Improving Mental Health & Well-Being For HGV Drivers On The Road
We need to talk more, or even start talking about mental health, which, according to a MIND survey, 30% of transport and logistics workers suffer from. Loneliness is often part of the problem, but so is not eating correctly, not sleeping well and getting little to no exercise.
Some drivers just see it as part of their job. However, it is not, and there are things you can do to ensure you keep your mental health status in good condition. Read on to find out more.
Keep In Contact With Those Closest To You
Technology today allows us to not be out of contact with family and friends. Connecting with them via phone, What’s App, Skype, or Zoom is easy. There is no need not to be in contact with those closest to you when on the road.
If you are a club or association member, you could schedule a break if they have a meeting. Most clubs will offer a Zoom option for those unable to be present. Also, what’s to stop you from having something from home with you? A cushion, photos, something physical you can look at or hold, something that makes you smile.
Eat Better, Drink Wisely
While the ‘greasy spoon’ of yesteryear has greatly dwindled, the fast food industry has taken over. Munching on sweets and chocolates gives you a quick sugar high, but it just as quickly dissipates and leaves you with less energy than before you ate it. As every driver knows, driving when groggy is a recipe for mistakes to happen.
Make an effort to eat a balanced diet. Think of it as putting the right fuel in your HGV to run right. Try and eat more grains, brown pasta, veggies and fruit. These provide a more extended level of energy, sustaining you throughout the day.
Also, keep hydrated, which is essential for mental and physical health. Water is the answer, not fizzy drinks. You should avoid these for the sugar rush they give. There is a lot of choice on the market you can use to flavour your water without resorting to cordials and sugar!
Get Some Quality Sleep
We all know that waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the day depends on a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, sleeping away from your own bed can be linked to poor sleep, but there are some things you can do that help.
- Don’t use electronics just before sleeping – contact family and friends before you settle down
- Read a book or magazine, but not a Kindle just before sleep.
- Take a walk before you settle down – a good time to do a last-minute check around your wagon.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink coffee just before going to bed.
- Try and establish a regular time for sleeping.
- Meditate or listen to relaxing sounds before going to sleep.
Not getting a good night’s sleep makes you irritable and tired, but long-term sleep problems can cause physical and psychological health problems.
Stay Active As Much As You Can
Yes, you are a driver, and for long periods. So, it is vitally important you keep your mind and body as active as you can. Consider doing some stretches when you take a break, keeping your muscles from aches, pain and spasms. Take a walk. It does not have to be a hike. A combination of fresh air, movement, and time away from the road makes a difference
If you’re worried about your mental health, reach out and talk to someone. The links below offer confidential assistance.
https://www.mind.org.uk/ or 0300 123 3393
https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/ or 03444 775 774
What you need to know
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