a firm plan to stay in touch through phone calls, text messages, social media, video chats or emails. If you don’t have a smartphone, now would be a good time to invest in one. A smartphone will make staying connected that much easier.
As you’re dealing with loneliness, remember that the people you leave behind may be dealing with loneliness in your absence too. The best way to keep these relationships strong is to reach out to your loved ones regularly. Make a plan to talk to your kids before bed or catch up with your spouse/partner before falling asleep. This habit not only makes you feel less alienated but also makes your loved ones feel cared for.
- Bring Your Pet
What’s a surefire way to feel happier on the road? A furry companion may be your best bet for reducing loneliness and depression on long journeys.
As a solution to the loneliness truckers struggle with, some trucking companies have established drive-along programs for truck drivers with pets. A happy driver is a healthier, safer and more productive driver, so if you have a beloved pet at home and your company allows pets, why not give it a try?
Before you decide to take a pet on the road with you, make sure you plan ahead. Your pet will need a supply of water, food and toys while on the road. Your dog will require daily walks, bathroom breaks and exercise, so that might mean more frequent stops. Weather is another factor to take into consideration, so be prepared to protect your pet from extreme high and low temperatures
- Make the Most of Home Time
As a driver on long hauls, you may only receive one or two weeks of home time per month. If you use your driving time to think about what you want to accomplish at home, that positive activity in itself can keep you in an upbeat mood, while making the hours on the road go by more rapidly.
Think about making the most of your home time. What do you want to accomplish? Plan ahead and have something special to look forward to at the end of every trip. If you use your home time effectively, you’ll feel replenished and ready to get back to work when the time comes.
- Bring Your Spouse
Time apart affects both truck drivers and their spouses. If your trucking company allows it, bring your spouse along for the ride. It will allow you to enjoy each other’s company and eliminate the feelings of loneliness that you both would otherwise experience. Having someone else by your side can keep you motivated and happier on the road.
- Connect With Other Truckers
Check out the trucker blogs, Facebook groups and other online forums. Talking to other drivers on these platforms helps you feel like part of a community, which is one key to combating loneliness. Strike up a conversation, give helpful advice and be a friend. Who knows? During a long haul, you may actually cross paths with one of them.
If you take a look at responses across the trucking blogs and forums, you can clearly see that loneliness is a major problem for lots of truck drivers. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning and using these simple tips, you can enjoy your life on the road, while still feeling connected to the people you love back at home.
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