Everyone deals with stress. Drivers of trucks aren’t immune to it. They’re responsible for keeping cargo safe and getting it to its destination on-time. This can be especially tough with road construction, traffic congestion and unsafe weather conditions.
Stress can take different forms. It may cause some people to become easily agitated, feel overwhelmed and even avoid others. According to WebMD, physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
- Aches, pains and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce stress in your life, even while out on the road. For example, getting out of your truck and moving around is helpful for your body, even if it’s just a two-minute walk or some stretches. We’re going to provide you with a few tips – many from reputable organizations in the United States – on how to accomplish less stress.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!
We get it, it’s easier to pick up some fast food than to eat fruits and vegetables and count calories. However, eating a more healthful diet can increase your energy and reduce stress.
Many items such as soft drinks, cookies, candy and processed fruits contain a lot of added sugar. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared. The National Cancer Institute notes that adult men consume an average of 24 teaspoons or 384 calories of added sugar per day. To help you get started on a path to healthful eating, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers the following advice:
- Maximize with nutrient-packed foods
- Energize with grains
- Power up with protein
- Vary your fruits and vegetables
- Don’t forget dairy
- Balance your meals
- Drink water
Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can affect you negatively, both physically and mentally. As a professional driver, being wide awake on your route is essential.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults 18-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Adults 65+ should get 7-8 hours of shuteye. The organization also suggests following these sleep practices on a consistent basis:
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
- Evaluate your sleeping area. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening, and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
- Wind down. avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night if you have trouble sleeping.
- If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
- If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional.
Turn Off Technology at Bedtime
Taking advantage of the entertainment offered by smartphones, tablets and other similar devices isn’t usually a problem, though, when you take the right steps to ensure you’re not doing it in excess. Here are four ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your technology without the downsides.
- Take a break. Sometimes you can be checking a social media site or playing a game, only to realize what seemed like 20 minutes passed has been two hours. Take a break at least every 30 minutes to stretch, walk around and focus on something else. You can even use an alarm to let you know when that half hour is up. Once you sit down again, check to ensure you have a natural, upright posture.
- Arrange your environment. Make sure you’re sitting in a well-lit area. Keep your eyes about an arm’s length away from the screen at which you’re looking, and don’t set the brightness at its highest level. Avoid eating in front of your screen or missing mealtime altogether.
- Find an app for that. There are multiple smartphone apps available to help you limit your screen time. Most are designed to lock you out of a specific app after a time period you set.
- Stay screen-free before bedtime. Most guidelines recommend turning your screen off at least one hour before you go to bed and putting another activity – reading a magazine or listening to an audiobook or music – in its place. Multiple studies have found that the blue light from screens often hampers an individual’s ability to sleep restfully. Even watching a television screen close to your bedtime can result in disrupted sleep patterns. If you’re set on screen time near bedtime, there are apps you can use to reduce your exposure to blue light.
Driving for Dynamic
At Dynamic Transit, our team understands the importance of keeping yourself healthy. Learn more about how we treat our team members with the respect they deserve. Or, contact us for additional information.