Redbone Trucking doesn’t exist without our drivers. Therefore, making sure our drivers are happy is a massive priority every single day. As with every career, there are aspects of life as a truck driver that can ruin a mood: missing family, feeling cramped in the truck, unorganized customers, equipment issues, and much more can cause even the best drivers to feel stressed. Practicing healthy habits are necessary to reignite the joys that this job can bring! Here are our tips to stay happy, healthy, and focused on the road.
Family is just a call away
Missing your family obviously isn’t fun. If your company runs you well, you won’t get much down time. After shutting down, you’re cooking, cleaning, showering, or filling out paperwork. So it can seem difficult to find time to get in touch with your family. We suggest developing a schedule with your loved ones back home; whether you call as you’re taking a walk around the block or you set up a phone holder so you can FaceTime while you’re cooking in the truck. The consistency of setting up such a schedule can have incredible impacts on your mental health.
While you’re driving, try to keep mental notes (or just tell Siri to make a note) of questions you have for your spouse/kids, things you saw during the day that were interesting, or anything else that you might want to chat about. You can then make sure you check off all of these items while you’re calling home and it will help you avoid the Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment the next day when you forgot to talk about something the night before.
Keep good company
Truck stops are crawling with life every day. From fellow drivers to four-wheelers to pets, there are always people to socialize with. But there are also some folks at truck stops that may not be great for your psyche. As the saying by Jim Rohn goes, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with.” Sitting down for a meal with colleagues or old friends that aren’t aligned with who you’re striving to be can really bring you down. Sitting down for a meal with drivers that don’t keep their personal health in check or have contagious negative attitudes can put quite a damper on your own mood.
The typical healthy stuff
Countless studies have shown that watching what you put into your body has a great impact on cognitive function and morale. Although it may be wildly tempting to grab a truck stop burrito or burger, choosing to eat healthily really pays off in the long term. Aside from the mental and physical benefits that come with making your own sandwich or salad or heating up a prepared meal, there’s also quite the cost benefit! There are only a few things that release serotonin more reliably than knowing you saved money. Prepping some chicken, veggies, rice, and soup while at home will pay dividends on the road.
Aside from eating well, exercising is also very important to a happy life. And the best part? It doesn’t even need to be time-consuming! A quick 10-minute walk around the truck stop or down the block is effective in kick-starting a healthier life. Stretching your arms, legs, back, and neck for 5 minutes has also shown to offset the physical burden of being behind the wheel all day. These are quick and easy actions that you can take while refueling, in detention, or after shutting down for the night.
Your mind loves a workout, too
No, this isn’t about Sudoku or a puzzle. Instead, we’re talking about the most basic of mental disciplines: thinking about absolutely nothing.
Meditation can be hard, but it is incredibly rewarding if you can stay consistent. With so many thoughts rushing through our heads all day, it’s important to find time for the brain to stop anything and everything. If you can meditate for just 10 minutes every morning for 2 weeks, you’ll build an amazing habit that will pay dividends every day. As you get ready for the day and you’re sitting on your bed or in your seat, start by just staring at one thing; a cell phone flashlight, a button on the dash, or the blinking light on your DirecTV box. This focus on one tiny item will begin to drown out the rest of your thoughts and allow you to just relax.
One last item to keep your mind happy is gratitude. Keeping a journal or a note on your cell phone of the things that you’re grateful for is a simple task that trains your brain to stick with the good things instead of the bad that we encounter throughout the day. Take just a moment every day to list three things that made you laugh, smile, or happy about during that day. Three things that you can look back on and remember.
It’s the little things
This tip is cheesy, we know. But it’s only cheesy because it’s hammered into our heads so often – and for good reason, too. Life is a blessing and it goes by quickly, so if we forget to stop and appreciate the little things, we might miss out. Try to remember to appreciate a great sunset or an empty highway or a clean rest stop or a customer that went above and beyond to get you unloaded more quickly. When we start to add the little things together, they quickly snowball into something much larger.
Don’t settle for a subpar carrier
Yes, it’s time for some self-promotion. You can be the happiest person on earth, but working as hard as you do for a bad company can jeopardize all of that happiness. At Redbone, we’re drivers ourselves. We know the good and the bad of the job and our office staff works every day to make the bad parts of the career a little less bad. We offer drivers transparency in their pay right on their phone, straightforward trip planning, effortless paperwork, and dedicated, round-the-clock dispatchers to make sure that your trips are as effortless as possible. We promise great home time on each route and we stick to that promise. We pay well, give great benefits, and place our drivers in trucks that have literally every possible safety and comfort upgrade available. We do all of this because we know that you work hard and that your job is stressful. So you should at least be working for a company that cares and works to keep you happy.