It’s lonely on the road. Very lonely.
And loneliness can be a silent killer.
Loneliness not only creates mental and emotional struggles, but a study from researchers at the University of North Carolina revealed that it can “vastly elevate” a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
The good news? There are ways to avoid the loneliness of trucking or at least lessen some of its impact. Here are just a few:
- Talk Regularly
When you’re not behind the wheel, make time to stay in touch with family and friends back home. To stay accountable, set a daily call reminder on your smartphone. A quick phone call, video chat, text message or email exchange with someone you care for is enough to break up the monotony of your day and feel less isolated.
- Plan Your Home Time
As you drive, think about how you want to spend your home time. What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to spend time with? How will you unwind and relax? Plan ahead and have something fun to look forward to at the end of every trip. Using your driving time to think about something positive, like home time, can make a dramatic difference in your happiness on the road.
- Get Fit
One of the best ways to fight loneliness is exercise. Short bursts of exercise can be an instant mood-booster when isolation is getting the best of you. Find a workout app you like, bring workout DVDs with you or jump rope outside of your truck. Ten to 15 minutes a day of quality exercise is all you need to reduce tension and sadness.
- Reach Out
Reach out to your fellow truckers. Find them on trucker blogs, Facebook groups, and other online forums. Talking to other drivers on these social platforms helps you feel like you belong to a community, which is the key to combating loneliness. Say hello, talk to your peers and give helpful advice. Who knows? You may be able to meet up with some of them along your travels or forge a few long-term friendships.
- Seek Virtual Help
As a trucker, you may not have the time to make regular visits to a therapist or coach. Thankfully, there are convenient online resources like Betterhelp and 7 Cups. BetterHelp offers low-cost solutions by offering virtual therapy with licensed professionals. 7 Cups is an app where you can talk with certified professionals on their platform. These are helpful resources for when you need someone to talk to, express your frustrations and get support.
You’re Not Alone
Truckers feel the pain of loneliness more than most other professionals. But there is no reason to suffer on the road. Loneliness can be dangerous to both your health and performance on the job, so the quicker you seek help, the better. Fortunately, with the help of these five tips, you can make life on the road more enjoyable and less isolating.