How Are You Trucking?August 1, 2021 12:00 am
Much has been done to promote the broader understanding of mental health, the acceptance that it affects many among us and the open discussions surrounding it.
It is no longer ok to put on a brave face or turn your back on someone who appears to be struggling. Nor is it ok for industries to operate without a policy or a programme that positively supports the mental health and general wellbeing of their employees.
Trucking has long had a reputation as a lonely job, working long shifts away from friends and family during hours at odds with our natural circadian rhythms. The impacts of which can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnectedness and ultimately can take a toll on our mental health. Adding to the problem is that driving is not a physical job, nor is it synonymous with healthy eating. When we combine these factors with an already wilting mental state, the results can be catastrophic.
Prioritising your mental health and that of your employees and colleague’s is no longer a matter of interest. It is a matter of responsibility. So, what can you do to support everybody’s wellbeing on and off the road?
Three focus areas interweave with each other – sleep, nutrition and exercise. When we take care of these three areas, we go a long way to supporting our general wellbeing and, therefore, our mental health.
Sleep – the better you sleep, the better you eat, and the more likely you are to exercise.
Quality sleep is undoubtedly one of the most crucial components of maintaining a positive state of mind. When we are sleep deprived, we can fall victim to stress and anxiety more readily. These two emotional responses can leave us feeling helpless and overwhelmed.
Prioritising a good sleep when you are off the road is essential. In an industry that often requires you to work through the night, falling asleep can be difficult when you do get to your bed. Nowadays, there are many natural sleep tools available. Among these tools are meditation, yoga, sleep teas, and natural sleep remedies, all of them help us unwind, relax and fall asleep more easily.
Why not build a catalogue of these tools and make them available to your team. Ask employees or colleagues to share their feedback or any other means that they use and find helpful.
Nutrition – the better you eat, the more charged you are to exercise, the better you sleep.
A balanced and healthy diet is now widely accepted as critical to supporting your overall wellbeing – both your physical and mental wellbeing
Processed foods are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Removing them from your diet ensures that you support good physical health, promote mental clarity and optimum brain function – vital when you are on the road!
On the road, your options are limited. Why not get into the habit of preparing a packed meal ahead of your shift. Grab fruit, vegetables and nuts to snack on. These are all excellent sources of vitamins and minerals and will help to sustain your energy levels.
Exercise – the more you exercise, the better you sleep, the better you eat.
Exercise brings the whole health puzzle together. But don’t freak out. We don’t mean long-distance running or Olympic performance anything! Focussed physical activity for 20 – 30 mins every day delivers many benefits.
Exercise releases endorphins, your bodies natural feel-good hormones. Endorphins help relieve stress and anxiety, promote a positive self-image, regulate your appetite and boost your immunity. By our calculations, this makes exercise a free lifetime subscription to feeling good!
Building a workout routine into your week will see your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle soar and your mood and energy levels along with it!
Why not tap into the endless amount of online resources and find a travel-friendly bodyweight workout or short high impact session to take on the road with you? If you can fit this into your shift once or twice a week, we guarantee you will notice the difference!
Set up an Open Forum
Today, there are so many platforms to hold group discussions, share resources and support each other. Find one that works for your team and build a community within.
Use the forum as a place to share advice on all of the above. Include nutritious recipes, exercise routines, podcast recommendations, tips for a great night sleep or tools for maintaining a positive mindset.
Be sure to set the rules of engagement and perhaps appoint an administrator who can monitor conversations and ensure that the forum remains a safe and trusted space.
Be proactive and load this forum with as many resources as possible, and don’t be afraid to invest in programmes that support your efforts. You never know, it could become one of your company’s most valuable assets!
For more resources or advice on how you can implement some positive changes check out the New Zealand Trucking Association’s holistic wellbeing programme Are You Trucking Along Ok?
Article courtesy of Newsletter Ready.