The life of a trucker can be a long and satisfying one. As all jobs, though, there is some effort required to make this job work for you and your family. Working as a truck driver, there can be a strain on the home life due to having a limited amount of time with your spouse and children when home. Enjoy the time you have at home by making sure your health isn’t on the list of sacrifices you make for your job. As a trucker maintaining your physical and mental health on the road is essential. By doing so you can guarantee your spouse you’ll be coming home the same person they remember you to be.
The Life of a Trucker
The trucking industry is comprised of thousands of individual truck drivers that transport manufactured products to a variety of retailers across the country. Depending on the company employed by, a truck driver works long hours daily. Most truckers tend to drive 70hrs in 8 days. The amount of driving you do as a truck driver can keep you from your home and loved ones for several days or weeks at a time all while trying to stay healthy. Most experienced truck drivers in the trucking industry this is not an easy feat.
Working as a trucker can be harder than one thinks because it can be easy to stop maintaining your health. Being a truck driver can impair your physical health by compromising eating habits. It can be hard having healthy eating habits when junk food is more easily accessible than healthy food. More importantly, being a truck driver affects your mental health through feelings of loneliness. Being away from home for weeks at a time with only short rest periods of being home with your spouse and children can be challenging. To work as a truck driver, it is important to maintain your health and be at your best to enjoy the time you have with your family when you are home.
Eating Healthy Away from Home
Out on the road for long periods, it can be a challenge to stay physically healthy with limited food options. There is significant data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that shows that 7 out of 10 truck drivers are obese, putting them at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. This can be attributed to unhealthy snacks being cheaper and more readily available at the counter of truck stops versus healthy food and snacks, which are not easily found and are rarely on sale.
Using a few basic tricks novice and experienced truck drivers alike cab better protect their physical health, maintaining pre-established healthy eating habits. A good trick to have for healthy eating, which also saves money, is buying a little oven. Plug the miniature oven into the truck’s cigarette lighter to make meals while you’re on the road driving (Keller, 2017). This helps reduce the temptation of buying unhealthy snacks, giving you more control over the food you eat. Although there are still things to consider eating healthy:
- How Often Should You Eat
For truck drivers, it is healthier to eat six small meals throughout the day to maintain energy and healthy blood sugar levels. Truck drivers are immobile, so you are not burning off the food you eat, putting you at risk for weight gain and diabetes. Eating six smaller meals around the time you are hungry instead of 3 big meals provides the body with only the amount of food it needs to sustain energy; thus avoiding to fast rise and slow drop in blood sugar level from eating only three meals.
- Prepare Your Meals Ahead of Time
If you know how long you will be gone for, you can plan a few meals. This can be done by cooking meals at home, pre-packaging them before going out on the road.
Time can be a truck driver’s best friend if used wisely. The times you are home with your spouse, it is important to enjoy that time with them. While doing so, it is also smart to set aside food made at home for you to eat later, keeping you healthy, and looking forward to the next time you are home with them.
The Power in Having Strong Family Ties
On the road for days or even weeks, can do a number on your mental health in a way that’s overlooked or dismissed. The feeling of loneliness from being alone long term can be more harmful than you know as a truck driver. Research has found that the feeling of long-term loneliness can cause depression, difficulty coping with stress, linked to the development of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cause premature death (Schmalbruch, 2018). Anyone working as a truck driver can fall victim to any one of these conditions if they succumb to the feeling of loneliness due to lack of socialization and feeling connected to their family for the days or weeks they are on the road. Even more so, the feeling of loneliness can, in turn, interfere with proper eating jeopardizing both mental and physical health.
It can be hard to believe that a lot of harm can stem from the feeling of loneliness, all of which can lead to death sooner than expected. So, before taking the next assignment as a truck driver being away from home, remember that only healthy drivers return home to see their families. Protect your health returning home as the same person your family remembers you, and you can enjoy the precious time you have with your family in peace.
There is a lot you can learn working as a truck driver, one of them being that just because you work as a truck driver does not mean you have to be lonely. There are several ways to stay connected to a family, keeping them close with you even if you are hundreds of miles away.
- Create a Plan
When you’re feeling lonely missing your spouse, know that they are missing you when you are gone. That is why when home the two of you can create a plan for how you can keep in touch with each other.
- Schedule a Time
You can have a plan for how to keep in touch, but the truth is that life goes on even when you are not home. It is important to schedule a time of when you and your wife can call, text, or video chat preventing the chance of you both missing each other. This is especially important to remember if you happen to drive into a different time zone.
Being alone never means you should have to be lonely. A truck driver with a family needs to preserve their health for their career certainly, but they also need to make sure they stay healthy for their family. Truck drivers who neglect their physical and mental health put themselves at risk for a long list of problems that can strike suddenly without warning. The last thing you would want as a truck driver is for you to get sick, or an incident to occur on the road while you are driving far from home. Protect yourself by staying healthy, guaranteeing a safe trip working, and a safe return home.
- All Trucking. (2016). How to beat being a lonely truck driver on the road. http://www.alltrucking.com/faq/how-beat-being-lonely-truck-driver-road/
- Evelyn. (2018, July 16). What is the life of a truck driver like? https://cdlhunter.com/what-is-the-life-of-a-truck-driver-like/
- Keller, Terry. (2017, June 27). How truck drivers can eat healthy on the road. https://www.truckinginfo.com/157505/how-truck-drivers-can-eat-healthy-on-the-road
- Schmalbruch, Sarah. (2018, November 13). Ten ways loneliness can affect your health- physically and mentally. https://www.insider.com/effects-loneliness-health-2018-6