Maintaining a work-life balance in trucking

Being a truck driver can be an exciting career. It’s a career choice that encompasses many freedoms; the thrill of the open road, the picturesque scenery, and the endless exploration are all terrific examples. But, with these attractive perks come disadvantages. A career in truck driving can be demanding and significantly influence your lifestyle, especially if you’re a long haul driver who spends a few weeks on the road at a time. Before you know it, your home life, health, interpersonal, and domestic relationships are being compromised and neglected. So how can you mitigate the ongoing struggle between income and everything else? You need to find a work-life balance.

With a proper framework in place, establishing a work-life balance in trucking is definitely attainable.

Start by asking yourself the following question: Are you living to work, or are you working to live? Hopefully you’ve chosen the latter option, and if so, here are a few suggestions for achieving a better work-life balance while on the road:

Entertain Yourself:
Regardless of job or industry, we often have a tendency to zone-out and slip into autopilot mode. Focusing on a specific task for hours at a time can very quickly become mundane and monotonous. One way to avoid this is to keep your mind consistently stimulated.

Since you have an abundance of personal time at your disposal, try using that time to entertain or educate yourself. Consider downloading engaging audio, whether motivational or educational, or maybe an audio version of a page-turning novel.

You can also subscribe to a satellite comedy channel and laugh your way to your destination, or maybe crank up some of your favorite tunes or albums. How you escape boredom is up to you. The key is to plan ahead and always have something to look forward to.

Sitting in your seat for hours at a time can be physically taxing. It can strain your back, neck, as well as your legs. In addition, since you’re idle throughout most of your day, it’s safe to assume that you’re neither burning calories, or building muscle. Consider doing some research on exercising and stretching for truckers. There are numerous online fitness resources that specifically cater to truckers, providing stretching and exercise routines that are designed to be executed at truck stops. Doing so can radically change your life behind the wheel for the better.

Remember, exercising releases endorphins (happy hormones) that work in regulating your mood and overall disposition, so a healthy body is the first step to a healthier mind. Also, the more you stretch, the less strain you’ll feel in your back, neck and legs.

Eating Habits:
Truck driver health is a serious concern in the industry right now. “Eating healthier” is easier said than done, especially when you consider the unhealthy temptations that truckers deal with at truck stops. But just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t manageable. When it comes to trucker-specific material, there are even more online resources available for healthier eating than there are for on-road fitness.

Start your healthier food journey by finding out which meal options are ideal at truck stops. You don’t need to cut out all the foods you love, but focus on getting more of the right foods in your system.

Some suggestions that come to mind are: avoid sugary sodas, drink more water, eat more fiber, eat more veggies, avoid the deep-fried options, and work on portion control. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel.

Communicate More Often:
Communication is what connects us as human beings. So, while on the road, consider increasing the communication levels between you and your loved ones in order to maintain that important connection. Try to make an effort to keep others informed. Letting your spouse know where you’ll be at a given time helps decrease the potential disconnect. Being on the road for extra-long periods doesn’t necessarily mean that your family and social relationships need to diminish. Make an effort to stay in touch while on the road, and stay updated with what’s going on back home.

Staying in the loop will help you maintain a presence at home even though you’re absent. Plan activities with your family ahead of time, ensuring that you always have something to look forward to.

There’s no secret recipe for a successful work-life balance in the trucking industry. However, the general theme when it comes to achieving this balance seems to revolve around planning ahead. Having a game plan is a solid start to building a framework. Keep yourself stimulated both mentally and physically, don’t neglect your health and continue to stay involved with those around you. You’ll be surprised with what you can achieve, even from behind the wheel.