Working as a truck driver can be rewarding and fun career. You get to see different parts of the country while enjoying independence and a nice paycheck. Of course, one potential downside is not seeing your loved ones and spending time at home as often as you would like. Here are some work life balance tips for truck drivers so they can stay positive and successful.
Relax in the Ways That Work for You
You may have five days off at a time or even three weeks (perhaps longer!). These are excellent opportunities to unwind and recharge, but today's technology does not always make that easy. Make it a point to put away the smartphones for an hour or two and connect on a genuine level with your friends and family.
It is also OK to take time for just yourself. Go for a hike, hit the water or lose yourself in a good book. Some truckers even like to volunteer or get involved in their community somehow. For example, distributing food at a homeless shelter keeps some truckers anchored in their community and fosters a greater sense of purpose.
Follow a Schedule for Staying in Touch
It's easy to take technology for granted. You think that loved ones will contact you whenever they have a few minutes or vice versa. Before you know it, several days have passed before you have spoken to your sweetheart or children, and you don't know what is going on in their lives. Many truck drivers set and follow schedules for video chats, phone calls, Facebook/social media and texts. That way, any relationship should not fall through the cracks.
Likewise, plan events with loved ones ahead of time for when you are home. For instance, you can tell your child, "We'll go to the park the day after I get home and throw the baseball around." It gives both of you something to look forward to and reinforces the connection you share.
Set Physical Goals
Trucking is a physically demanding job while also being sedentary. To keep as active as possible, set at least one fitness goal for yourself. If that goes well and you are feeling ambitious, you could set as many as three. These goals must be achievable. Make them practical and realistic, but they can be fun too!
There are plenty of gadgets and smartphone apps that can make fitness fun, or at least trackable. Fitness apps keep count of the number of steps you take, and there are apps for tracking calories and foods consumed. At least five days a week, try to run or weightlift for 30 minutes to an hour. You don’t need a full gym to stay in shape, there are also exercises you can do in your truck.
Give Yourself Food Options
Let's face it—the abundance of fast food restaurants, diners, truck stops and convenience stores don't make it easy to eat lean. Yes, healthy food may be on some menus, but these items are hard to find. Plus, they compete with goodies that tend to be cheaper and more tempting.
The good news is you don't need to give up on food you enjoy eating. However, do make it a point to stock up on healthy foods before you take off on a trip. For instance, you can pack vegetables, fruits, cold cuts and bottled water into your coolers or mini-fridge. Having healthy options on hand means that you are less likely to turn to other types of food when you're bored or desperately hungry.
Experiment with Entertainment
Audiobooks, podcasts and music keep you entertained on the road. Fortunately, there is information on nearly every topic imaginable, and you could learn a new language or start a new hobby. Is there a book that your child or spouse particularly loves? Listen to it, and you have something cool to discuss during a phone call or during the next time you are home.
Above all, go easy on yourself if you feel like you've backslid or aren't doing everything you should be. Rome was not built in a day, and it takes time to develop and stick to different habits. Moreover, these work life balance tips for truck drivers are not set in stone. You may need to experiment for a while before finding the right things that make you tick.